by Kathrine Glass
One of my favorite things to do is brainstorm a new promotional idea for a client. I find that there are a few tips that help me get the best possible results.
- Be sure you have enough information. Prior to brainstorming, be sure you know what the client will be looking for so you can deliver on their defined goals. Remember to be sure you are clear on what product/service they want to focus on, understand their target audience both demographically and psychographically, create a program that meets their outlined promotional time period and/or seasonality, include any key partners that are important to them and be sure you are in line with their budget. Understand their overall objective and what metric they will use to define the promotion’s success.
- Get a team together. Two heads are better than one when it comes to brainstorming. In fact, sometimes you may need more than two if you have experts in different areas like programming, online, promotions, etc., but keep your team to less than six. Be sure you ask yourself if everyone needs to be included in the brainstorm. Will they add value or will they complicate the process? Sometimes it is better to get ideas well fleshed out and then go to the other stakeholders to get their input and buy-in.
- Ask what’s worked? Ask the client what has worked for them in the past. Look at your past success stories. Google the brand and/or others in the category and see what is working for them. Look at websites like promomagazine.com, sponsorship.com, mashable.com for inspiration. Utilize the Morrison and Abraham database of success stories from our clients and years of experience. Don’t be afraid to R&D…rip off and duplicate…for your market and tweak to make it better. Sometimes a fresh perspective on an old promotion can rejuvenate the idea into a brand new winner.
- Think like a child. Don’t feel held back by anything. Be fresh and enthusiastic. Be open to exploration, discovery and experimentation. Be open to all ideas and solutions.
- Don’t worry. Leave fear, worry and doubt at the door. If you don’t have a specific resource in your tool kit, don’t worry about it during the brainstorming process. Many components can be outsourced and built into the package price. Sometimes that strategy is necessary to capture the dollars. If you think management won’t approve your idea, don’t worry about it yet. Let your ideas flourish, flesh them out, and then solve any internal challenges. Clearly defined ideas with logistical execution plans are mandatory at this point. Demonstrating that you have thought out all of the possibilities and looked at the promotional idea from multiple angles will help you get buy-in from management.
- Build a short list. Throw out as many ideas as you can and then fine-tune two or three. Too many ideas can water down the message and challenge your focus.
- Keep it simple. Once you’ve created the biggest and best ideas, determine if they should be dialed back slightly to be sure that you can execute flawlessly. An idea that is poorly executed will not do anyone any good. It’s better to keep it simple and know everyone will be thrilled with the results.
- Enjoy a little recess! Let your ideas rest for a while. Give yourself some time off of thinking of ideas. Let them percolate, gel and build. Many times ideas that are built during a brainstorming session become even better with a little space. Give your self a few hours or a week to be sure you are happy with the results. If something is missing, you will be able to see it a little more clearly with time.
And a very important bonus tip is to HAVE FUN!!!! If you get stuck don’t let it get you down. Just take a step back, rest and restart. Reach out to your M&A consultant. We love helping you come up with ideas!