14 Ideas to Creating a Mind Map

by: Kenneth Cossin

For all the great thinkers in the world, we need a way to put into pictures the great ideas that our minds imagine.  Thus, the purpose of mind mapping.  Allow me to take a step back for a moment.

When we have ideas, we need to find a way to effectively convey, through words, the thoughts we have.  If we think about verbal and written language, we are quite limited.  But when we think about drawing or painting our thoughts, our minds wildly express our senses, emotions, and concepts.

Here is a list of 14 ideas I have regarding mind mapping:

Example Mind Map

1. Graphical Representation

Begin by drawing an image that represents your brain.  Be creative, because everyone views their own brain differently.  This picture will typically be something that demonstrates how you think.  We have two trains of thought – analytical and creative.  The left brain handles analytical thinking, and the right brain handles creative thinking.

2. Ideas

Draw lines out from either side of the picture of your brain to single words.  This process will allow you to analyze your thoughts, comprehend your feelings, and both synthesize and generate new ideas.   Be sure to determine whether the thoughts are analytical or creative, therefore, you put them on the correct side of the brain.

3. Color

Our brain does not think in black and white like the words on this blog post.  We think in colors.  Therefore, choose colors that represent certain feelings and emotions to you.  Color theory is an actual area of study, therefore, use the colors that mean something to you!

4. Represent

Be sure that you are being true to your brain.  Be honest with yourself regarding how your brain thinks.  For example, if you find that you’re just not the artistic type of person, then focus on drawing the left side first.  Create the right side as your creative mind kicks in.

5. Senses

Think about all five senses that we have: touch, smell, sight, hearing, and taste.  Certain senses are evoked when we encounter a physical or mental obstacle.  Imagine how you are going to overcome the obstacle by using these senses.

6. Linearity

By creating a mind map, understand that we are breaking or changing any linear thinking that we have.  For example, if you think that A leads to B, you may find out that you are wrong.  The problem is more complex than that.  Maybe A leads to J that leads to X that leads to B.  Not all solutions to a problem are solved with linear thinking.

7. Brainstorming

After beginning your mind map, you will find that you start thinking more about the solution to a problem than the actual problem itself.  Why, isn’t the solution to the problem what we ultimately wish to find?  For example, think back to a time that you encountered a problem and became obsessed with the problem.  Were you really thinking about an ultimate solution?

8. Planning

Mind mapping helps you with planning out a solution to a problem.  Therefore, for all the analytical individuals reading this blog post, know that mind mapping is not just an exercise in futility.  It is an opportunity for you to find real and concise solutions to your problems!

9. Studying

Since I work for education, I am an advocate for individuals to continually educate themselves.  Therefore, mind mapping is fluid; it is dynamic.  Therefore, we, as students of society, can continue to “study” the world around us and modify our actions and behaviors based upon predicted outcomes.

10. Memorization

I admit, I am not a person to memorize anything!  If you were to ask me to recite the alphabet, I would have to recall the song that goes along with the letters.  Mind mapping helps us with remembering what we need to do with respect to the big picture.  If, as a CEO of a company, you forget the big picture, you may be potentially creating the ultimate reality that you have been trying to avoid.

11. Re-imagining Creativity

Here is where I reach out to all the right-brained individuals.  By creating a mind map, you can continue to change and modify your creative mind.  In addition, you can build upon previous creative thought.  Thus, the ultimate in creating new creations!

12. Vision

Remember, as I mentioned earlier, that color theory is actually a field of study.  But remember that not all colors represent the same thing to you as the five senses of the next person.  For example, the color green may represent serenity and clam to me.  But the color green may represent anxiety in someone else.  Therefore, pick the colors that YOU find most representative of your feelings.

13. Clarity

Everyone loves clarity of thought.  Therefore, use the colors and words that best clarity your thought projections.  When developing a mind map, you never want to compromise the clarity of your thoughts especially when conveying those thoughts back to yourself.

