Social media has come a long way in the last five years. Once used to kill time and stay entertained, the social web is now deeply ingrained in the day-to-day operations of businesses large and small. Communications is no exception – in fact, it’s one of the premier uses of social media in the corporate environment. Instead of relying on outdated bulletin boards and impersonal memos, tech-savvy executives are now using online tools to communicate more quickly, more personally and more effectively.
How much do you really need this Christmas? I am serious. I want you to think about what you have and what you really need. Perhaps there is a better way to celebrate this year that doesn’t require you to receive gifts.
We’ve talked on this blog before about that fact that I’m an open networker. In other words, I’ll connect freely with folks on LinkedIn who seem legitimate. Today, I connected with a young man who works in Charlotte, NC, my hometown.
It’s true: we are writing a book called Moving To Charlotte: The Un-Tourist Guide. Moving To Naples – is the first in the series of Un-Tourist Guides, published by Voyager Media. Sarasota comes out next, then the Charlotte book will be the third in the series.
Tamela Rich noticed recently that I was publishing several paper.li papers, including Moving To Charlotte: The Un-Tourist Guide, The Fortune 500 Daily, The Creativity Times, and The Social Media Daily. You are subscribed to them, right? If you don’t know about paper.li, then you need to go here to learn more about the service.
Sometime back we assembled a list of PR resources but alas – over time – many of those have disappeared from the Interwebs. So, we now present our new, improved and updated PR link list.
There’s a restaurant nearby that I visit often because it has the best beef brisket around. Mac’s Speed Shop promotes itself as the place for beer, bikes and BBQ. I mention Mac’s because they do a creative job of resource usage. Now, you’re probably thinking I’ve lost my mind talking about a restaurant that shows its creativity in the way it uses – and reuses – entree components.
Charlotte’s Financial Executives Networking Group invited me to come speak recently on the topic of using social media to fill and find a job. The response was so good to the segment about how your LinkedIn profile is in essence an SEO resume, that I thought I’d develop this post on it.
One of our most popular posts – written in 2007 – featured the top free photo sites we could find at the time. Well, we are updating that post to provide new information and to remove some sites that have disappeared. I have a lot of friends who are photographers and always suggest that you utilize their services if possible. But sometimes you can’t and you just need a free photo. Be sure to read the licensing information at each site you use. Let’s get to it.
When you brainstorm – to get the most ideas – initially you need to withhold judgment. Evaluating ideas comes after – and only after – you have completed your brainstorming so that you won’t kill off your creativity. A while back we wrote a series on the SCAMMPERR method for creativity. If you’ve used this method, you produced a lot of ideas. Now, we need to evaluate them to see if they are worthwhile to pursue.
I’m always hearing people say, “I’m too old” or “I’m too young” for something. Forgive me my boldness, but that’s just an excuse.
I am an open networker. That means I will connect to almost anyone who wants to connect with me, particularly on LinkedIn. If we are not currently connected, click on the photo above, go to my LinkedIn page and ask to connect.
I recently posted a question on Twitter to find out what my followers thought was their biggest internal communications problem. I was not surprised to find out that it is you Mr. and Ms. Business Leader.
Creativity happens when you let it, not when you try to force it. That’s why you get your best ideas when running or showering. Your mind is typically in neutral in those situations and ideas seem to occur spontaneously. So, what can you do to put your mind in neutral and spark some creativity?
When you think of your favorite brands, what comes to mind first? I often think of a color, and apparently I’m not alone. Saw this article over at Social Media Today talking about the role of color in marketing. The article says that,
Since it’s Earth Day, we thought we’d discuss recycling – recycling your content, that is. Have you successfully recycled your content. Let’s review a few ways that I have given old content new life.
We’re assembling a list of the top creatives and creativity experts to follow on Twitter. Somewhat immodestly, we added ourselves to the list. Got anyone else to add? Please do.
We’ve found a lot of good creativity-related articles this month and wanted to share them with the class. So, below is our list of Top 9 Creativity Finds Of The Month.
What Type Of Thinker Are You? - When we get stuck in convergent thinking, we miss the possibilities open to us. So, let’s diverge, shall we?
In the past, we have offered up simple ideas for marketing yourself or your business. Here is our list of 5 more things you can do today to boost yourself.
