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Stories From Smaller Nonprofits: Wello WaterWheel


Stars As 2010, wraps up, so does Diva Marketing's Stories From Smaller Nonprofit Series. This was the second year we had the privilege of providing opportunities for lesser known not for profits to tell their stories .. in their own way. In keeping with Diva Marketing's focus to help people understand how to better use social media, each nonprofit also kindly shared their social media experiences and lessons learned. 

A popular line from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner sets the stage for our last story. Water water everywhere nor any drop to drink. An invention, that is as as simple but as brilliant as the wheel, is about to help people in rural poverty areas bring water to their homes. Not only will the Wello WaterWheel make life easier but it's impact will change culture. Powerful. 

The Story of Wello WaterWheel is told by Seanwood1 Sean Wood. Sean is the founder of Freeworld Media in Atlanta. Freeworld is a social media boutique with an advanced perspective on how consumer marketing connects with science and art for measurable social business results."

You’ve probably seen pictures of women carrying 5 gallon buckets of water on their heads from distant water sources back to their homes.  This image is an everyday reality for people around the world that live in developing areas of Africa, India and other regions where water is hard to find. 

Access to clean water is one of the biggest global issues of the 21st century and moving water from the closest water source can take up much of the day. When women and children carry water buckets on their heads, it often leads to serious neck and spinal injuries

I met Cynthia Koenig, founder of Wello, a couple of years ago after she had worked in rural South Africa on water issues like access, sanitation and transportation.  When she returned to the US, Cynthia created the international non-profit group called the Wello WaterWheel to improve water transportation. (Photo of Cynthia Koenig)Cynthia Koenig

This simple barrel-like device helps people in developing countries transport 20 gallons of water at a time.  Because the Wello shortens the amount of time needed to transport water, it allows more time for education, which has a positive impact on the lives people, their families and their communities. 

After the Wello pilot program launched this summer in the Indian state of Rajasthan, a local 45-year old woman said ..

  • "There's a lot of daily work I have to do and with extra time [that the WaterWheel would provide], I could have more cattle because I'd have time to take care of them. This would increase my income. Also, with more time and increased livestock, young girls can go to school."

 As a social business, Freeworld Media donates 10% of our resources to support global causes as part of our social responsibility.  We created and executed digital marketing initiatives for Wello that raised funds and promoted the project around the world.  Most recently, it was featured at the 2010 Clinton Global Initiative.

Social Media Does Social Good

Wello Wheel
 2010 has been an active year for strategic planning, rebranding, creating manufacturing and distribution networks, and working on a sustainable business model. 

Wello completed a rebranding in September… and thanks to social media channels like Twitter and Facebook, the transition was seamless. We were able to keep the public abreast of the changes taking place with the venture, and as a result, most people have responded to our new look with "great new name" instead of "what's Wello?”


This was a huge advantage, since it enabled our small team to stay focused on day-to-day operations and on laying the groundwork for our 2011 pilot in India.” Cynthia Koenig

 The social media plan for 2011 includes streamlining social media to produce more consistent content through blogs, video networks and encourage conversations on Facebook and Twitter. The Wello WaterWheel can make a tremendous impact in the developing world and to help offset production costs, Wello seeks corporate sponsors and private donors.  

Wello logo


Learn more about the Wello WaterWheel Website Twitter Facebook YouTube


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Thanks to Taylor's Tale for the use of the Magical Stars. 

Stories From Smaller Nonprofits: Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative


Stars This December the winds blew colder than usual and for many their winter wonderland turned life into a world of isolation. For nonprofits, who depend on the kindness of strangers, this year especially, with the challenges of the economy it seemed to feel as thought they were fighting the battle for their cause alone.

During this month Diva Marketing is shining the light on a few smaller nonprofits. It is our hope that stories you read will inspire you to help in ways that fit with your life .. be it a donation, an hour of volunteer time, a Facebook status update or an extra tweet.

The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative is as unique and personal as its name. Alzheimer's can impact the lives of its victims and their families in much the same way as the winter blizzards can wrap you in isolation and fear. However, through the works created by Ami Simms and a group of gifted quilters there is hope and warmth.

The story of the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative is told by it's founder Ami Simms.

I am a quilter. I founded Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative in the midst of my mother's 7-year struggle with Alzheimer's disease because I had to do something. I don't know how to cure disease, but I do know how
Mom&Ami to quilt.  I have a voice in the quilting community and I thought this was the time to open my mouth. Photo of Ami and her Mom. 

