Many companies place 'creative stimuli' like pool tables in their offices to inspire remarkable ideas, but what actually materializes as a result? Whether your office is made up of cubicles or open-plan architecture, your workspace should foster a culture of "productive creativity." You can learn a lot about a person from taking a look around their home. Since everything communicates, a brief glimpse at a bookcase is a lens for what your colleague finds interesting. Much like you can tell a lot about a person by looking around their home, you can understand a company’s culture from their workspace.
The typical office set-up of cubicles and fluorescent lamps reflects conformity, isolation, and a lack of individuality, where each employee is a mere cog on a wheel. Not surprisingly, remarkable ideas are seldom conceived in such settings. On the other hand, people assume that a fun-filled open-plan architecture is the answer to generate innovative ideas. With its emphasis on collaboration and fun, these workspaces reflect teamwork, collaboration and creativity for people to share and brainstorm new ideas. These companies believe that “bumping” into each other and engaging in an impromptu game of Rock Band is the catalyst for fresh ideas.
However, through some of our team’s research, we have discovered some liabilities with these collaborative spaces. As more value is placed on inspiration and less on structure and taking action, teams are liable to spend more time generating more ideas and less time on improving any particular ideas. We have found that ideas are less likely to gain traction when idea generation is never confined
. Collaborative workspaces also encourage interruptions that can, in turn, produce distractions that reduce productivity. The “bumping” philosophy causes people to meet on the fly, rather than adequately prepare for a meeting. While open-plan architecture may facilitate raw creativity, this kind of environment does not necessarily foster the focus and accountability required to push ideas forward.
A workspace should be used NOT just to generate ideas, but also to make ideas happen. Since most great ideas are formulated in unstructured space, why not use time outside of the office for blue sky thinking...and then return to your workspace to take action? Here are some tips for turning your open collaborative space to a productive one.
- Treat your colleagues as if they have an imaginary door. Limit the spur-of-the-moment meetings. Limit the number of times you interrupt people when they are in the middle of doing something to get quick feedback. Instead, schedule a time to allow for preparation and more thorough thoughts.
- Wear headphones when you do not want to be interrupted. If you are focused and concentrated on getting something done, wear headphones to visually let people know that you do not want to be disturbed, even if you are not listening to music.
- Implement the Action Method visually. Some of the most productive teams in the creative community put their action steps on the wall for the whole company to see. This promotes an emphasis for capturing the Actions Steps behind ideas and accountability for taking them.
- Hold Action Meetings. Rather than holding a meeting to brainstorm new ideas, hold a meeting to determine Action Steps for each team member.
This tip was co-written by Michael Karnjanaprakorn
and Scott Belsky
, members of the Behance team. Explore more tips
, and check out Behance's guest postings for small businesses
trying to make ideas happen, hosted at American Express' OpenForum
Throughout his career, Eno has used a grab bag of tools to assist the creative process. “There are lots of ways that you can interfere with it and make it more efficient.” 1. Freeform capture.
Grab from a range of sources without editorializing. According to Tamm, one of Eno’s tactics “involves keeping a microcassette tape recorder on hand at all times and recording any stray ideas that hit him out of the blue – a melody, a rhythm, a verbal phrase.” He’ll then go through and look for links or connections, something that can form the foundation for a new piece of music. 2. Blank state.
Start with new tools, from nothing, and toy around. For example, Eno approaches this by entering the recording studio with no preconceived ideas, only a set of instruments or a few musicians and “just dabble with sounds until something starts to happen that suggests a texture.” When the sound texture evokes a memory or emotion that impression then takes over in guiding the process. 3. Deliberate limitations.
Before a project begins, develop specific limitations. Eno’s example: “this piece is going to be three minutes and nineteen seconds long and it’s going to have changes here, here and here, and there’s going to be a convolution of events here, and there’s going to be a very fast rhythm here with a very slow moving part over the top of it.” 4. Opposing forces.
Sometimes it’s best to generate a forced collision of ideas. Eno would “gather together a group of musicians who wouldn’t normally work together.” Dissimilar background and approaches can often evoke fresh thinking. 5. Creative prompts.
In the ‘70s Eno developed his Oblique Strategies
cards, a series of prompts modeled after the I Ching
to disrupt the process and encourage a new way of encountering a creative problem. On the cards are statements and questions like: “Would anybody want it?” “Try faking it!” “Only a part, not the whole.” “Work at a different speed.” “Disconnect from desire.” “Turn it upside down.” “Use an old idea.” These prompts are a method of generating specifics, which most creatives respond favorably to.