1. Get to bed earlier this evening and every evening. According to Dr. Michael Bengston,
We have talked about this before, and I thought by 2013 we would have moved on. But no! Marketers in the B-2-B space are still writing as if they are communicating with droids and not humans. It’s the use of business jargon to which I am referring.
SCAMMPERR For Creativity - Everything new is a modification of something existing, according to Michael Michalko, developer of a brainstorming tool called Thinkpak, which uses a mnemonic device to help you look at things in a different way.
This is the final installment in our series about the SCAMMPERR creativity technique. We’ll be looking at things in reverse for creativity.
LinkedIn has added quite a few features since we wrote a post on launching your company’s LinkedIn page. So, we thought we’d update it to let you know about the new features available to you. As we told you in our initial post, your company needs a LinkedIn company page because,
When it comes down to it, creativity is really about rearranging what we know to form something we didn’t know. You can rearrange letters or words to spark a new thought. For instance instead of saying how can we sell more bottles, you might ask how can we bottle more sales. Does this make you look at the problem a little differently?
Originally, the doughnut had no hole. As legend would have it, a small boy noticed that the center of his mother’s donuts weren’t completely done so he poked it out with a fork. Sometimes, as the doughnut illustrates, eliminating something makes for a more successful product.
Humans have been doing it for years: taking one thing and putting it to another use. George Washington Carver, for instance, took the lowly peanut and re-purposed it into 300 other products. Consider 3M, which was trying to develop an adhesive that was not very sticky for use on bulletin boards. That never caught on, but a 3M chemist had the insight to use it on note paper and Post-Its were born.
NASCAR was born when someone decided to modify an automobile right off the dealer’s lot to get more speed from it. A lot of creative ideas are the result of modification.
Who doesn’t want to be more creative? Well, today we’re going to give you a list of 27 ways to be more creative in all aspects of your life. Let’s get going.
1. Walk for 20 minutes daily.
2. Buy a journal and write in it daily.
In the minds of many, bigger is better. So, we move today to using the element of magnification for our creativity boost.
This is the third post in a series on a creativity exercise called SCAMMPERR, an acronym that stands for substitute, combine, adapt, magnify, modify, put it to other uses, eliminate, rearrange, reverse. We’ve covered substitute and combine, now let’s move on to adapt.
This is the second in a series on a creativity exercise called SCAMMPERR, an acronym that stands for substitute, combine, adapt, magnify, modify, put it to other uses, eliminate, rearrange, reverse. We covered substitute in our initial post, now let’s get on to combine.
Everything new is a modification of something existing, according to Michael Michalko, developer of a brainstorming tool called Thinkpak. I can’t disagree with his assessment. Thinkpak uses the mnemonic device – SCAMMPERR to help you look at things in a different way. So, when creating a new product, service, idea or process, you can use this device to help. SCAMMPERR stands for:
Do you make resolutions each year only to break them, or forget about them by February? This year, I’d like you to resolve to do one thing and one thing only: begin thinking more creatively. If you do this, then you’ll be able to figure out how to accomplish all the goals on your list in later years. In 1999, I picked up a book that changed the way I think – and subsequently – changed my life for the better.
Is it just me, or have marketers everywhere all gotten on the “Weird Tips” train?
My business partner and I were joking about this the other day, after we kept seeing these “Weird Tricks & Tips” ads show up in our Facebook feeds. These play off the headlines one is likely to see in a tabloid newspaper. Tabloids raised headline writing for response to high art.
Corporate clients are doing their best Donald Trump imitation, telling their ad agencies that they are fired. A majority of marketers expect to make changes to their agency rosters in the next year, with the need for enhanced digital capabilities and innovation among the key drivers of this trend, a study has shown.
Creativity Toolbox – Learn how to facilitate group creativity.
Creative Thinking Skills -There is clearly tremendous value in having diverse, positive creative thinking skills on your creative team.
Mediate Your Way To Creativity - Cognitive psychologist Lorenza Colzato used creativity tasks that measure convergent and divergent thinking to assess which meditation techniques most influence creative activities.
Ran across an article about some of the strangest titles found on LinkedIn. People are calling themselves everything from Digital Overlord to Accounting Ninja.
Let’s get this straight: you are not a ninja, an overlord, a guru or a jedi. If you call yourself any of these things you are a dumbass.
