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Author Archives: Mike Brown

About Mike Brown

Mike Brown is the founder of the Brainzooming Group. He has been at the forefront of leading Fortune 500 culture change, contributing new approaches in research, developing simplified tools for innovation, strategy planning, and aligning sales, marketing, and communications strategies for maximum business results. Additionally, he’s won multiple awards for his strategic brand-building approach to customer experiences in NASCAR and conference event marketing efforts.

Competitor Strategy:
Disruptive Marketing Pranks

Competitor Strategy – Disruptive Marketing Pranks
By Mike Brown

 
Not every disruptive marketing tactic in a competitor strategy has to be an industry-changing move by a non-traditional competitor against a stagnant old-line competitor.

Sometimes disruptive marketing might simply involve one behemoth beating up on another one in an unusual way – even through a prank.

A video appearing online last week is an intriguing example of competitor strategy involving disruptive marketing. Although, according to some reports, it is a prank of a prank.
 

 
Disruptive Marketing Pranks

The original video “suggests” that courier DHL shipped several boxes via its competitors, including UPS and TNT. At pickup, each package initially appeared to be black, allegedly from being covered in “temperature-activated ink” that was chilled before shipping. As the boxes warmed during transport, the black disappeared to reveal a prank message on the difficult-to-deliver boxes. DHL (or its agency or some other third party) videoed delivery of the boxes to hard-to-find addresses to create the video shared here:

At the time this was being originally published, there were questions about whether DHL was involved in the prank.

Quite honestly, having competed against DHL where they directly used our company’s name (along with reference to the UPS Brown campaign) in a print ad, I would not put this past them. But whether DHL was involved originally or not, it is still a trigger for strategic thinking about going after a competitor in an unusual way.

Another interesting thing about this example is that from a US perspective, this looks like a small, potentially disruptive competitor (DHL) going after a huge industry leader (UPS). But that’s not the global picture.

DHL is part of Deutsche Post DHL (which is the German Post Office), the world’s largest courier company. So instead of the little guy engaging in disruptive marketing against the big guy, this would be the biggest guy slapping around a couple of enormous, but still smaller competitors.

Having been in the transportation industry, the delivery side of a prank like this (again, if it is real) would be the least of the concerns for UPS and the other competitor involved. The bigger issue would be the complaints about these boxes that would not move through competitors’ conveyor systems, likely necessitating one-off handling as they started revealing their messages.

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Mike Brown

Mike Brown is the founder of the Brainzooming Group. He has been at the forefront of leading Fortune 500 culture change, contributing new approaches in research, developing simplified tools for innovation, strategy planning, and aligning sales, marketing, and communications strategies for maximum business results. Additionally, he’s won multiple awards for his strategic brand-building approach to customer experiences in NASCAR and conference event marketing efforts.
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Strategic Thinking Learnings: Building The Gigabit City 2.0

Strategic Thinking Learnings: Building The Gigabit City 2.0
By Mike Brown

 
The Building the Gigabit City 2.0 event on February 13 in Kansas City was an incredible day in so many respects.

The Mozilla Foundation launched the event to stimulate proposal submissions for its $150,000 Mozilla Gigabit Community Fund in Kansas City.

The Brainzooming Group designed the afternoon interactive session for the day-long event. Throughout the afternoon, well over 100 participants imagined and described app and technology concepts to improve education, workforce development, digital access, and other areas within the Kansas City community and beyond.
 

 
Building the Gigabit City 2.0

With the number and range of participants at the majestic Kansas City Public Library, we recruited an extended team to facilitate six community-oriented tracks. Our team included a mix of people, some we’ve known for a few months to others we’ve known for decades. All had facilitated, participated in, or tracked the Brainzooming strategic thinking methodology.

The fantastic strategic thinking session facilitation team included:

Mike Brown (l), Alex Greenwood (r), and the Senior Living / Lifelong Learning team at work.

To ensure the facilitation team was ready to help participants work on new app concepts, we prepared a more than 30-page facilitator’s guide. The guide provided overviews on Mozilla objectives, background on each community group, and step-by-step overviews for using the Brainzooming exercises we designed.