In the end, don’t underestimate your personal feelings about a project. Eno states: “Nearly all the things I do that are of any merit at all start off as just being good fun.” Amen to that. --> Download Eric Tamm’s Brian Eno e-book for free
--How Do You Spark Creative Breakthroughs?
Where do you get your best ideas?
What strategies do you use to give your creative mind a kick? Scott McDowell works with business leaders and creative teams to ease collaboration. Follow Scott @mcd_owell.
Like marketers, comedians spend their days carefully crafting messages for maximum impact. They tell stories. They build analogies of great length to make a point. They gauge reactions from their audience and adjust if needed.
The line between the two professions is blurry indeed, and we shouldn't be surprised that comics like Jummi Carr and Tim Sidell (aka @badbanana) had prior careers in marketing and advertising
. They likely learned a lot from us! But now it's our turn. Here are three important principles to bolster your social media strategy
, extracted from the tips of the stand up trade.
1. Engage Your HecklersHecklers make stand-up comedy a full contact sport. In smaller clubs, where patrons set their drink on the edge of the stage, back and forth with audience members is almost always part of the act. And it doesn’t go away on bigger stages, either. I saw Jerry Seinfeld at Foxwoods a couple of weeks ago, in a massive ballroom, and he lambasted a heckler who was sitting at the back of the 2nd balcony, at least 70 yards from his mic stand. Detouring out of rehearsed material and into a conversation with a heckler is in a comic’s blood, and it should so too be part of how you use social media.Marketing Takeaway:
You can schedule posts all you want, but a truly remarkable social media strategy is steered by someone who can “off-script” to respond to unsatisfied customers or brand detractors. Doing so on the open and transparent forums
will go miles to repair relationships, as well as increase the confidence of onlookers.
2. Use Props Who remembers Gallagher? He was a standup in the late 80’s and early 90’s who made a name for himself by smashing watermelons with sledgehammers on stage (talk about remarkable!). Folks with front row seats to his shows typically found rain coats waiting for them on their chairs, like they were opting for the “Splash Zone” at a Sea World show. His use of props and penchant for liquid explosions added a dimension to his jokes, persona and performances that other comics didn’t have. Marketing Takeaway:
Apply that principle to your social media strategy by including videos, pictures, surveys, and other types of dynamic content. Linking to website content is great, but text is one-dimensional and can get boring for folks following your brand on places like Facebook and Twitter
. Videos and imagery of who you are, and what you do will enrich their
3. Know Why They LaughGeorge Carlin was a philosopher for the damned. Bill Cosby satirized the nuclear family. Sam Kinnison shocked audiences with screaming serenades to ex-girlfriends. They knew what chords they struck with their audiences, and wrote and performed material with those chords in mind. Whether they did ‘focus groups of one’ by the bar after the show, or measured reverb on the laugh-track machine – we’ll never know – but they knew what they were doing. Marketing Takeaway:
You should likewise always keep a hand on your audiences pulse. Be cognizant of what they like – doing so will help you avoid posting content that gets crickets, as they say. Measure interactions and traffic from social media
as often as you can, and use that data to inform what you share next.
What other comedic lessons have you put to work in your maketing strategy?
Read more: http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/16959/3-Social-Media-Marketing-Lessons-from-Comedians.aspx#ixzz1Pnq3lpnE
Posted by Patrick Shea
One of the most powerful tools in Internet marketing is the ability to write ads that sell. Ad writing is an art that not necessarily everyone can master. While some people weave magic with their words effortlessly, there are others that find it difficult to string a single sentence together for an ad.
Most large business houses can afford to hire out their ad writing requirements to professionals, while smaller businesses often do not have that option. This does not mean you cannot write great ads that invoke a response; you just need some ad writing tips to get you going on the right track.
Here are some tried and tested ad writing tips that will help you create sales copy to positively impact your revenues.
- Use attention-grabbing headlines. Online users display a short attention span that lasts only about 6 seconds. That’s how long your ad is scanned before moving on to the next piece of information. The best online ad writing efforts use compelling words that get the message across fast and in a way that engages the reader. Another attention grabbing technique is the use of a single exclamation point. Avoid using multiple exclamations to make a point or it will look like you’re screaming way too loud.
