Brainstorming (ideation) 101 + 201

The agencies I work with like to brain-storm. Or have ideation sessions. Some work better than others.

Here’s some insights as to why.

Brainstorming 101 takes a “free-for-all” approach to the act of exploring options. It’s a great approach if the challenge is very open ended: “We won $10,000. What should we do with the money?”

Brainstorming 201 is more akin to identifying all of the ways that something can be done. Moving a one kilo box from point A to B for example. Then comparing and ranking the options against your objectives + conditions.

Regardless of which approach you use, here are a few tips that will help you achieve better session outcomes.

  • Don't start "storming" until all participants understand what your objectives, conditions and performance metrics are.
  • Is the agency process, strategy and logic sound?
  • Don't be a yes-(wo)man - even if you're the most Jr. person in the room. 
  • Be vigilant and employ active listening + critical thinking skills.
  • Have you had time to "think" about ________________ or are you blindly being asked to agree to something without having the time to think about the longer term implications - or the slippery slopes?
  • Are participants confusing enthusiasm for wisdom. Many agency practitioners don't know the difference and lose accounts as a result.
  • Is what we're doing + thinking really on brand?
  • Do those in meeting know the brand well enough to recognize if the brain-storm "fall-out" is on or off brand?
  • Will the recommended path(s) forward be good for the brand both short + long term?
  • Is this going to be an easy sale to the client? If not, it may well be off-brand, or you missed something (in your logic chain).
  • What's the best manner in which to present the creative ideas?
  • Which creative team member is the most appropriate creative idea ambassador relative to the client(s) that you're presenting to?
  • Are you "speaking in tongues" - or speaking plain English?
  • Are you speaking to yourselves, to the client, for the brand, to the general audience, or those who enable change for the better (relative to your brand)?



The strategic use of colour


This piece of Diablo sandpaper (made in Switzerland) is a WONDERFUL example of the strategic use of one colour to defend their brand position.

Diablo uses the colour red to distance the brand far away from all the other brown (wood) and grey (metal) sand-paper options out there (mostly from China).

The brand also uses the same red for all their cutting tools - making it easy for users to connect “the dots” and to help reinforce brand loyalty: it quickly sorts the world into two piles: a small one with the correct red Diablo parts in it, and a very large one with everything else in the world in it.

Simple + brilliant.



Trump brand value survey


Suppose for a moment that the (Donald) Trump brand had been worth $100 before he entered politics. Knowing what you know now, what do you think this brand is worth today?



Suppose for a moment that the (Donald) Trump brand had been worth $100 before he entered politics. Knowing what you know now, what do you think this brand would sell for today?



Suppose for a moment that the (Donald) Trump brand had been worth $100 before he entered politics. Knowing what you know now, how much would you lend this brand today? 

You can send your answers to me: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Death Notice

A friend our ours just died of cancer.

He didn’t want a funeral because, while he behaved like and extrovert in the work-place, he was actually a pretty private guy and firmly believed that no-one would want to come to his wake or funeral. In hindsight he wasn’t “wrong” – he was humble and didn’t want any one to go out of their way for him – even in death. Pretty amazing.

In the months and then weeks leading up to his death, nothing his wife said could convince him to change his position on the matter.

Enter a false rumor – that he had passed away.

The phone rang off the hook until the report of his demise (and apparent resurrection), were corrected by him when he answered the phone. He realized that many, many people really did care.

The experience softened his opinion on the matter and convinced his wife how important both the wake and funeral would be for all his friends and family.

Given the right reason, most folks will change their point of view.

Good communication specialists find the little difference that can make all the difference and leverage it for all it’s worth. 



Data maps


I love this light map of the U.S. because it’s a great example of how meta-data can affect how you approach business and life. For example: there are lots of places to go if you love light and there are still lots of empty spaces to go if you love the dark. Maps like these are available for anything you can think of: soy-milk consumption, horse-hoof files – you name it. The data to create informative maps like these are there. When you lay a bunch of different maps on-top of each other, big data quickly becomes small and laser focused. For example: if you overlay snow-belt, low-population, Ford ½ ton truck drivers, conservative voters and HHI +$60M, you'll have a detailed map showing you where to focus your "Proudly Made In America" Snow Plow Attachments".

Data like this can really help your team rank opportunity quickly.