Each facilitator brought their own expertise and experience to what we designed to bring it to life. We are so appreciative of everyone volunteering their time to make the event a success.
 

 
Strategic Thinking Learnings about the Brainzooming Methodology

Every time other people facilitate a Brainzooming strategic thinking session, it’s a fantastic learning opportunity both through facilitator comments and observing the groups. Among the strategic thinking learnings coming out of the Mozilla Gigabit Community Fund session we designed:

  • -The session emphasized how outcomes-based the Brainzooming methodology is. We start with what needs to come from a strategy session and design backwards, which creates a strong emphasis on production.
  • -The Brainzooming methodology gains speed (the “zooming” experience) by eliminating elements that don’t add to the final output’s quality. That sometimes means participants (and facilitators) don’t get the context they’d like (even though the results suggest they don’t need it).
  • -When you are monitoring group process but not facilitating, you rely on different cues. Rather than the content of the ideas, you depend on volume (of talking and of ideas), participant physical activity, posture, and eye contact as the primary signals for intra-session success.

Kudos to Kari Keefe of Mozilla and Aaron Deacon of KC Digital Drive who were the primary contacts Barrett Sydnor and I worked with leading up to the event.

Thanks also go to Alex Greenwood and the team at Alex G Public Relations for their work on, among other things, identifying the ideal spot above to do a video interview showcasing the visual impact of a Brainzooming session.

Now, we’re looking forward to seeing the variety of proposals coming forward to compete for funding.

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Mike Brown

Mike Brown is the founder of the Brainzooming Group. He has been at the forefront of leading Fortune 500 culture change, contributing new approaches in research, developing simplified tools for innovation, strategy planning, and aligning sales, marketing, and communications strategies for maximum business results. Additionally, he’s won multiple awards for his strategic brand-building approach to customer experiences in NASCAR and conference event marketing efforts.
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Social Media Disclaimer: Coming Clean on Humble Brag Social Sharing

Social Media Disclaimer: Coming Clean on Humble Brag Social Sharing
By Mike Brown

 

 

It occurred to me, after reading years of blog posts, tweets, and Facebook updates that there should probably be a comparable social media disclaimer.

While there are social media policies, and rather bland Twitter profiles stating someone’s tweets don’t represent an employer’s point of view, they don’t go far enough. They don’t really protect a reader and help them understand the significant level of fiction, hype, and misinformation to which they are being exposed.

A Social Media Disclaimer Recommendation

As a result, here’s my suggested social media disclaimer to provide more accurate context for most self-serving social media content that’s out there. Try this on for size:

“Implied relationships with social media rock stars may be further away than they appear to be. Opinions are mine only, and not just as in they aren’t held by my employer. They aren’t held by ANYONE else either . . . unless I copied them directly from a social media rock star. All assessments of events, food, and social interactions are highly subjective and generally over-stated. Although pictures of me with celebrities, visiting glorious vacation destinations, and consuming fabulous food and drinks account for 99% of my photos on Facebook and Instagram, they represent only 1% of my otherwise boring life. By me sharing your content, don’t think it implies endorsement. It doesn’t even imply I read it before sharing it. Client projects mentioned in Facebook updates should not be assumed to be paying engagements. Some clients mentioned in updates are purely fictional and do not represent any real clients living or dead.”

This won’t help you beat any FTC issues on disclosing freebies you receive for review in your blog. But if people had to attach this social media disclaimer to every over-the-top, humble brag, or arrogant Facebook update they make, social networks would be a lot more tolerable.

Coming Clean on Humble Brag Social Sharing

What do you think? Would this help make the humble brag social media content you’ve seen the past week more tolerable?

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Mike Brown

Mike Brown is the founder of the Brainzooming Group. He has been at the forefront of leading Fortune 500 culture change, contributing new approaches in research, developing simplified tools for innovation, strategy planning, and aligning sales, marketing, and communications strategies for maximum business results. Additionally, he’s won multiple awards for his strategic brand-building approach to customer experiences in NASCAR and conference event marketing efforts.
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