The move away from the mikebrownspeaks and Brainzooming™ blogspot sites to Brainzooming.com, triggered questions about the Brainzooming name’s origin. The story has both personal branding and creative inspiration dimensions, so I figured it was worth sharing.
With a common name such as ‘Mike Brown,” it’s nearly impossible to “own” it online as personal branding expert Dan Schawbel recommends. So when speaking more and launching a blog in November 2007, I used “mikebrownspeaks” to own some version of my name. I never really liked the name, however, for a variety of reasons:
- MikeBrownSpeaks implies only one-way communication.
- It shares the limitations inherent in anything named after one person.
- The name didn’t reflect the strategy expertise, innovation capabilities, and real business benefit (helping executives get smart strategic thinking in a hurry) I anticipated would be at the heart of a business some day.
Despite my frustration, I simply couldn’t come up with a name to describe what I was developing and since it worked for the immediate need, this blog was born under that name.
Fast forward to March 2008, and I was creating a collaborative innovation and planning session for students in John Pepper’s marketing class at nearby Baker University. John had asked for the students to work with three brainstorming exercises and a prioritization strategy in 50 minutes.
Putting the session together the Saturday afternoon before, it seemed daunting to do so much in so little time. Suddenly the thought popped in my head, “At that point, it’s not even brainstorming. It’s brainzooming.” I stopped typing, played it back to myself and looking up, said silently, “Thank you God!” My next stop was Google, which revealed 8 hits for “brainzoom” and none for “brainzooming.” Checking the URL, it was unclaimed. I said, “Thank you God,” again, grabbed the URL, and first used the name the following Monday in class. I filed for a trademark, which was finalized in December 2009.
It took longer than I wanted to come up with the name, but Brainzooming reflects the heart of what we help executives wrestling with strategy do – rapidly think through a smarter set of possibilities, turn the best ideas into solid strategies, and implement them for better results and success. – Mike Brown