Not every client is right for your business. My Creative Team’s best customer is a Fortune 1000 firm, as I was forced to remember this week when we had to fire a new client.
4 Silly Sketching Exercises To Spark Your Creativity – Often, we are most creative when we let down our guard and relinquish some control. And it’s in this space that silliness comes into play.
No, this is not a piece about The Who’s 1971 song, it is a compilation of recent information we’ve been reading about the evolution of the mobile market.
How To Mind Map In Three Small Steps – Is your head full of ideas or thoughts? Do you have any confusion around an idea, project or problem? Do you simply wish to get them out of your head quickly and in an organized manner? The solution is to create a radial mind map to visually organize your ideas.
You’ve heard all the QR code naysayers, but we’re still seeing signs of life. Here are a few recent stories about how QR codes are being put to use.
Fresh Ways To Fish For Better Ideas- Bryan Mattimore has done ideation consulting for Ben & Jerry’s, DKNY, Unilever, and other notables. Here, he reveals some of his secrets to dislodging big ideas.
Using Your Head: The State Of Mind Control Creativity -Cool as brains are, historically, they’ve tended to be pretty worthless without a body. Not so anymore thanks to a new generation of mind-control applications.
What Sets Creatives Apart From Everyone Else? - What sets the well-known creative individuals apart from everyone else is simply their ability to act.
How To Trick Your Brain Into Succeeding – Use positive messages to fool your brain into appropriate actions.
Ideas: Steal With Style – Grab an idea from one place and put it to use in another for your next product or service innovation.
50 Modern Logos For Your Inspiration - Get a creative kickstart by reviewing these logos.
Ten Innovation Lessons From Mount Everest -Reaching the highest point of the Earth is one of the greatest expeditions of mankind. It made Edmund Hillary famous. After reading Hillary’s ‘View from the Summit’ Gijs van Wulfen shares ten innovation lessons on being 1st.
I often get stuck for a blog post idea. Do you? The 10 tips below may help you – as they do me – come up with solid ideas to break your writer’s block.
QR codes, in theory, are a good idea. In practice, marketers seem to be struggling to find smart ways to use them. Some say QR codes are dead. Brands, it seems, want to deliver information with QR codes. Customers, on the other hand seem to want free stuff, deals and discounts.
THINKing writes a lot on the topic of creativity. So, I thought I’d pull together a piece on some of the best, most actionable posts we’ve done on the subject. Yes, this is just what the doctor ordered for your creative malaise.
We are excited to have been chosen by Personna Blades, a Energizer Holdings brand, to develop this Fortune 500 website. Bob Senesac, VP of Marketing at Personna Industrial, says,
My Creative Team has a weekly feature highlighting the latest information on creativity. This post selects – in no particular order – the 50 best creativity posts we have featured this year. Let’s get going:
We’re always looking for good creative resources, and we have found a number of them for designers. So, we thought we’d share them in one easy-to-digest post. Enjoy.
Color Theory – This is an infographic, providing an overview of color theory for designers.
Free. That’s everyone’s favorite word. So, we here at My Creative Team are offering a number of our resources to you for nothing.
2011 Big List Of Creativity Links – A compilation of My Creative Team’s creativity links from 2011.
I just heard a new song from Joe Walsh this week: I’m An Analog Man, and it reminded me that everything has gotten so digital that we have forgotten how to employ the the tried-and-true methods of marketing and PR. The most neglected, in my opinion, is the thank you note.
Each of the phrases in the headline above mean something different. A real writer knows this, and a want-to-be writer should figure it out. Here are some writing-related items to help the writer in all of us.
How A Good Mood Ramps Up Creativity - Contrary to being a time waster, taking time to do something that boosts your mood could make you more creative and efficient.
You Must Remember This - Dr. Leigh Erin Connealy give us a prescription for brain health in her latest newsletter.
We come across lots of resources that we like to share with our peers but sometimes I like to post an overview of some of the ones for which we have received the most response. So, with that in mind, here are the top resources we have found recently for creatives.
Are your tweets falling on deaf ears? Maybe you are not using the right words. I’ve been using some free tools to delve into what my followers tweet about most often. You’ll see some of the major themes in the word cloud above.
Editor’s Note: this piece was written originally for and appeared on SocialFresh
LinkedIn’s Company Pages seem to be an afterthought among the other high profile social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Google+. But there are some good reasons that your company should set up – and keep current – your own free Company Page.
