Carla Johnson, Type A Communications
In this episode, I’m really excited to welcome to the InnovaBuzz podcast as my guest, Carla Johnson, a Global Keynote Speaker, Best-Selling Author, and Storyteller. Carla has helped many businesses leverage the art of storytelling to inspire action. The latest of her seven books, Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing, sets the benchmark for a new era in marketing.
In our discussion, Carla talked to me about
- frameworks, structure and context around ideas and innovation
- using stories and metaphors in marketing and in selling your ideas to your organisation or your clients
- shared a great example of using an experience from a totally different context in your own work – based on a Barbie Doll video
Andrew Davis on episode 129 introduced us to Carla.
Listen to the Podcast
Show Notes from this episode with Carla Johnson of Type A Communications
Key points and take-aways from this episode include:
- Sometimes when you just follow what makes you happy, you end up in a really great space.
- Stories are what creates the experience for people.
- People are able to observe things that are going on in different parts of their life. They distill that into seeing the patterns and understanding the essence of why that actually works and relating that essence into the work that they do. That is how they start to generate ideas.
- Innovative companies are the ones that understand that it is the culmination of consistent little steps throughout the whole organisation that really makes you innovative.
- The ability to observe what is going on in the world around you, distilling that into patterns and relating that into your own company in a way that makes sense, make your idea not so crazy because you have rooted it from something that in general, anybody else in life can experience.
- Telling that story through a pitch that brings people along in the idea journey, takes out the feeling that it is a risky idea. When people can get a context for an idea and the story that you tell for a new idea, that makes it feel less scary.
- Values are not just what you are like when you are at your desk at work. It is what you are like as a person and what you believe.
- Even the best of ideas can get killed with bad pitches.
- People can be taught to think more creatively and be more innovative. You just need to practice it, so like anything you learn, you will feel more confident and more skilled at it.
- People want to do great work and people want to do work that excites them. When they see a process and a framework that they can use, they feel more empowered, passionate, confident and most importantly, they feel courageous.
The Buzz – Our Innovation Round
Here are Carla’s answers to the questions of our Innovation round. Listen to the interview to get the full scoop.
- #1 thing to be more innovative – Practice. With anything that we do, the more we do it, the better we get at it.
- Best thing for new ideas – Travel. Exposing ourselves to situations, people, culture, food and ideas that are very different from our own really helps us see that there are so many opportunities for great ideas out there.
- Favourite tool for innovation – Agile methodology. Kanban Board and Pomodoro.
- Keep project / client on track – Communication. Don’t assume. Even not having an update is something that you need to communicate to a client or to anybody in the team. We need to be more clear and precise in our communication.
- Differentiate – Understand what it is that you stand for. Even if you are selling something that everybody on your same business street sells, if you are able to differentiate yourself through the story you tell, you will stand out.
To Be a Leader
Ask. Have face to face meetings with your customers and ask them questions. Ask them if you could be part of their day. Ask other people who are your counsellors, your trusted advisers what are the things you need to know that you are not seeing. So many times we make assumptions that we know everything and we become blind to what we don’t know. To be customer oriented and centred, you actually have to spend face to face time with your customers.
Carla suggested I interview Soon Yu, best selling author of the book “Iconic Advantage”. So Soon, keep an eye on your inbox, for an invitation from us to the InnovaBuzz podcast, courtesy of Carla Johnson.
Cool things about Carla:
- She was recently awarded the 2018 Business Marketer of the Year Award by the Business Marketing Association.
- She has been named one of the top 50 women in marketing, one of the top 10 influencers in B2B marketing, and consistently a top influencer in content marketing.
- She serves as the Chair of the Board of Advisers for the Business Marketing Association.