Finally, I don't have to explain to my French-speaking friends what the word "schmoozing" means! :)
Well, at least I can from now on refer them to an article that appeared in this week's edition of Références, a Belgian weekly for employment seekers and career-focused individuals.
The article focuses on the kind of "schmoozing" (particularly, its online variety) one does to find a job. For me personally, and of course, for SCHMOOZY FOX as a company, this word has a broader meaning.
Ladies and gentlemen, schmoozing is HIGH POWER NETWORKING. The kind that involves co-operating, building relationships and closing win-win deals.
All of this with the objective of enhancing the client's product or service brand.
In my brand strategy work, schmoozing capabilities come in very handy when assessing my clients' potential and spotting opportunities for brand partnerships, brand endorsements and co-branding.
So, from now on, vive le schmoozing!
Source: Schmoozing: mode d"emploi(s) by Rafal Naczyk in Références, 19.02.11
I’ve already written on the importance of finding and exploring your own space to trigger creativity which is so important while building Funky Brands. I’ve also written about some of the creative spaces used by Funky Brands to express themselves and connect to people.
The notion of creative space is very important for the concept of Funky Brands, and in this short post I would like to share with you a very good slide show that was published by Inc.com.
Enjoy it and get inspired for giving your brand the right medium for funky self-expression!
As the article states, many still underestimate good schmoozing, and the big role it plays in building and cementing business relationships. The best schmoozing is done when you don't only meet people who can be helpful to you, but also simply help others connect to like-minded people. Even if you won't benefit directly from this kind of "business matchmaking", you'll build a good reputation as a resourceful person.
What's important about good schmoozing is that it's a great tool to create a powerful network. As the BNET article rightly states, the power of your network is not in the numbers of your Twitter followers or Facebook fans. It's in the strength of your relationships with maybe 5 or 10 people with whom you have built good business relationships and whom you can trust.
Being myself a very schmoozy person (hence the name SCHMOOZY FOX), I've made the art of schmoozing a key characteristic of how I do business. When working on branding projects for clients, I can tap into my valuable network and put together ad hoc teams of top-notch industry experts, business economists, design gurus and web guys -- all able to contribute to building your Funky Brand.
Where do good ideas come from? Is it possible to create the right environment that triggers creativity? In what kinds of spaces do we need to be in order to think creatively?
These are the questions that Stephen Johnson, a writer and speaker, raised in his presentation Where good ideas come from, published on TED:
These are also the kinds of questions that went through my head this morning, when I detached myself from the computer and decided to go jogging in the park. Just 15 minutes into my brisk jogging, I had a couple of fantastic ideas. After 30 minutes, I felt like a creativity machine in action.
Funky Brands are often born from a combination of business strategy and creativity. To ensure the first, you ought to have the right education, experience and skills. To address the latter, you can seek environments that can boost your creativity.
In this video, Stephen Johnson gives an example of a coffee house as an environment that sparks ideas. It's an informal space where people can connect. For me it's both schmoozing at a coffee house and running in the park that unlock my creative potential.
For you, these spaces and environments may be totally different. The key is to understand what works best for you, and explore different environments and activities that allow you to think creately.
Google is famous for encouraging its employees to spend 20% of their time exploring new ideas within its Innovation Time Off approach, and creating informal office spaces at Googleplex that boost new ideas.
If you want to build a Funky Brand, it's crucial that you explore and embrace all those funky spaces that fuel creativity.
This morning, a friend sent me a link to a blog post by Guy Kawasaki, The Art of Schmoozing, written in February 2006. That was the year when truly yours was involved in a schmoozing project on a large scale, as I was doing my MBA, putting an infinite amount of case studies and business principles in my head, and, importantly, making contacts with intelligent and fun people. MBA programs are famous for their schmoozing opportunities.
And here you go, even though I didn't read The Art of Schmoozing back in 2006, somehow its main points managed to reach me magically, to the extent that the name of this blog, and respectively, my brand strategy consulting, is called SCHMOOZY FOX.
It's not a pure coincidence. When I came up with the name SCHMOOZY FOX, I of course fully realized the fact that I was good at schmoozing, and that I could share some of my talents by helping companies build businesses and brands in aschmoozy (=co-operating, building relationships, looking for win-win deals) way.
"Schmoozing" is a word you'd hear most if you live in the US, so perhaps that article by Guy Kawasaki will help my non-American readers understand this term if they are not familiar with it, and importantly, use the following principles listed in the original article to enhance their business (and personal) lives:
understand the goal
ask good questions, then shut up
unveil your passions
make it easy to get in touch
ask for the return of favors
Also, this short video will give you a good perspective on schmoozing:
If you think that these principles are good only for individuals, you're mistaken. They are equally applicable to brands and businesses, especially those of the funky kind. It's only by being open to opportunities (“get out”), reaching out to your customers in an intelligent way (“ask good questions, then shut up”), loving the business you are building (“unveil your passions”) and respecting your suppliers and other business partners (“give favors” and “ask for the return of favors”) that you maximize your chances to build a funky brand!