14. Language

Lastly, do not limit yourself to the English language.  Just because you only know English does not mean that your mind does not think beyond the language that you speak.

In conclusion, I challenge you to create a mind map that incorporates both your analytical and creative thoughts into one image.  Remember that this image is your own.  It is YOUR mind map.  It is for your benefit.   Therefore, allow yourself to explore whatever “language” you wish.   As a reminder, do not forget that you want to create a graphical image of how your brain thinks.  As needed, make changes to your mind map and explore each and every creative and technical thought that you have.

Happy Mind Mapping!

The Right-Brained Revolution

by: Kenneth Cossin

Bring in the Industrial Revolution to the word, argued to have begun in the 17th or the 18th Centuries.  Loosely defined, the Industrial Revolution was a time when manual labor was being transformed into mechanically performed labor thus allowing easier production of goods.

Right Brain Function

Fast-forward to the 21st Century, and we begin to see the growth of, what I call, the “Right-brained Revolution.”  For all intents and purposes, the Right-brained Revolution (a.k.a. The Creative Mind) began with the advent of computer technology in the 1960s and 1970s.

Allow me to take a step back for a moment.  You may be asking yourself, “What about the left-brained individuals?”  I’m getting there!

Psychologists and counselors have developed many tools for us to determine which we use more, our right brain or our left brain.  One very interesting study is simply based upon answering a series of questions and then categorizing the answers into colors.  This test is called The Personality Color Types.

Gold and orange personalities dominate today’s world, and green and blue are very uncommon.  At this point I suggest you read about The Personality Color Types before continuing reading.

With the advent of the Industrial Age, we were forced to focus our minds on the qualities of gold and orange personalities.  Green and blue personalities did not serve as important of a purpose during this time.  I even believe that the gold and orange personalities played an integral part in the transformation of our world.

As we move into this new Era that I am calling The Right Brained Revolution, I am noticing that green and blue personalities are emerging as leaders.  “How can a creative mind be a leader?” you may ask.

It all comes down to the simplicity of creating complex projects.  Think about how easy it is to create whatever your mind can dream of on our computers simply by using the tools we have on our computers.  Crafting designs, creating music, developing Web sites, drawing, painting, creating games… these are all readily accessible to the right-brained, blue and green thinkers.

Thus, why I foresee a new Era called “The Right-brained Revolution” on the world’s horizon.

Why Nature is Marketing Inspiration

by: Kenneth Cossin

The other day, I decided I would drive home for lunch to save money and to let my dogs out for a midday bathroom break. I live about two miles from my place of employment, thus it is a quick drive.

by: Kenneth Cossin

I made a sandwich and went outside to eat on the porch swing while the dogs ran feverishly around the yard in excitement.  Suddenly, I spotted a gorgeous butterfly sunning itself on the lawn with its wings spread.  I was able to get close enough to capture a photo of it on my iPhone.  I was thrilled!

So, why is this event such an inspiration that it still stands out in my mind?  Well, when we least expect it, beautiful things will inspire beautiful ideas.  Being the creative-minded individual that I am, I always seek inspiration in the form of natural beauty.  It also doesn’t hurt that I am a nature,landscape, and architecture photographer at heart.

Thus, here is the challenge that I pose to my readers: take a moment to use your creative mind to find anything in your surroundings that you find inspiring.  Then leverage that inspiration to solve questions, problems, issues, and concerns in your daily marketing efforts.  I bet you, too, will find doing so to be successful.

3 Reasons Why I Believe Our Smartphone Browsers Will Become Obsolete

by: Kenneth Cossin

Over this past weekend, I was discussing the movie, “Alice in Wonderland” with my friends; the made-for-TV version from 1985 – not the latest Tim Burton 2010 version with Johnny Depp.  The conversation turned very interesting when we tried to remember any of the names of the actors in it.  Thus, I turned to my iPhone to search for the movie.

At first, I opened my browser and typed in, “Alice in Wonderland.”  Too many irrelevant (contextually speaking) results returned, because my browser didn’t know which one I wanted.  I quickly became frustrated, because I truly couldn’t remember more about the movie, much less what year it was made since over 25 years had passed.