- State the benefits upfront. If you are offering a discount to the customer state the exact amount or percentage right away. Don’t make the user guess. Instead of saying, “Great discounts! Save lots of money!” try using, “50% discount. Save up to $125!” If you are providing a solution to a particular problem say so upfront. Instead of saying, “Are you worried about premature hair loss?” try saying, “Prevent hair loss today!”
- Use testimonials whenever possible. The power of word of mouth is surprising in its effectiveness. Hearing another customer testify that he or she is extremely satisfied with the product provides just the right impetus to get customers to make a purchase. However, a published testimonial alone may not be enough. Customers are wary of the genuineness of testimonials when there’s nothing to back them up. You should look to either add the photograph of the person testifying, or better yet, an audio-video clip! Hearing and seeing another person testifying about the great quality of your product, is like stamping it with a seal of approval.
- Build credibility. Indicate to the customer that you are a well-established organization and not a fly-by-night operator. State the origins of the company as well as the number of years you have been in business. Also weave in any awards, recognitions or certifications that the company has received.
- Appeal to the customer emotionally. Your ad writing prowess is very dependent on how emotionally involved you can make your customer. Arousing emotions within a customer via copy is a great way to spur him or her to buy. Money, beauty and fitness, health, fame and love can all trigger emotional responses. Think about the product you sell and the feelings you can evoke in the customer with that product. For example, let’s say you sell fishing lures. Instead of selling the lure, sell the fishing experience, the bonding of a father and son while on a fishing trip, and so on.
- Use call to action statements. Once you have made your sales pitch the final step in the process is to get the user to take action. Call to action statements (such as act NOW or buy TODAY) are a cornerstone of all ad writing efforts. Just giving the user information is not good enough. You must create urgency within the user to buy the product immediately, to get up and go to the shop, to pick up the phone and call, to click the button and order now!
Ad writing is an art that does follow some guidelines, while still allowing room for your own creativity. Use the tips above to create great ad copy that will compel customers to want to buy your product, NOW!-Stacie Leonard, Ecommerce Marketing/Copywriting
Twitter is a tool for "micro-blogging" or posting very short updates, comments or thoughts. In fact, since Twitter was designed to be very compatible with mobile phones through text messages, each update is limited to 140 characters. Truly, a micro-blog. Another way to think of Twitter is like a cross between instant messaging (IM) and a chat room, because it is an open forum, but you restrict it to the people with which you connect.
I have to admit I have not always been sold on Twitter. At first I did not get it at all. Then I thought I understood it, but thought it was stupid and useless. Then I used it a bit more and got some more followers and followed a few more people. Now I think it has some value, especially as a marketing and PR tool.
Ideas for How to Use Twitter for Marketing & PR
- Engage your CEO in social media. Social media is a great way to have a conversation with your market and make and mange connections with prospects, customers, bloggers and other influencers. But for a CEO, the typical routes to social media can be hard. Especially if you are a larger or global company. A CEO typically has little time to write a blog or answer lots of messages and friend requests on Facebook. I cannot tell you how many CEO blogs I have seen with only 1 or 2 posts because the CEO never had time to update the blog after the first couple entries. But, Twitter is limited to 140 characters per update, so it is all about short thoughts and comments. If your CEO can send a text message, they can use Twitter from anywhere in the world as a marketing and PR tool. Twitter is actually perfect for CEO or founder who is always on the road meeting with people and who has some interesting opinions on your market.
- Keep in touch with bloggers / media. It is really easy to follow someone on Twitter (see below). And you'll be surprised how often they decide to follow you as well. In fact, I have lots of people I consider "famous" in the marketing and PR worlds following me. In my opinion, this is a way easier way to connect with influential people in the media than calling and emailing them.
- Monitor your company / brand on Twitter. A while back we noticed that Guy Kawasaki mentioned Website Grader on Twitter. Well, of course we had to let him know a bit more about Website Grader and maybe ask if he would also blog about it? The result was this blog article on Website Grader which drove a good amount of traffic and leads. (See below for a cool tip on how to easily monitor people talking about your company on Twitter.)
- Announce specials, deals or sales. If you are a retailer or anyone who often has special offers, you can use Twitter to announce these deals instantly to a large audience. You know those commercials from Southwest Airlines about that "Ding" application you could download and would then alert you about specials on flights? Well, Twitter can be used as a kind of free version of that. Dell and Woot have done just this type of marketing, with a lot of success.
