Crafting a Perfect Brainstorm

Crafting a Perfect Brainstorm

Brainstorming in a group can be extremely effective. Different thoughts and perspectives coming together to create bulletproof ideas that lead to strong campaigns. But if mismanaged, it can be a waste of time. Here are a couple pointers on how to make the most out of your session.


Addressing External vs. Internal Thinkers

As we know, everyone has a slightly different work style. Some people like to chat out loud about their ideas and talk them through. Others prefer to go off on their own to think solo for bit. Preparation for a group brainstorm is extremely important for each participant. External thinkers can meet in a smaller group session, and the internal thinkers should make time to think by themselves. Bringing initial thoughts helps to kick the meeting off right and allows both types of thinkers to contribute.

Who’s in Charge Here?

It’s easy for brainstorms to get off topic or become ruled by one or two of the loudest voices of the bunch. However, that’s not innately bad. It can be good to go off on a tangent once in a while, and listening to everyone’s opinion is important. Designate a meeting leader to guide the conversation, rally the group when conversation dulls, and keep track of time. Choose someone who has a naturally strong command of the group dynamic; it doesn’t always have to be the Creative Director or Account Executive.

Take it Out of the Office – Within Reason

A fresh environment can lead to fresh ideas. Conversely, a distracting, new environment can lead to distracted ideas. Choose your offsite location with care. Think about the timing as well. Is there no way around scheduling a meeting at 8:00am on a Monday or 4:30pm on a Friday? Try escaping to a coffee shop or low-key pub that offers ample room and an atmosphere conducive to work.

What Did We Talk About?

Make a point to verbally designate a note taker before the start of the meeting. It seems simple, but if forgotten, can leave the best ideas on the floor or distract participants from generating ideas.

Keep an Open Mind

Brainstorms must be judgment-free zones. Let everyone voice their ideas and keep the flow going – for the good, the bad and the ugly. Naysayers, bite your tongues. The designated note taker should write down all ideas for evaluation at a later time. Wait an hour or even a full day before judging ideas. When whittling down ideas to move forward with, be sure to include the group in that process to allow anyone who wants to make a case for keeping an idea in the running. You never know when a small tweak turns a good idea and a great one.

Pick the right leader, place, time, be flexible with individual work styles, and you’re bound to have a productive brainstorm.


5 Things To Consider In 2014 Marketing Planning

1. Make absolutely sure you know what your customers want.
There is so much competition in every marketplace, that one misstep can cause havoc to your bottom line. Budget resources for qualitative and/or quantitative research. Spend some personal time behind the scenes to make sure you are delivering the product and service that your customers need and want.
2. Protect your “golden egg” at all costs.
There is always a temptation to expand by moving resources from a product line that seems to be in good shape and taking care of itself to one that is not. Don’t do it unless you can ensure that your flagship cannot be sabotaged by yours or competitors’ efforts.
3. Make sure your products and services are easy to buy.
Nothing is more discouraging for a customer than wanting to know more or order a product and not being able to access the information or purchase it. It does not make you popular, and we all know that being liked by your customers is the key to loyalty. While you are building demand, make sure you make filling it easy and relationship-building.
4. Have a social media strategy.
Don’t get trapped by a sense of urgency to be in social media because it’s there and everyone else does it. Social media, like any other marketing tactic, must deliver a return on investment. Investigate where your audience is, research how they are talking about your products and services, and determine how you will get a pay back for engaging them in social media.
5. Keep your Chief Marketing Communications Officer in the Management Suite.
In the oversaturated communications world we live in, you cannot afford not to take communications into account with all your stakeholders, internal and external, as you make any major plans. More and more companies are elevating Marketing Communications to the C-suite for that reason. I don’t know of any company that should not have a CMO.
Planning and forecasting is fun and exhilarating. Enjoy the process and look forward to increased success in 2014. And in case you get stuck, you’ve got friends here at Bouvier Kelly ready and waiting to help you.

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