Clients had problems, Brian had solutions

Acronym Power
Branding Variety Show
Country Singers Fannie & Freddie
Hand Puppets
Noggin’ Floggin’
VisionCenter News

Acronym Power

The client’s problem: Getting employees to memorize and be motivated by EIGHT brand attribute adjectives

The Extreme solution: Transform the attributes into an acronym and give bribes to employees

A statewide credit union was rebranding itself. Along with a new name and logo, they identified eight key adjectives as essential brand attributes. Management knew it was vital for employees to fully understand and endorse these attributes.

Distressingly however, even the VP of Marketing was having a tough time remembering the eight words. He called Brian.

Acronym Power winner says "Show me the money!"

Acronym Power winner says "Show me the money!"

For the big all hands rally to introduce the new brand, Brian created and conducted an audience participation exercise called Acronym Power.

The exercise began with Brian explaining the importance of brand attributes and how, if fully embraced, they contribute directly to performance, job satisfaction and making more money. He then stated that this living-the-brand success was summed up in one word:  SAFETRID. He had the somewhat puzzled crowd repeat the word out loud:  SAFETRID.

Brian then revealed how SAFETRID was an easily memorized acronym: Simple, Affordable, Fun, Efficient, Trusted, Respected, Involved, Dependable.

Next Brian held up a $20 bill and declared that it would be given to the first person to stand and recite the eight attributes aloud. While the first contestant stumbled (and received half of a torn-in-half bill for his trouble), each subsequent volunteer performed flawlessly.

SAFETRID Prize Winner

Excited SAFETRID prize winner celebrates

At this point, nearly everyone could rattle off all the attributes in order.  But Brian ensured it wouldn’t be a one-shot experience.

He announced the “Attribute Quiz” program.  Every Tuesday, a manager from HR would randomly call the branches.  Whomever answered would be asked “What are our eight brand attributes?”  If they answered it correctly, they would instantly win $20.

This simple, extremely inexpensive program ensured almost everyone in the branches memorized the brand attributes. Years later, SAFETRID still works to help new employees learn what makes their credit union unique. Discover how Brian’s unique exercises and custom game shows can instantly engage your meeting audiences.

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Branding Variety Show

The client’s problem: A national bank needed 42,000 employees to learn and fully endorse a new 7-word brand promise and 5 brand attributes. This message had to be delivered at 51 larges rallies across the United States.

A wow moment from a Brand Rally

A wow moment from a Brand Rally

The Extreme solution: A brand rally like no other

Parody rock songs got the crowd clapping, screaming and singing along. From the first seconds it was clear that this was something special – an Extreme Meeting.

A game show called Who Wants to be a Bankeraire, complete with a Regis Pihlbin impersonator quizzing audience members on the new brand. A contest where audience members were phoned during the meeting and asked about brand attributes. Poem Choreography:  Senior executives on stage performing quick humorous sound effects when cued by key words in a customized brand poem. A brand jingle that had the entire audience on its feet, doing YMCA-like dance moves while singing along.

The statistical results?

  • 96% said they learned about the brand promise and attributes
  • 95% of attendees said they had fun at the brand rallies
  • 93% would recommend other employees attend future rallies

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Country Singers Fannie & Freddie

The client’s problem: In a dismal housing market, how could Windermere motivate their Real Estate Agents and Owners during their annual national summit?

The Extreme Solution: Name the pain with music

Fannie and Freddie

Fannie and Freddie, the Real Estate Country Duo

Extreme Meetings provided an “exclusive” appearance by Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, the only Real Estate Country duo in existence. Their musical keynote sang the praises of the hard-working Windermere agents, and humorously took on the gloom-spouting media, part-time competitors and unprecedented economic conditions.

Results testimonial: “This was a tough year, and we wanted to make sure EVERYBODY knew we understood their pain and left inspired and energized to overcome the challenges of 2009. Extreme Meetings NAILED our issues head on. Fannie and Freddy provided the catharsis we needed, and left us pumped to come home and get to work!”

“Our people are still talking about it. I’d recommend Extreme Meetings to anyone who wants their audience to buy in and say ‘Corporate GETS it!’