More than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer's, a neurodegenerative disease that destroys brain cells. With cell death come memory loss and cognitive decline. Alzheimer's isn't forgetting where you went on vacation in 1997, it’s the gradual loss of every memory you ever had, every skill you ever learned, and every relationship you ever held dear. You lose yourself, bit by bit. So far, there are no survivors.

The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) is a grassroots, Internet-based effort to raise awareness and fund research through art. We sponsor a nationally touring exhibit of quilts about Alzheimer's called Alzheimer's Illustrated: From Heartbreak to Hope. Fifty-three small format art quilts explore the disease from a variety of perspectives. They are shown with 182 "Name Quilts," each a 6-inch by 7-foot quilted panel of names of people who have/had Alzheimer's or a related dementia. There are more than 10,000 names in all, written by family members and friends.

The AAQI sells and auctions donated quilts, more than 6,100 so far. The Priority: Alzheimer's Quilt project offers a way for quilters to grieve the loss of a loved one with needle and thread. Those who can't thread a needle can open their wallets to honor their efforts and fund research. (See our Quilts For Sale page.) 

Since 2006, our all-volunteer charity has raised nearly $500,000 for Alzheimer's research, one quilt at a time. The Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative auctions small quilts the first 10 days of every month. Please visit us to see the quilts in the January auction and to participate in the online auction. AGI _ umbrella of hope  

Social Media Does Social Good

The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative does not maintain a traditional "donor list" of names and street addresses. Instead, we rely on virtual "word of mouth."

1. Every donated quilt gets its own web page that includes a photograph of the quilt, information about the quilt, and a place for a dedication if the artist wishes. Donors are encouraged to email, blog, facebook, and tweet when their quilt is up for auction or available on our web site to purchase. We facebook and tweet the number of every quilt sold.

2. All news about the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative is disseminated via email, facebook, and/or RSS feed to our AAQIUpdate blog. Donations are accepted through our website and through 3,000-member facebook causes page. We are listed and reviewed in GreatNonprofits.com 

3. Supporters help us by placing our logo (linked back to our home page) on their blogs and web pages. 

The Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative auctions small quilts the first 10 days of every month. Please visit us to see the quilts in the January auction and to participate in the online auction.  

AQI Logo Learn More About Alzeheimer's Art Quilt Initiative

Blog  Facebook Twitter Website Auction


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Social Media Creates Customer/Brand "Miracle" Partnerships


On this Xmas morning after the presents are opened, while the goose is roasting (does anyone really make a goose?) and the sugar surge has just begun .. settle back and enjoy a holiday story of a time long ago. It's about a magical shoppe where there was ..

  • "No high pressuring and forcing the customer to take something he doesn't want. We'll be known as the helpful store. The friendly store. The store with a heart. The store that places public service ahead of profit. The plan sounds idiotic and impossible...consequently, we'll make more profit than ever before."

Miracle on 34th streetNo, it's not a new social media customer service strategy. It was an innovative sales program launched in 1947 by Macy's Department Store. In this Miracle On 34th Street Mr. Macy took chance on a different way to conduct business. Customers would not be coerced into buying what they did not want and if another store had a better, less expensive product Macy's would send them there. 

If we listen closely we learn that to succeed in 2010 or 2011 or 2025 or .. or .. or .. is dependent on what we've always known. It's not all about the brand .. it is all about our customer. As with so many lessons, we seem to keep relearning this one.

Fast forward 64 years. The insights from our customers come wrapped in many ways. From customer interactions to traditional research to digital platforms with funny names like blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and Flickr. 

However, with social media, when we pull off the pretty red bows, we find that the impact reaches far beyond marketing, customer service or sales. This time the entire enterprise is in the game along with our customers. It's a world where to succeed we have to go beyond a one-off sale to creating opportunities for all involved (enterprise & customer) to create the brand experience .. together.

In the world of conversational marketing there is no room for high-pressure sales techniques. Adding a relationship focused social media strategy to your master marketing plan can be a powerful initiative which demonstrates that you place your customers' needs above a one-off sale.

The digital relationships that the people (not departments) who are the heart of your brand can set off a chain reaction.

