How to streamline the process for quick and successful brainstorming


The other day before we sat down to watch a super-big sporting event, a friend asked for creative help on launching a new product line online. She planned to send an email campaign to her client base, a tried and true tactic for the company. We talked awhile about the new product, the name they had given it, and she showed me some images. We recapped on the brand strategy. Basically, we needed to brainstorm creative ideas to grab her clients so they would read the email and click to a landing page for more information on the product and its applications.


But, fellow marketers, we all know promoting a new product needs more than an idea or a clever headline tossed out into the universe, even if we’ve determined our platform.

In this case, since I wasn’t as familiar with her market, we circled back and nailed down the following:

  • Who’s the target audience? Contractors, engineers, architects; secondarily homeowners

  • What’s special about the product? What makes it unique? > It is unlike anything in the industry! Truly breaks the mold and will replace the current go-to solution by saving time and money—and due to the ease in customizing the product for each application. Versatility. > It can be easily adapted for electrical outlets, enabling outdoor maintenance equipment, sound systems, WIFI, and other systems, outperforming what’s currently available. > It is easy to install and there are no limits to the size (footage) of the project. > It can be installed in many geographies and climates. > It’s attractive and comes in colors that coordinate well with the other architectural elements.

  • What do you want them to do/Call to action? Go to the landing page for more details and contact us for more information. We’re looking for a select few to be beta sites. (Well, that’s interesting and maybe should be handled in a special way.)

  • Anything else? Maybe tease that this is early info/they are the first to learn of it. Or offer something special (percentage off, free shipping, etc.) if they respond soon, creating urgency.

Now, we could brainstorm, typically a process I find takes you around the galaxy and back again, and often yields odd ball ideas that make little sense in the dawn of the morning. In fact, WeTransfer published a report based on responses from 20,000 creatives in 197 countries, which indicated creative individuals are not into group brainstorming meetings. Or we could “Brainstorm with Restraint”—a practice I find more targeted and effective. And since there were only two of us, we were able to let the ideas bubble up without the pressure of a room full of adrenalin-pumped colleagues reacting to our ideas and excitedly drowning them out with their own.

By doing the thinking work up front (see those bullet points above), our brainstorming stayed mostly on-target.

We may have had fewer “ideas,” but they were ideas that spoke to our intended audience about the product benefits. We saved time by focusing, and not ricocheting off bumpers like the metal ball in a pinball machine. By the end of our meeting, we had a pair of potential creative approaches that were on brand. And I was able to pick up the thread the next day and come up with another one for consideration. Not bad for two gal-pals getting it done before the big game.


Key take-away:

Don’t let limited time and staff stand in the way of successful brainstorming! Run a mini, yet powerful, brainstorming session by following the prep guidelines above. The process works for one person as well as two or three!

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