Thus, I turned to my IMDb mobile application, and had the answers we were looking for in less than 30 seconds!  We were soon reminiscing about the movie, the actors, and where we were when the movie hit our TVs.

My point – mobile apps have made finding information, socializing on the Internet, and finding places, food, and entertainment quick and easy!

1. Mobile Web Sites Are Still not Fully Realized

Open your smartphone’s browser and type in any topic of your choosing.  Most likely, you will not find a mobile version of the Web site that you browse.  There are some exceptions, such as news, that have mobile versions.  Therefore, businesses, small, medium, and large, need to either consider a mobile version of their Web site and even a mobile app. Why both?  Because not all mobile phone owners have a smartphone to download apps.

2. Mobile Apps Provide an Optimized Experience

Whether we are trying to find a local restaurant or drugstore, wanting to share something on social media, or share a photo while on vacation, we turn to our mobile apps.  Some apps, such as the camera, video, and mapping (including GPS) are all built into the smartphone.  But we quickly turn to our other apps to get an optimized experience that only apps can provide.  Several great examples are, FacebookTwitterGoogle Earth, the AP WireThe Weather Channel,UrbanspoonYelp!FandangoShazamNetflixDropboxEvernote, and Foursquare just to name a few.

3. Smartphones Dominate the Mobile Phone Market

Simply put, the iPhone and Google dominate approximately 62% of the smartphone market.  Also market saturation now has the United States sitting at about 50% of all mobile phone consumers owning a smartphone.  With this level of growth and projections of worldwide smartphone ownership nearing 67% by year-end 2011, mobile browsing may continue to become passé.  More mobile users will continue to turn to their downloadable apps for instant ease for locating what they want.

11 Tips for a Great Video Résumé

by: Kenneth Cossin

For almost any employer, creating a video résumé is not the end-all be-all for applying for a job. But a video résumé can be a great way to showcase your portfolio of talents. Here are a few tips in creating this supplemental visual that can really make you stand out from the crowd.

  1. Maintain the length of your video from one to three minutes; much longer and you will have lost your chances.
  2. Dress appropriately for the camera.
  3. Use an eye-pleasing backdrop if you do not have access to a green screen.
  4. Make your background appropriate for the job that you are applying for. For example, a mountain landscape would be great for a Forest Ranger, but obviously not for a Public Relations Director.
  5. Be aware of ambient sound, especially outdoors. The audio should be your voice, that is, no airplanes flying overhead.
  6. Have a script prepared and practice it!
  7. Be sure to include not only voice-on-camera but also voice-over work while demonstrating your portfolio.
  8. Use both close-ups and mid-shots. What about long shots? – Not so much… This one is common sense.
  9. Have several friends and trusted working professionals look at your video before finalizing your post production.
  10. Hand out your video résumé during the interview if possible. Be mindful of the employer; some may wish to view it after you have left.
  11. Have fun! Enjoy the creation process. If you are stressed or “stiff” on camera, you will be perceived in that fashion by the viewer.
Below is a great example of a video résumé.  How do you think it could be better based on the 11 points I mentioned above?

I, too, was Born this Way…

by: Kenneth R. Cossin

Below is a YouTube video of young Ms. Maria Aragon singing Lady Gaga’s a cappella rendition of “I was Born this Way.”  I understand that this message is echoed across the world, yet we truly do not listen to the message.  Let us take a moment to listen to this young, talented lady sing the message from her heart.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Consumer Segmentation: A Contemporary-Historical Perspective

by: David S.B. Butler, PhD, Professor Internet Marketing Masters Degree Program, Full Sail University©

To be relevant and viable in a competitive market, products and services must satisfy the needs and or wants of consumers within a given