We’ve written extensively about personal branding over the years we have been publishing THINKing. So, we thought it was about time to pull together a personal branding compendium of those previous posts.
“Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me, Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called ‘You,’” said business guru Tom Peters in a 1997 essay that kick-started the personal branding movement.
You can’t build a personal brand until you do a little soul searching and research. Let’s take a look at some things to think about when developing your brand.
The best brands always try to do the right thing, so that their reputations will remain unsullied. But beyond that they grow, evolve and get better with time, while maintaining their special qualities from the past.
Are you using Pinterest to drive traffic back to your blog? I am experimenting with it. Why? Well, a recent study indicates that Pinterest drives more sales than Facebook. Is this true? Don’t know. But a little experimentation doesn’t cost me anything. So, why not?
There are some writing errors that can make you appear stupid, particularly if you call yourself a professional writer. You would not believe – or perhaps you would – how many times I have received content from “writers” containing some of these errors. So, I have compiled my list of things you need to know if writing is your vocation or avocation.
Creativity Boost #3 – Dictionary Excursion – Far and away this is our most popular post ever. It’s a writing exercise guaranteed to stimulate your little gray cells.
Our digital colleague and social media public relations counselor, Rodger Johnson, has written a series for THINKing about issues management. This post provides you a brief overview of each installment plus a link to get to them easily.
My plan to publish the last in a series of six crisis management posts was delayed by a mountain of work from my clients. But these things happen for a reason, and for this post, I have a great story of a moving company whose owner hasn’t the first clue about damage control.
We like to pop into the world of QR Codes once and a while to see what’s happening. Many folks think the QR Code will go the route of the dinosaur. Others believe it is the end-all, be-all. I’ll let you decide. Below are a few recent articles we have found on QR Codes.
Fred Baggs and Bob Dittmer, two seasoned public relations colleagues of mine, have managed many issues and crises over their careers. So the information I share with you isn’t mine exclusively; however, I learned much from these guys. And you will too.
Earlier in this series we talked about the life cycle of and issue, which moves through four distinct stages. Additionally, in our previous post, we defined an issue as a trend with the capacity to alter how your company operates as the trend evolves. Here’s a prime example:
It’s not that Fortune 500 employees aren’t paying attention. It’s the company’s fault for not communicating. I’d be willing to bet that most Fortune 500s spend more on advertising than on communicating with employees.
Getting everyone on board for a project or campaign is essential in order to be successful. But how can you inspire people to buy into a project when you can’t control how they think or feel? The two most important factors are leading by example, and demonstrating excellent communication habits.
In the grand scheme of things knowing the difference between an issue, a crisis and an emergency can help you craft appropriate communication strategies to weather the storms.
We’ve written several times about QR codes and the marketing possibilities for them. Recently, there has been a flurry of articles about QR codes, so I thought I’d bring you up to date on what is being said. Let’s get started.
About The Author: This is the second in a series of articles on issues management from our digital colleague, Rodger D. Johnson, who is a social media public relations counselor. He helps global companies, small businesses, and non-profits use public relations and social media strategies to strengthen brand equity. You can learn more about him at Get Social PR.
7 Habits Of Highly Creative People - Make a habit of these seven practices, and you will be highly creative in your field.
Make Yourself More Creative - Focus can be the enemy of creativity, and experiments back this up. Students whose attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder impairs their ability to focus perform better on creativity tests.
About The Author: This is the first in a series of articles on issues management from our digital colleague, Rodger D. Johnson, who is a social media public relations counselor. He helps global companies, small businesses, and non-profits use public relations and social media strategies to strengthen brand equity. You can learn more about him at Get Social PR.
Are you content with your content? Today’s post is a compilation of some good articles we have found in recent days on the subject of content development. Also, we have sprinkled a few of our top posts on content development in for good measure. Let’s get started.
Here’s a shout out to all guest bloggers. This is a new year and I want new voices here on THINKing.
OK, it’s 2012 and like a caterpillar, it seems, marketing is completing its metamorphosis. But really, it’s only the tactics that have changed. At least in my view. We’ve talked a lot about this. Back in 2009, we addressed this subject,
We’ve posted on a wide variety of topics in THINKing this year, and based on what you have been reading, you must like the variety. Let’s take a look at the Top 10 posts from 2011. You might find something on the list that you missed.
