Word of Mouth Marketing Will Never Die

Question: What’s better than hyping your own product? Answer: Having a satisfied customer do it for you. My friend Heather was previously using an real estate agent that was a tad on the pushy side. The agent did all those things that really cheese potential home buyers off, like suggesting homes way out of Heather’s budget. The agent basically tried to force Heather into buying a home out of her price range so that she could receive a higher commission. (She even suggested Heather borrow money from her parents to do it!) Instead of helping Heather, the agent was most interested in helping herself. So, I sent Heather over to my buddy Travis who is also a real estate agent. I’ve known Travis for a while, and he’s quite possibly the most laid-back person I’ve ever met. He did everything he could to make Heather feel comfortable, and went out … Continue reading

Posted in Social Media, marketing | 1 Comment
Our Misguided Focus on Patents

Is it patented? Can we patent that? We need a @#!$%& patent and we need it now! You hear that a lot these days. Everyone wants to be part of the new economy, the thinking economy, and patents are the key, right? No. Patents are the results of something – good, old-fashioned innovation. Continue reading

Posted in Innovation, Intellectual Property, Management, Strategy | 1 Comment
Rational Optimism

How about this for a view of the future? Prosperity spreads, technology progresses, poverty declines, disease retreats, fecundity falls, happiness increases, violence atrophies, freedom grows, knowledge flourishes, the environment improves and wilderness expands. According to scientist and author, Matt Ridley, this is what we can expect from the future based on a reasonable reading of human progress starting with the Stone Age. Radical optimism? Yep and rational too. This is the world-view laid out in Dr Ridley’s powerful new book, The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves. This is refreshing stuff, especially in the midst of the economic and ecological turmoil all around us. Dr Ridley’s case is grounded in an astute assessment of the past, and he believes pessimists take the wrong lessons from history. By excavating the past for solutions to the catalog of catastrophic threats that confront us – oil spills, financial meltdowns, climate change – the pessimist … Continue reading

Posted in Innovation, Psychology | 2 Comments
10 Ways to Make Your Social Media Strategy Come Alive

If you’ve been a Brainzooming reader for any length of time, you’ve seen discussion about Jay Conrad Levinson’s guerrilla marketing strategies. We frequently adapt his standard guerrilla marketing approach to help businesses customize their marketing implementation toolkits. This allows them to take best advantage of low incremental cost resources available to them. Relative to social media strategy, we’ve modified and narrowed the approach so organizations can more effectively explore resources for dramatically strengthening social media implementations. Creatively mining these ten areas will allow an organization to identify additional ways to activate its social media presence: Address topics your target audience members find motivating Share ways to help audience members be more successful Emphasize basic message points and themes you use elsewhere Contact the people already producing other content in your business Enlist anyone doing informal social media efforts within your organization to help Adapt material from currently existing communications pieces … Continue reading

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Innovate or Die Tattoo

Innovate or die, that is more or less the motto I have been hearing when working as a consultant with organizations in the last few years. Innovation has become fashion and if you don’t put it into your values and your strategy you surely will perish as an organization in the next few years… Or at least that is what they try to tell me. Now, I would like to say something so obvious, but what a lot of people forget: innovation for innovation’s sake does not bring any value whatsoever. Innovation needs to be directed to be of any value. To be more specific, if innovation efforts at your company do not have clear objectives they might lead you to spent loads of money on something that has no value to the organization. An organization has to ask itself the continuous questions: Why am I innovating, In what should … Continue reading

Posted in Innovation | 2 Comments
Creatives Take the Lead in Innovation

We’ve been developing a theory of business over the last few years, based on our work with a number of companies. The theory is less about innovation tools and techniques and more about the structure of a firm’s workforce. What’s become apparent is that the mix of skills drives a lot of innovation success. While you can take a fairly conservative culture and rally it to an occasional innovation effort, that conservative organization will revert to its comfort zone over time. To innovate consistently and effectively, a firm needs a supportive culture, a committed management team and the right mix of skills, interests and perspectives to sustain innovation. We believe that there are four kinds of perspectives that are important in a business, and the distribution of these perspectives in your organization will tell you a lot about your firm’s propensity for innovation. The four perspectives …

Posted in Creativity, Innovation | 3 Comments
Hope and Sanity at Starbucks

Last spring McDonald’s launched a $100 million salvo in support of its new McCafe line of coffee drinks. I (along with everybody else) was worried about how Starbucks would fend off such an attack, and I wrote about how I hoped the company would be careful in how it responded: “Starbucks isn’t just a coffeehouse, it’s a concept. It’s not something to be explained, it’s something to experience. It’s not an argument, it’s an aesthetic.” I’m happy to report (as a grande-extra-hot-no-water-soy-chai lover) Starbucks is doing well. After retrenching, the company’s same store sales have begun to rise once again, less impacted than anticipated by McDonald’s attack (in part because of an unanticipated convenience factor—a Morgan Stanley analyst calculated that only 23 percent of Starbucks’ locations are within a quarter mile of McDonald’s). Starbucks has now decided to increase its anemic marketing budget (historically less than 1 percent, a fraction … Continue reading

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