  • Continuous listening -> leads to continuous learning -> which leads to understanding -> which leads to trust -> which leads to loyalty -> which leads to the cash register bells ringing. And every time a cash register bell rings a marketer gets a bonus or gets to keep her job (!).. oops wrong film. Sorry.

Corner grocery store digital relationships that are build not only with you and your customers, but among your customers, could never have been imagined when Kris Kringle entered Macy's in 1947. However, even as we approach 2011, for many organizations open conversations still seem like a Miracle on (insert organization name here) or like the ghost of Xmas future (oops wrong movie again. Sorry.)

The plan sounds idiotic and impossible... consequently, we'll make more profit than ever before.

As we begin 2011, technology developments spin even faster taking digital business into areas that were impossible in '47 or '57 or even '2010.

Imagine a digital destination that holds current inventory and pricing, allows for on-line financing and results in better, faster cheaper processing.

Imagine a digital destination that allows for product customization the way you want it.

Imagine a digital destination where you can start a conversation with a real person about what matters to you regarding a product or service.

Imagine a digital destination where you can talk to a real person who doesn't respond with a scripted answer.

Imagine a digital destination where you can actually help change the direction of a product or service before it's even launched.

Imagine a digital destination where you can include your review of the product, service or customer care that influences your friends' buying decisions.

Imagine a digital destination where you can chat with people about their experiences and learn from each other resulting in making smarter purchases.

Imagine multiple digital destinations that are interwoven where you can accomplish all of these crazy ideas whether you are at your local coffee shop, home, office or at the beach. 

Imagine an organization that works in partnership with its customers and employees to create a brand experience that is relevant and imaginative. 

The plan sounds idiotic and impossible...consequently, we'll make more profit than ever before.

It's interesting to compare a 1940's film, where finding solutions to customers' problems was perceived as unique, to 2010 where finding solutions to customers' problems is considered ingenious.

The techniques may have changed. New buzz words may be added to the mix. Bells and whistles may be a little louder. However, after all is said and done, the premise remains the same:



-Add value

-Do what it takes to go the extra mile to delight your customer

The plan sounds idiotic and impossible...consequently, we'll make more profit than ever before.

Toby max santa hats And with that Max and I wish you a joy-filled holiday, all things wonderful in 2011 .. and all that jazz!

Sidebar: A Classic Diva Marketing post based on an article written for AMA Marketing News. 


Stories From Smaller Nonprofits: Citizen Effect


Stars Tis the season to be jolly. Even though there might be a few less presents this year, the holidays are still filled with joy for most of us. However, for many others .. not so much. As the days of December move closer to the end of 2010, the nonprofit world reaches out to ask for your help with the wish that a last minute tax deduction will result in a few more donations.  

As a way to give back, Diva Marketing is once again highlighting smaller nonprofits. Through out December lesser known charities will be telling their stories .. in their special way. Perhaps you'll find a new cause that tugs on your heart and inspires you to donate, volunteer or pass along a link to your network. Thanks to Taylor's Tale for the use of the wishing on a star logo.

CarolynButcher_citizen effect The story of Citizen Effect is told by Citizen Philanthropist Carolyn Butcher who shares her personal experiences about how her life has been touched through her volunteer efforts. Special thanks to Andi Narvaez for her help coordinating this post. 

In 2006, Dan Morrison returned from a trip to India and brought together friends and family to raise funds to build a much-needed water well in Dungra Village. In 2008, Dan started Citizen Effect with the idea that everyone can make a real impact in the world.

Its mission is to connect passionate citizens with communities in need and give them the tools and support they need to take charge of their giving and improve thousands of lives, one project at a time.

I’m a life coach and yoga enthusiast in Washington, DC. Over the last two years, I’ve helped raise more than $14,000 from friends, family and the DC yoga community to build a childcare center and well in Dungra Village, India and fund a foster home in Cloetesville, South Africa. 

I have been with Citizen Effect since it was founded. For my first project, I donated $1,000 of my earnings from teaching a six-month life coaching workshop. For my second project, I sponsored birthday and holiday campaigns to raise $2,000 with friends and family. And for my third project, I became a community organizer for a 30-day yoga challenge in Washington, DC that brought together businesses, local contributors, and sponsors to raise $11,500 for a foster home for children in South Africa through the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Program.

Though my job keeps me busy, I’m committed to Citizen Effect because it makes it easy for me to connect with the communities that need my help and to reconnect with my passion to serve others. I never thought of myself as a fundraiser. But founder Dan Morrison once asked me, “What do you love to do?” I thought of my workshops and yoga and realized that all I needed to do was wrap a fundraiser around them.