Jan Edmondson, Chief Marketing Officer Windermere Real Estate

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Hand Puppets

The client’s problem: Acknowledging and venting corporate communications executives’ extreme frustration with their internal legal departments

The Extreme Solution: Hand puppets

The Council of Communication Management is a national organization of senior communications leaders. At their annual meeting, they wanted to humorously but directly address a huge pain point for many of the members:  having to pass the documents they write through their internal legal departments.

Friction comes from the perception that corporate lawyers consider it their job to remove any clear communication, since that might actually result in setting expectations or assigning authority.  (Can’t have that.)  Also, it appears that most of them are frustrated writers. They mark-up the documents with all sorts of recommended changes, most of which have nothing at all to do with legal requirements.

Hand puppets

Hand puppets work out internal frustrations

In short:  Arrggghh.

Brian used infotainment to bring this thorny issue out in the open.  The goal was to laugh at it and thereby lower some of the attendant frustration, Brian and his colleague put on hand puppets.

One puppet was “Connie the Communicator.”  The other was “Larry the Lawyer.” Each puppet spoke the truth, from their point of view. A small sample:

  • Larry: I have a concern about the group picture at the company picnic. Did you get signed releases from everyone in the shot?
  • Connie: Are you insane? There were 5,000 employees! The picture was taken from a helicopter. You can’t even see their faces. This isn’t practical.
  • Larry: It is, however, legally prudent.

The laughter erupted with the very first line. By the time Connie ends up viciously attacking Larry and throwing him unceremoniously off the stage, the crowd is roaring in approval as they vicariously live out a favorite fantasy. Catharsis!

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Noggin’ Floggin’

The client’s problem: Driving home a key strategic message to Costco’s Food Division Buyers

The Extreme Solution: Literally pounding the message into their heads

Brian created yet another great new game show format, appropriately named Noggin’ Floggin’. It started with senior buyers and managers being unexpectedly called up on stage as contestants. (Rank and file employees always derive a bit of pleasure seeing the senior execs put on the spot in front of a crowd.)

Noggin Floggin

Brian pounds a message into these brave noggins

Each senior manager donned a hard hat topped with a red flashing light that was connected by wire to an LCD display unit hung across his or her chest. Next, assistant buyers were coaxed on stage to form teams. Each team member was given a padded mallet. (This is where “the floggin’ comes in.)

Teams “chimed in” by smacking the lead manager on the hard hat, triggering a cheesy sound effect and temporarily “locking out” the other contestants. The electronic costumes were so sophisticated that the scores (shown on the LCDs) were adjusted by remote control, up or down, according to how well the teams answered the host’s questions.

The audience immediately got into the spirit of the game and cheered loudly for their favorites. Of course, central to the game were questions and answers that described and reinforced the new strategic message.

Brian, as the customized game show host, unflinchingly proclaimed to the audience, “We’re going to take this new strategy, and literally pound it into your heads!” Exactly management’s goal, achieved spectacularly through humor.

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VisionCenter News

The client’s problem: Informing employees of company achievements while installing pride and communicating a future focus… quickly

The Extreme Solution: “PB VisionCenter” news show

PB VisionCenter news anchors

VisionCenter news anchors humorously share company achievements

Pitney Bowes was holding a series of All Hands “One Forum” meetings across the country. They already were retaining Brian’s services to provide audience interaction exercises, an original game show, and parody rock songs about the company. That… was all fine.

The new challenge was to somehow “work in” several dozen specific PB achievements in a way that would instill pride in the company. Yet PB leadership didn’t just want to have a backward focus. They wanted to provide commentary on where the company was headed. The One Forum agenda was already full. What to do?

Brian and his Extreme Team members wrote, produced and acted in a mock cable-style newscast. The three highly targeted, fast-moving videos were played between executive presentations. Each focused on a different part of the story: performance accomplishments, updated value proposition and a business “forecast” that used weather terminology to humorously and effectively communicate company direction and expectations. Those not at the One Forums were able to see the videos, so the messaging reached nearly all employees in North America. The humorous and relevant approach kept them mentally engaged throughout all of the newscasts.

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Amy Petri
Director of Marketing & Communications, Sellen Construction

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