February was a very interesting month. I love living in “interesting times”. I know it’s a famous curse (“may you live in interesting times”) but for me “interesting” is what gets the juices flowing. Here are a few highlights:





March is a full month with me bouncing from coast to coast on a number of new projects!

"You don’t need strength to let go of something, you need understanding." – Guy Finley

A major stumbling block facing a new idea is never the excitement it creates, but the difficulty understanding its impact. We have difficulty seeing a new way of doing something for the simple reason we “frame” our view of the future by our past experiences. If our experiences are limited (and they often are), our view of the impact of an idea is limited. There's nothing really “wrong” with that if you think about it. Our experiences have put us here, they have guided our understanding. The problem is when we have experiences to build hard frames that keep us pinned to a very limited understanding of a world changing at a pace unheard of in human history. Then, the frame builds a prison.

Think of it from a business perspective. You are in the manufacturing industry. Your company makes ball bearings and you are really good at it. You have done this for the past eight years. During this time you have built a frame of understanding around the ball bearing industry and more than likely that understanding has been all-encompassing. This limiting immersion has built a strong frame around ball bearings and more than likely has not expanded much in those eight years. Now you are faced with a challenge of becoming the # 1 producer of ball bearings in your industry. Does your past framework help or hinder the process? Are there manufacturing ideas in the candy or tire industry that can provide ideas that will move you forward in your journey? How about retail sales? Can the retail world give you ideas that help you build a center of influence in the world of ball bearings? The answer is a resounding YES, if you’ll look.

GEICO, the ubiquitous insurance company, expanded their “frame” by adopting an idea from short run manufacturing and applying it to their advertising strategy. Nimble manufacturing companies can often shift from long production runs to smaller runs, building small custom batches of product. GEICO produced a series of micro advertising campaigns and ran them simultaneously. The gecko, the cavemen, the celebrity endorsers, the stack of money with the eye glasses are all customized short runs! GEICO went outside the frame and hit a home run.

I began work on a large project for a chemical company and was sharing the project idea with another client, who asked me what experience I had within the chemical industry. I said “none.” He asked me why anyone in the chemical industry would hire me. “Framing”, I answered. “I can frame their project in a much larger universe than they can. My diverse clientele allows me to filter ideas through a gigantic frame and create a new value level approach.” Expanded framing has created the success of my Repeatable Successful Acts (RSA) platform. I studied the sales behaviors of million dollar producers from five separate industries, five different frames to find the patterns that can break traditional barriers and create successful sales plans from strategies already IN PLAY.

Here is a simple plan to expand your frame, to go outside your familiar playground, to find inspiration in a completely new world:

It's time to stretch your FRAME of reference. As Ellis Paul says, “the world ain't slowing down for no one!” Expand your frame to give you a new reality.


Super Bowl Advertising: This year’s Super Bowl became the most-watched show in television history, replacing the final episode of M*A*S*H from the throne it had sat upon for 27 years. With this anticipated viewership CBS was able to sell 30-second ad spots for about $2.8 million each. This year saw what may be a major shift in the traditional model of advertising, as “user-generated” ads from both Doritos and CareerBuilder topped many of the “best commercial” polls. The idea of open sourcing your advertising may increase the creative equity of an open market.

The Dalai Lama & Twitter: During His Holiness’ recent trip to the United States, Twitter founder Evan Williams approached him to set up a Twitter account. He laughed. But when Williams explained the reach he could have, lo and behold, he set up an account, @dalailama. Now there have been fake Dalai Lama accounts in the past, but according to Williams and the LA Times, this is legitimate. He already has 120,000 followers. Not a bad day for Twitter, as they also announced they are now averaging 50 million postings a day.

Radio Shack = The Shack: Rebranding can be a dangerous thing, especially for an 88 year-old company, but the gang at Radio Shack took the plunge and changed their name to The Shack. In addition they made a huge commitment to mobile technology, developing relationships with T-Mobile and the Apple iPhone. The early results are impressive, profits for 2009 were up 9% and same store sales (a key indicator) were up 6.1%. Branding is about identity, and a clear and committed focus in this foundational area is a telling sign of success!


Interested in these ideas?


You can contact Steve at steve@creativeventures.com or give him a call at 972-490-7717.
See more at creativeventures.com and stephenharvill.com