 Social Media Does Social Good 

Citizen Effect uses social media to…

1. Help Citizen Philanthropists bring friends, co-workers and family together to build local communities that help a global community in need. Citizen Philanthropists don’t just click a “donate” button; they become leaders.

 2. Connect Citizen Philanthropists with the communities they are giving to by sending them project updates and sharing news of their progress. Citizen Philanthropists don’t just get a tax form; they get to see the direct impact their efforts are having on the world’s issues.

3. Share stories from partners and their communities to inspire new Citizen Philanthropists to step up to find solutions for critical problems affecting less fortunate regions in the world. Citizen Philanthropists don’t just give $50 to charity; they support scalable development that helps communities flourish.

4. Citizen Effect’s Holiday Harvest

This season, forget the iTunes gift card and participate in a more meaningful gift experience. Choose a holiday card from the region of the world you want to support, personalize it with a message, and Snapfish will send the card to your friend or loved one so you can tell them you made a gift in their name to solve the hunger crisis.

Social media has helped Citizen Effect achieve its mission and change the face of philanthropy, which looks more like us every day.

Logo_citizen_effect-260x75  Learn More About Citizen Effect

Website Facebook Twitter YouTube

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Stories From Smaller Nonprofits: RE Children's Project


Stars In the spirit of the season, during the month of December, Diva Marketing opens its virtual doors to tell the stories of smaller nonprofits.Through out the month you'll learn about organizations you may not have heard of .. but each one will will touch your heart. 

This series is inspired by Laura King Edwards who launched Taylor's Tale, on behalf and in honor of her little sister, to raise awareness for Batten disease.  As Laura says, "Nothing should stand in the way of a dream." Through these posts perhaps we'll create a little magic that will help people get closer to their dream.

The Story of RE Children's Project told Rob Petersen, Rob peteresen of Barnraisers, an online social media solutions company. 

The energy and drive of non-profits founders can rub off on you the instant you’re with them. Seth Wohlberg, Founder of the RE Children’s Project, a 501 (c) (3) dedicated to finding a cure for a rare disease, Rasmussen’s Encephalitis, fills that role and then some.

Children's project founders Rasmussen’s Encephalitis is a rare, chronic inflammatory disease that affects one hemisphere of the brain.  It causes frequent, uncontrollable and severe seizures, loss of motor skills and speech, and paralysis on one side of the body.  Rasmussen’s Encephalitis almost always impacts children. It affects Seth’s daughter, Grace.

Photo: Grace with her mom and dad.  

The only known “cure” is a radical brain surgery called a Hemispherectomy in which the affected half of the brain is removed with the hope the brain will re-wire itself and allow the individual to lead a more normal life.  Seth has another idea for a “cure.” Let’s find a real one. 

Rasmussen’s Encephalitis has changed Seth’s life as you might imagine.  By day, he is a partner in a boutique investment bank in NYC.  When that day ends, he begins another job as Founder of RE Children’s Project, his second career.  He is the most driven, hard-working and inspiring person I know.

I donate my time using social media to help spread the word and encourage donations.  If you know Seth, you know he has a very good chance at success.  You also know he writes a great blog and has a blogger’s perseverance.   His organization and situation lends itself to the perfect marriage of social media and grass roots outreach.

Social Media Does Social Good

Here are 3 ways social media did social good for Rasmussen’s Encephalitis through the RE Children’s Project.

1. AUTHORITY AND SEARCH:  RE Children’s comes up high on the first page of Google in a search for Rasmussen’s Encephalitis.  It is in the company of the most advanced scientific and medical research.   If you request Google Alerts for information on the disease, every week it’ll include the RE Children’s blog.  This happens because social media drove search engine optimization.

2. COMMUNITY: Less than 500 people worldwide are diagnosed each year with Rasmussen’s Encephalitis.  Now, many of the affected families all over the globe are part of a community built through RE Children’s social media strategy and networks.  Social media also keeps Seth and his community in touch with Cris Hall, Founder of the Hemispherectomy Foundation, a non-profit that serves the hemisphrectomy community, as well as several other organizations devoted to rare disease and epilepsy research. 

3. WORKING TOGETHER: Seth has put not only a great deal of time into his quest for a cure, but in one short year he has sponsored a first of kinds research conference this past October in which he brought together over 50 global experts across research disciplines to Deer Valley, Utah.  The purpose of the conference was to define a research agenda for the disease. 