Graphic Credit: Mahmoud Reza Saremi DBA, MBA/MKT

geodemographic and cultural context.  Understanding how and why a promotional offer reinforces the needs and wants satisfied by a product or service is vital in the competitive online marketplace. Today, Internet marketers recognize that Intimate knowledge of a target audience facilitating consumer segmentation provides key information necessary to maximize online marketing efficiency and effectiveness.  Therefore, Internet marketers apply consumer information as qualifying information that clarifies and helps connect promotional content with specific consumer segments.  This process aims to match product attributes (and benefits) with online potential consumers that are most likely to benefit from (and be satisfied by) specific promotional offers.   Rather than assuming that the entire population of consumers accessing the Internet are viable potential customers, Internet marketers should be sure to recognize that only certain portions (segments) of the online population represent potential customers for the products or services they are promoting.

Online consumer segmentation is consistent with traditional segmentation approaches advocating the predictive value of consumer segments.  Internet marketers apply insights gained by collecting and analyzing online consumer behavior toward the formulation of promotional content.  This process is designed to predict consumer behavior relative to what is known about previous and current customers.  The predictive value of consumer segmentation manifests as promotional content is strategically aligned with subsets of consumers (within an overall target market) that are most receptive promotional content.

AN HISTORICAL OVERVIEW OF CONSUMER SEGMENTATION

The concept of segmentation emerged as a formal component of contemporary marketing practice in the 1950’s.  Wedel and Kamakura (2001) clarify that “Since the concept emerged in the late 1950’s, segmentation has been one of the most researched topics in marketing literature” (Wedel and Kamakura, 2001, p. xix).  Likewise, contemporary marketers report that segmentation represents an integral part of contemporary marketing practice.  It is currently recognized that “Market Segmentation is an essential element of marketing in industrialized countries.  Goods can no longer be produced and sold without considering customer needs and recognizing the heterogeneity of those needs” (Wedel and Kamakura, 2001, p. 3).

This increased literary focus has been predicated on a shift in marketing practice aligned with the diversification of industrial production (Wedel and Kamakura 2001).  During the early twentieth century as production efficiency became enhanced and product variation increased, the concept of market segmentation became a formal component of marketing practice “industrial development in various sectors of the economy induced strategies of mass production and marketing.  Those strategies were manufacturing oriented, focusing on reduction of production costs rather than satisfaction of consumers.  But as production processes became more flexible, and consumer affluence led to the diversification of demand, firms that identified the specific needs of groups of customers were able to develop the right offer for one or more sub-markets and thus obtained a competitive advantage” (Wedel and Kamakura, 2001, p. 3).

Chamberlin (1933) laid the foundation for the prioritization of the consumer over the producer by pointing to the significance of aligning products with the needs and wants of consumers.  Later in this decade, Robinson (1938) expanded this concept and formalized the economic theory of imperfect competition (Robinson 1938).   The work of these two scholars set the stage for Smith’s influential work in the 1950’s.  In 1956, he recognized “the existence of heterogeneity in the demand of goods and services, based on the economic theory of imperfect competition” (Wedel and Kamakura, 2000, p. 3) developed by Robinson in the late 1930’s (Robinson 1938).  Smith asserted that “Market segmentation involves viewing a heterogeneous market as a number of smaller homogeneous markets in response to differing preferences, attributable to the desires of consumers for more precise satisfaction of their varying wants” (Smith 1956 p 6).

Smith’s decisive article from 1956 asserted that “segments should be based on consumer/user wants and a company should be better able to serve these needs when it has defined some segments within a larger market” (Anna-Lena 2001).  Consumer segments were defined in Wind and Cardozo’s seminal article “Industrial Market Segmentation” (1974) as “a group of present and potential customers with some common characteristic (s) which is relevant in explaining (and predicting) their response to a supplier’s marketing stimuli” (Wind and Cardozo, 1974).  Therefore, consumer segments should clarify groups of current and previous consumers while serving as predictors identifying the most likely candidates for future consumers.  The predictive value of consumer segments should therefore have a profound impact on strategic Internet Marketing plans taking cognizance of matching promotional content with potential consumers.