- Live updates on events or conferences. If you participate in a large trade show or run your own corporate event, you can use Twitter to announce last minute changes, cool events that are happening ("Just announced, David Meerman Scott book signing in the exhibit hall until 11am") and more. It is a great last minute marketing tool.
- Promote blog articles, webinars, interesting news and more. Its really easy to post a link to something in Twitter, and I often post links to blog articles on this blog, or other news articles relevant to HubSpot. A good idea is to post articles on other websites that are relevant to your business, like a customer success story or other PR coverage. If you have other content that is appealing to your audience like a free webinar, post links to those too.
Using Twitter for Marketing & PR - A Step-by-Step Guide
- Sign-up and post a profile. Visit Twitter and click on the "Get Started - Join" button in the middle. The rest is simple enough that I think you can figure it out without my help.
- Write some updates. The beauty of Twitter is that the 140 character limit is the great equalizer - I am about as good of a writer as Shakespeare on Twitter. Post a link to a news article you liked with a one line comment, mention an interesting thought you had, or tell everyone what you are cooking for dinner. Just write something.
- Make friends. Making friends on Twitter is pretty easy. Just surf around the web on your favorite blogs, people's Facebook profiles etc, and when you see a Twitter box that tells you what they are doing click on it. That will bring you to their profile and then you just click on the "Follow" button on the top left and you are now following them. Most of the time they will then follow you back, and the audience for your 140 character insights will have grown by one person. You can get started by following me: Mike Volpe on Twitter. You can also click on the people that other people are following to find more people to follow.
- How to post URLs. Twitter is based on 140 character updates. If you have a really long URL, that doesn't leave much room for Most people on Twitter use www.TinyURL.com to take a long URL and make it short. Give it a shot if you have a long URL that you want to market on Twitter.
- Monitor conversations about your company. Even if you don't join Twitter yourself you can monitor what people are saying about any person, company or brand. This is quite useful from a marketing and PR standpoint. Twitter has a search engine that lets you do just this. For instance, here is a list of everyone who is talking about HubSpot on Twitter. You can subscribe to these searches by RSS to keep yourself updated. Another tip is that you can "follow" all the people you find talking about your company (just click on their username to go to their profile). If they are talking about your company, they would probably be pretty happy that someone from the company wants to follow them.
- How to "chat". Using the @ symbol before someone's Twitter username is how people have "conversations" in Twitter. This makes their username a link to their profile so other people can follow the conversation (sort of). For example if you wrote "@mvolpe thanks for the cool blog article about Twitter today" that would be a way of telling me you liked this article. Try it out. It's not IM (instant messaging), but it is sort of like a publicly broadcast IM service.
Read more: http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/4034/How-to-Use-Twitter-for-Marketing-PR.aspx#ixzz1OwpNAoo5
Celebrity “hairpreneur” Chaz Dean
is the go-to guy in LA for all things hair. A stylist for the past 20-plus years, he has worked his way up from an assistant in high school to learning the industry and opening his own salon
catered to celebrity culture and its high end market.
Dean created his own products as a solution to prevent damaged hair from the harsh detergents and chemicals in regular shampoos and conditioners. Now a successful line and dominant part of his business, WEN Hair & Body Care
is designed to cleanse rather than strip. His products have been featured for the world to see in magazines like Natural Health
, Woman’s World
, and W
In this Rise to the Top
interview with David Garland
, Dean reveals his advice for launching a business and stresses strategies including, but not limited to:Don’t let your pride get in the way.
If you don’t accept this tidbit of wisdom, then whatever it is you’re trying to promote -- a business, an idea, a product -- won't work out.Connect with your customers on a personal level
. People want to be connected to a person, so incorporating personality is essential. Try to connect with them by reaching out and finding out from your customers where their passions lie.Create the complete experience.
Simply put -- if you’re going to do it, do it right.Know your market, and be ready for it.
If you do your job, your customer will be pleased. Keep their lifestyles in mind when marketing. Not only will he or she notice the effect of your work, but others will too. It’s the snowball effect: if everyone is connected, everyone will talk.Totally cliché, but honesty is key:“I believe in educating my clients… the more honest I am, the more they believe in me, rely on me more.”
Read more: http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/14352/Entrepreneurial-Business-Tips-From-Celeb-Hair-Stylist-Chaz-Dean.aspx#ixzz1OTNBzSHb