He has elevated the global discourse and interest in the disease and is continuing this momentum with another conference in February and a major fundraiser in Connecticut.  Readership to his blog and social networks builds and spikes with each event as social media and grass roots efforts work together to generate higher awareness…and social good. 

Social media works because 1 person tells 5 people who tell 15 people and so on.  During this holiday season, I am asking you to spread the word and do 3 things so the RE Children’s Project sustains its mission to find a cure for Rasmussen’s Encephalitis:

1) Send the web address www.rechidrens.org to 5 friends who have not heard about the effort

2) Read the RE Summary and Facts in the Must Read tab (link 10)

3) Please consider a donation of $10 or $20 through the RE Children’s web site “donate” tab. 

After all, it’s called social media for a reason. 

Logo re children's project  Learn More About RE Children's Project

Website Twitter  Facebook YouTube 

 Special wishes to Grace for a wonderful holiday. Thanks for inspiring so many people.

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Interview with Mark Levy, Author of Accidental Genius


Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. ~ Lewis Carroll

Mark LevyLewis Carrol would be right at home chatting with Mark Levy. I have no doubt that between the two of them they would have thought of at least twenty impossible things before breakfast.

So who is Mark Levy? Glad you asked. Mark is the founder of Levy Innovation, a marketing strategy firm that helps entrepreneurial companies increase their fees by up to 2,000%.

David Meerman Scott calls him “a positioning guru extraordinaire.” Fast Company Expert Blogger, Cali Yost, says “Mark helped me rethink my entire business in a day. He’s a miracle worker.”

Mark has written for the New York Times, and has authored or co-created five books. His latest is the newly revised and expanded edition of “Accidental Genius: using Writing to Get to Your Best Ideas, Insight, and Content.” The book helps liberate businesspeople from their status quo thinking. 

In his interview for Diva Marketing, Mark not only shares his insights about creativity in business but gives us a holiday gift .. a special free writing exercise that will take our posts, tweets or campaigns to the next level. 

Diva Marketing: Creativity is an illusive concept. What does creativity mean to Mark Levy?

Mark Levy: Creativity is looking at a situation from an unusual perspective. It’s making connections among phenomena that may not have any organic connection. It’s following the logical progression of an idea until the reality of that idea falls apart and you have to start guessing as to what might happen next. It’s stepping off the worn path that your thinking typically follows, so you can surprise and disorient yourself – and thus stumble upon something new.

The best way to be creative and summon up a good idea is to come up with lots of ideas first. Think of creativity as a numbers game rather than a quality game.

When you’re being creative, you’re going to make a mountain of mistakes. Turns out, though, that your mountain isn’t really composed of mistakes. It’s composed of the steps you needed to take to reach your golden idea.

It’d be nice if the mind could create more efficiently, wouldn’t it? But the mind isn’t orderly. To arrive at something novel, you need to take leaps: some logical, some illogical.

Diva Marketing: When I think about being creative, my thoughts turn to the arts. How would you describe a creative ‘business person?’

Mark Levy: Most businesspeople seldom get a chance to be creative, because they have to follow their organization’s routines and protocols. Sometimes, though, those routines and protocols fail, and the businesspeople have to get creative in a hurry. (For instance, they have to figure out how to unblock a bottleneck in manufacturing, or think up a way of entering a market that’s kept them out.)

For most businesspeople, then, having to create is tough. Why?

For one thing, since they haven’t been asked to create anything all that often, trying to come up with something new can be intimidating.

But even more important: Most businesspeople don’t know any techniques that’ll help them create. They’re told to “innovate” or “think different” or “be creative,” and that’s all the guidance they’re given. Good luck.

Trying to create without knowing any techniques is like trying to cook without pots and pans and utensils. Sure, it’s possible, but why make things so needlessly difficult?

There are hundreds of creativity techniques out there. Businesspeople need to play with a few, and practice the ones that seem natural to them. Natural is key. When a fast-breaking problem presents itself, you don’t want to rely on a technique that’s too complicated to remember or is arduous to use. The right techniques are a joy to use.

Diva Marketing: In your new book, Accidental Genius, you approach problem solving with a unique and creative technique .. freewriting. First, please tell us what is freewriting.

Mark Levy: Freewriting helps us beat our internal editor.