This process undertaken to clarify the most receptive groups within a population with the most relevant messaging has been formalized in the literature as consumer segmentation  (Frank, Massy, Wind 1972, McDonald & Dunbar 2004, Anna-Lena 2001, Jiang and Tuzhilin 2006). In 1974, Wind and Cardozo recognized that consumer segmentation (referred to then as market segmentation) “involves appropriate grouping of individual customers into a manageable and efficient (in a cost/benefit sense) number of market segments, for each of which a different marketing strategy is feasible and likely profitable” (Wind and Cardozo 1974 p. 155). A host of marketers since have advocated establishing consumer segments as a means to more closely align products and services with targeted groups (2006 p. 307).  Therefore, the appropriate number of segments for a particular promotion are contextual and are determined based on the variation within a given population of potential and return customers.

The process of consumer segmentation rests on three primary assumptions: 1) the population of potential and return consumers is heterogeneous 2) heterogeneous groups have distinct characteristics that can be identified and analyzed 3) unique promotional content can cater to the varying needs, wants of consumers and perceived benefits of specific products and services.

Contemporary segmentation approaches recognize six primary criteria applied toward the evaluation of segmentation effectiveness (Kotler and Armstrong 2007, Wedel and Kamakura 2000, Anna-Lena 2001).  These criteria measure effectiveness by evaluating segment formation and profitability and assert that consumer segments should be: identifiable/measurable, substantial, accessible, stable actionable, and differentiable (Anna-Lena 2001 p. 5).

What we should be sure to glean from this overview of segmentation is that we are not the first generation of marketers to recognize the importance of presenting the right offer to the most receptive audience.  Therefore Internet Marketers must not to loose focus on who customers are and remember that just because our messaging CAN reach a global audience, this doesn’t mean that they are all interested in becoming a customer.  Remember to take a sequential, hierarchical approach (first suggested in marketing literature in the early 1970’s) that prioritizes defining your target market (i.e. apply geotargeting tactics to clarify where your audience located and remember to consider why do they need your product/service).  Also endeavor to clarify as many characteristics of your target audience as possible (who is your target audience and how can you describe variation within the overall group to establish consumer segments) and match product offers with the most relevant audience (i.e. match distinct consumer segments with specific promotional offers that satisfy their needs as a subset of consumers within your overall target audience).

REFERENCES

Anna-Lena M. (2001). Industrial Segmentation: A Review. Retrieved July 24, 2009, from the Åbo Akademi School of Business Web Site:

Click to access memostencil208.pdf

Cardozo, R. N. 1974. Situational Segmentation of Industrial Markets. European Journal of Marketing, 14(5/6), 264-276.

Chamberlin E. (1933). Theory of Monopolistic Competition. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.

Frank R., Massy W., Wind Y. (1972). Market Segmentation. Englewood Cliffs, Prentice-Hall.

Jiang, T. and Tuzhilin, A. (2006). Improving Personalization Solutions through Optimal Segmentation of Customer Bases. Data Mining, December 2006, 307-318. doi: 10.1109/ICDM.2006.87

Kotler, P. & Arsmstrong, G. (2007). Why do we Study Buying Behavior in Marketing? In Kotler P. & Armstrong G., Principles of Marketing (pp. 94-127). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.  from PrinciplesofMarketing.com Web site: http://www.principlesofmarketing.com/htm/Chapter-Four.htm

McDonald M., Dunbar I. (2004) Market Segmentation: how to do it, how to profit from it. Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann Linacre House.

Robinson H.W. (1938). The Equilibrium Price in a Perfect Inter-Temporal Market,

Econometrica, 6(1), 48-62.

Smith, W. (1956). Product Differentiation and Market Segmentation as Alternative Marketing Strategies. Journal of Marketing, 21(1), 3-8.

Wedel, Michel and Wagner A. Kamakura (2000) Market Segmentation: Conceptual Methodological Foundations, Second Edition. Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Wind, Y. and Cardozo, R.N.. Industrial Market Segmentation. Industrial Marketing Management, 3. 153-166.