It is true that I am sometimes a grumpy curmudgeon, however, I also know a little about word usage. So, please let me help you so that you won’t look like an ignoramus when you attempt to create an act of literature.
It’s the last week of 2011 and we have had some good creativity links this year. I’ll be compiling home into pdf form shortly. Happy New Year and enjoy this last installment in 2011.
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about thinking. Done some research on the topic as well. As a creative thinker, you are trying to generate new ideas. These ideas typically come when you put together two ideas which have not been paired previously. Sounds easy enough, right?
We’ve been providing a series of creativity boosting exercises. I’m putting them all together here to make it easier for you to navigate to them.
Creativity Boost #1 - Creativity is one of the key topics we discuss here at THINKing. So, we decided to develop a series of posts that focuses on ways to boost your creativity. Today’s boost: the mindtrip.
Today, we’re heading to the dictionary for a creativity boost. Here’s what I want you to do:
You’re going to select six words and use them to write a story of less than 250 words. You will select your six words from:
Top 10 Story Starter Tips For Blocked Bloggers - Are you blogged out? Got writer’s block big time? Never fear, your doctor of creativity is here. I have some big time block busters.
Creativity is one of the key topics we discuss here at THINKing. So, we decided to develop a series of posts that focuses on ways to boost your creativity. Today’s boost: the mindtrip.
I’ve been in marketing communications since shortly after the earth cooled and I have seen a lot of poorly conceived advertising and marketing programs. But in today’s unstable market, I’m seeing some unstable marketing, too.
We write a lot here about brands and branding, so I thought I’d pull together a compendium of some of our better pieces on the subject to make it easier for you to find.
I just ran across this piece, Why Brands Don’t Matter Anymore, by John Jantsch, who knows his marketing. But I have to disagree with his headline, which was probably written to create a hint of controversy. (If you read the piece, you’ll see that he and I don’t truly disagree on this topic.)
Above is an infographic generated using Visual.ly, a service that allows users to create their own infographics. These visual representations of data are a great marketing and public relations tool. Are you using them in your marketing and PR?
Here are a few infographic resources you may want to investigate.
QR codes, we believe, have a place in marketing. However, they are not just for directing traffic back to your website. The future of QR codes is in making the user’s life easier. We plan to explore this in a future post.
By Harry Hoover
I joined an interesting Tweetchat July 11, moderated by Socialfresh. Each week a company will be selected and anyone who wants to can wade in to help develop a crowdsourced social media strategy using the hastag #socialfresh. It was fun and there were some good ideas generated, but a lot of the ideas were way off-target. Here’s why:
By Harry Hoover
The QR code above is provided by ScanMe, where you can develop your own QR code that provides access to all of your contact information to anyone with a smart phone. Go ahead and scan mine to find out how to connect with me on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Below is what you see if you scan the QR code.
Since My Creative Team works with Fortune 500 firms, we often like to share the marketing techniques of these big boys with you. Many of these techniques can be replicated by marketers in any size business. So, let’s see what the big boys have been doing.
I’m sure you have heard about Democrat Rep. Anthony Weiner’s PR problems stemming from his inappropriate online relationships with at least six women. This cretin provides an example – albeit a bad one – from which we all can learn.
We have recently concluded our series of posts on how to use LinkedIn for business-to-business purposes. Below, you’ll find an easy-to-navigate overview that takes you to the complete posts.
Your customers are telling you something, but aren’t saying a word. Most businesses will never get the message because they are too focused on what they want, not what the customer is asking for.
Photo: Copyright 2001 Columbia Pictures
When you live in the South you sometimes still see the male hairstyle known as the mullet. As Joe Dirt said in the movie by the same name, a mullet is “business in the front, party in the back.” And that is how social media is like a mullet: it’s both business and personal.
You might remember our piece recently about the Top 15 Uses For QR Codes. We have been seeing a lot of content recently on this topic, so we thought it was time for a curated update.
We’ve been talking recently about LinkedIn and the numerous ways you can utilize the platform for yourself and your organization. We see at least six business functions (see list below) in which LinkedIn can assist your company. We have already addressed #1. Today, we take a look at branding.
You have to love clients who clearly understand their brand, their audiences and have the courage to communicate with them in their vernacular. That’s why I love the folks at Newell Rubbermaid. They get it.