See, inside each of us is an internal editor that does an important job: it edits what we think and say as we think and say it, so we look smart and consistent to other people. For the most part, our editor draws upon the same thoughts over and over again, because those thoughts have worked for us in the past.

As helpful as our editor is, there’s a time when it gets in our way.  It hurts us in those situations that call for thoughts that are different from those we normally use.

The editor won’t let us think potentially valuable new thoughts, because those thoughts are untested. By keeping things predictable, the editor unintentionally keeps us stuck. It guarantees that – if we keep going the way we’re going -- we’ll never be able to solve certain problems.

Freewriting, then, is a journaling technique that temporarily pushes the editor into the background, so we can get at our more honest and unusual thoughts. From these thoughts, we can create intriguing and often valuable solutions. Accidental genius by mark levy

Diva Marketing: Can you tell us a story of how freewriting has been used to help solve a business challenge?

Mark Levy: One of my favorite stories: An executive vice president was trying to win pay raises for his entire department. Who did he have to pitch to? The organization’s Board of Directors, which included the former head of The Federal Reserve Bank, Alan Greenspan.

As you can imagine, the vice president was a wreck.

Instead of biting his nails, though, he prepared for his meeting. He bought a pen and a notebook, and every night for a week he’d do an hour of freewriting about what might happen in that meeting.

So, he’d quickly write about who was in the room, and what he’d say to them, and how they’d respond, and how he’d counter any arguments they presented. He didn’t softball the situation. In each night’s scenario, he had the Board raise the toughest objections they could, and he’d answer them.

By the time the meeting rolled around, he’d felt as if he had already lived it. He was confident that there was nothing that they could throw at him that he couldn’t handle.

He did his pitch, they loved it, and he won the raises. 

Diva Marketing: It’s not unusual for people who routinely develop social media content to hit a writer's block. How would you suggest using freewriting to discover new ideas?

Mark Levy: You can use freewriting in dozens of ways to create new material. Here’s an exercise your readers can do immediately.

Open a blank document in your computer, and set a timer for seven minutes. You’re about to start writing, but first some ground rules:

  • No one is going to see what you’re writing unless you want them to, so be honest and bold.
  • Don’t worry about spelling, punctuation, or grammar.
  • Don’t worry if what you’re writing is interesting or even coherent.
  • Write as fast as you can for the full seven minutes, without stopping for any reason. (As Ray Bradbury says, “In quickness there is truth.”)
  • And, if during the writing you feel like digressing, by all means follow those digressions.

In essence, I want you to approach the page without worrying about the normal rules of writing. You’re using it as a means of watching yourself think. If you write something “good,” well, that’s a bonus. It’s not necessary.

What, then, are you going to write about?


That is, think about your usual subject, start the timer, and begin putting down image after image as they appear in your mind. When one of those images seems promising, write about it. Describe what you see, and take guesses as to why you’re seeing it.

For instance, suppose you normally write about prospecting. Start your seven minute timer, and begin hitting the keys. Perhaps you’ll write:

“This guy Levy tells me to write about images. OK. Sounds like a plan. But what images come to mind when I think about “prospecting”?

Well, I think of Jane, my latest client, and how I met her at that social media conference and how she wants me to build a sales funnel for her company. So I could write about her.

But another image just came to mind. I teach people how to prospect for clients, but the word prospecting is really just a metaphor. It’s probably from the gold rush of the Nineteenth Century. So I see an unshaven prospector crouching in a river bed, the water running past him, using a pan to sift for gold.

Prospecting for gold. I never thought about that analogy before. How is prospecting for clients like prospecting for gold? How is it different? Well, gold prospectors would have to leave their old lives behind them, because they had to live in the mountains for a year or more. When prospecting for clients . . . “

Images often get to ideas that we know implicitly, but haven’t yet made explicit. By following the call of images, we can create rough-draft material that, for us, is genuinely original and has inherent drama.

By the way, if you don’t come up with anything interesting in the first seven minutes, don’t fret. Do another seven minutes. And another. The more images and ideas and stories you pour onto the paper, the more likely you are to come across something you can use.

Continue the conversation with Mark on his blog and on Twitter @@levyinnovation.

Thanks to Nettie Hartsock for introducing me to Mark. In social media disclosure, Mark sent me a comp copy of the Accidental Genius. In all candor, it's more than a great read. It's a problem solving solution that works!