IdeaMensch asks David Allen Ibsen: "How do you bring ideas to life?"


The fine folks at IdeaMensch just posted an interview with me. This is a reposting:

David Allen Ibsen is CEO and founder of business marketing consultancy 5 MEETINGS BEFORE LUNCH and curates the Webby Award-winning blog 5 BLOGS BEFORE LUNCH. David’s marketing career has spanned over 25 years, working with such iconic brands as Lexus, Microsoft, Hyundai, Xerox and Cristal Champagne. His consultancy has been a trusted advisor to nearly 70 established brands and emerging companies, helping them solve strategic problems and accelerating change.

What are you working on right now?
I am working with several companies to identify and articulate their brand and culture. Their goals (like most companies) are to increase acquisition, and retention, and advocacy; but it all starts with understanding a company’s core DNA. A company’s DNA is hard to find, but is always there, and is always in action. I call this finding a company’s “soul.” Once we uncover a company’s soul we can find the best way to deliver a clear positioning and messaging in the marketplace.

3 trends that excite you?
1). I am so happy to see consumers becoming more sophisticated in their understanding, and participation in marketing.

2). The return of “the brand.” There seems to be a resurgence in understanding the importance of brand strategy.

3). And, of course, social marketing. It provides immediate feedback, and direct interaction with consumers.

How do you bring ideas to life?
The creative spark of an idea can happen anywhere–usually when you don’t expect it, and while you’re not trying too hard. Bringing an idea to life is like capturing lightening in a bottle. You need to capture it, show off its power and advocate for its value.

When an idea pops in your head, write it down. Then socialize it, so it can be built-upon. Don’t worry about “ownership” of a great idea. Egoless innovation is the most powerful because it is more easily viral. Then create a story around it. It helps comprehension and viral activity.

What’s one mistake you made, and what did you learn from it?
The biggest mistake I ever make is when I don’t speak my mind—my truth. As a consultant, it is what my clients pay for, and when I don’t deliver my unvarnished point of view, I fail them, and me. Expect me to speak my mind.

What’s one business idea that you are willing to give away to our readers?
Know your soul. Understand who you are as an individual, and as a company. Because even if you don’t understand your DNA, others see it, and your personal or professional brand reputation is defined by it.

What’s one book and one tool that helps you bring ideas to life?

I don’t find traditional “How to” business books helpful. I think Po Bronson and Malcolm Gladwell are great storytellers, and inspirations. As for idea tools? Go outside. Take a long walk in the woods, or on the beach, or even in a concrete jungle. The exercise will stimulate your endorphins and free your mind.

How do you find your soul?
The best way to identify your company (or personal) DNA is to ask three questions:

1). What do you think is the reason you do what you do? (i.e. your key motivating factor)

2). Why do think your customers like what you do?

3). Ask your customers what it is they like about you most. The key to unlock your soul is somewhere in this conversation.

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