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Go! Turn your brain inside out.
"New Thought" vs. "Comfy Thought"

A good way to keep your brain doing somersaults of productive creativity is to keep it off guard. Trick your brain into doing things differently. By doing this you will actually have fun in general as you discover new things around you, realize things you know are different or pick up new skills and/or hobbies.

Everyone is creative...but you have to have the courage to let your comfortable thinking go and take a chance that you're going to look absolutely ridiculous. I have lots of fun doing this and I have to say I've had egg on my face a lot more than I've made a cake. But you know what? A friend of mine said if you break the eggs make an omelet. Tasty.

So, I have spent most of my career working very hard on presenting alternative points of view to projects, problems, products and solutions. How to communicate them differently while still saying the same thing everyone else does. How to reach people in new ways. How to take cash cows and turn them back into money-makers. I've been doing this for twelve years now. And still surprise myself.

I will stay in this career until I stop surprising myself. I have a job that is like Christmas every time a project is revealed. All that's missing from the celebration are those dang berries you hang over your head so you can justify making out with someone. Now THAT would be a heck of a job wouldn't it?

The question is how do I keep tricking my brain? I find new and different things all of the time. My friends think I have ADD that will allow me six months of joy with a new toy then I get bored and move on. NO! What I do is have fun learning about it and trying to wrap my mind around the concept and why it was developed and then applying that knowledge to my next challenge.

Take the ancient Japanese game of "Go". Talk about inside out thinking. It took me a month to realize, with intense frustration, that the reason I kept losing matches was because I was still playing in the squares, like checkers. Instead of on the lines. My pieces were on the lines, like they should have been, but my mind was on the square. Not a good combination for winning. Once I realized what was going on it changed my success in the game but it also made me realize that sometimes a simple shift in application will cause huge, positive results. Instead of applying my strategy to the squares, but applying it to the lines a path for success became clear. What is important to think about here, is that the whole time I played I was putting my game pieces, or tactical elements in the right place but had the wrong motive and strategy for doing so. You could argue that I didn't even understand the game I was playing. So I shouldn't have been playing to begin with.

When you produce collateral think the same way. Your "stones" are the right shape, size and placed correctly. But you're losing. Are your motives for your strategy sound? Or should you be playing checkers instead?

Know the rules. Before you start. Don't wait until you're a grand master to start. Get started, make mistakes and learn. But be sure you're on the right game board and have the right set of rules. Then, with fresh perspective and the right tools you have a chance to win. Even beat a grand master!

Good marketing, nay, good business needs the same approach. You want to be sure you have something to promote and you want to win. You have to make sure you're in the right game and that you have the same set of rules everyone else in that game does. You also need the right pieces to play that game and need to know how to use each piece and what the consequences of deploying those pieces are. You have to have lots of preparation, luck and be able to look 10 moves ahead so that you can anticipate your competitions' moves.

But you need to be ready to adapt on the fly, find new ways to implement your plan with the same tools and keep changing your perspective. Most board games require you to sit on one side and stay there until it concludes. Well there's no rule that says you can't imagine what the other point of view is and change yours. Use your mind to its fullest. Let yourself have some out of mind/body experiences and gain the necessary perspective or "new thought" to win the game.

If you treat your marketing communications the same way you will find that your investment will return much better results. Just making a web site "to have one" is a wast of money. Making business cards is crazy if you never have to network. Or do what I do, be ironic and never have them. It's amazing how people will fuss over me because I, a marketer, do not have any on my person. Lo, the business napkin and its very useful ways.

Accumulate the right pieces to play the game and put the right pieces into play at the right time. A new company should never use outdoor advertising, but a well entrenched business with mega-brand appeal should leverage the heck out of outdoor advertising. Marketing communications is a chaotic board game that is intimidating and difficult to play without a grand master helping. I can help you play the game, don't be scared and don't worry about what's been done to date. Look at your board, find your pieces and think about how you can get better. But play the game. And play to win.

| patrick |


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