5 Useful Tips on Developing Social Media Conversations with Your Customers

by: Kenneth Cossin

As marketers, we have heard so much about how social media allows us to rapidly build our brand, get the word out regarding our products and services, target different demographics, and optimize consumer engagement. Yet we need to take social marketing to the next level.

Thus, I pose the question: Is your company simply using social media channels to create an online marketing presence, or is it creating social media conversations with your customers?

For example, as a professor at Full Sail University, my students are my customers. I use many different social media channels to get each student to “buy into” my courses. I develop student engagement, but then I also intentionally develop a professional relationship with each individual student. By doing so, each student gains a sense of personal investment in my courses.

Here are my five tips for creating social media conversations with your customers:

1. Your attention, please! Gaining our customer’s attention is pretty simple for us marketers. It is something that we have been doing since before the days of social media. Thus, continue to bring attention to your brand and develop your brand story through your social media channels.

2. Get your customers to opt in. Remember, everyone loves a good story. Therefore, the better your brand tells your business story, the more customers you will get to opt in. Once you have an engaged consumer, it is imperative that you learn what attracted him/her to your business. Traditional marketing methods of gathering metrics on your customers remain important. And with social media, you can discover why a customer is choosing you.

3. Determine your customers’ individuality. Find unique ways to get your customers to tell you how they found you. What about your customers makes them choose you? How are you fulfilling their unique wants and needs? What incentives do you provide to keep your customers engaged?

4. Focus on conversation. Typically, businesses will ask customers a series of questions through the use of impersonal surveys, questionnaires, or cold calls. At this point, many marketers usually stop. With social media, you cannot stop here. You must follow through and build a personal conversation by leveraging social media in new and unique ways. So what are we to do?

5. Develop interaction. Through the use of social media interaction, periodically make intentional contact with your customers. Remember to treat your customer as you would a good friend. We do things for our friends because we care about them; thus, demonstrate to your customers who connect with you through social media that you care about them. Communicate with them. Give them the service they deserve: prompt responses, incentives, and other cool offers. You will receive in return the continued trust and loyalty you need and desire to grow your business.

Reposted via permission of Social Media Marketing Magazine dated 11 January 2011.

Marketer and Businessman, C.C. Chapman Visits Full Sail University

by: Kenneth Cossin

I had the pleasure of meeting and listening to a fantastic Businessman and Internet Marketer, Mr. C.C. Chapman guest speak at our school, Full Sail University©.  He willingly shared his knowledge on the best ways to correctly leverage social media tools and to learn more about being an entrepreneur.  Many thanks go out to the entire Internet Marketing program at our university for coordinating such a complex effort!

C.C. shared his unique perspectives on writing great content, creative thinking, and how to consult for high-profile clients such as the Discovery Channel where he helped develop a fascinating campaign to market the show, “Shark Week.”  He also talked about his book, “Content Rules” that discusses Killer blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, and Webinars.  It also talks about how to better engage your customers to truly add that human connection.  C.C. was kind enough to blog about his experience in visiting our university entitled, “The Full Sail Experience.”

Since the event venue was only able to hold up to 150 people, we also had a live stream of the event.  The live stream peaked at about 300 viewers making this event one of our most successful.  Please watch the LIVE STREAM here!

 

How to Appreciate the Seasons of Florida

by: Kenneth Cossin

Upon awakening this morning and taking the dogs out for a walk here in Winter Park, Florida, I realized the “chill” in the air.  I use the word, “chill,” loosely when I speak of October weather in Florida.

by: Kenneth Cossin

I was quickly reminded that Florida seasons may not be in the trees, but Florida seasons are definitely in the skies.  The sun moves further north, the cloud patterns change from the high cumulus summer rain clouds to the wispy stratus type that reflect and disburse the Florida sunlight into an illumination sensation.

So, next time you are driving, walking, or simply enjoying the outdoors, remember to look up at the sky.  It’s guaranteed to marvel.