How to generate great ideas

How to generate great ideas

Written by Paula Toole

Oscar Wilde once said “an idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all”. Naturally, I’m not advocating that you should speak about wildly controversial topics, but there is something worth taking from Wilde’s quote – namely bravery.

Needless to say, businesses have a solid understanding of what they do and in every organisation there is something worth talking about – something that is unique and can provide genuinely interesting content that will engage with the consumer and, in turn, mature a brand’s reputation. With that in mind, it’s a core responsibility for PR and communications professionals to absorb this knowledge and generate campaigns that will codify a brand’s ethos and then present it in an effective way.

At Brand8 PR, generation is the first of our four steps and it is vitally important that it is correct from its inception. The four foundations of content marketing – Generate, Create, Amplify and Evalu8 – work harmoniously. But without the genesis point of a campaign there will be no materials for creation, nothing then to amplify and, ultimately, no evaluation.

So what, then, does generation comprise? Let’s expand on the steps you should take to ensure the ideas are in place to create an effective campaign.

Step 1

Preparation, preparation, preparation

The first step of generating any campaign should be to fast-forward and decide what the end goal should be – what is the objective? What are you hoping to achieve? Without a clear destination, a campaign can get lost and limply flap around, like fly paper, trying to justify its existence by the amount of coverage that sticks to it.

Also, give time to digest the campaign’s objectives; it’s important to make sure everything is understood, otherwise all manner of unexpected stumbling blocks can appear which can negatively impact upon a campaign’s success.

Step 2

Come together

It may sound obvious but great ideas don’t manifest themselves in a vacuum. Therefore, brainstorming a campaign is the best possible course of action. A meeting of minds, which can contribute ideas – regardless of how blue sky they may be – has the ability to open up a world of creative possibilities, which can then be harnessed to create a solid campaign.

Naturally, it’s important to stay on topic and not deviate too far, but the sharing of ideas can really help you arrive at the starting point for the campaign.

Step 3

Don’t worry about a thing

The third point links to the importance of bravery. Too often an individual can have a great idea but is too afraid to suggest it and we cannot stress enough that there is no such thing as a bad idea. True, some ideas might not be the greatest, but they could spark an idea in a colleague’s head; we must be robust in the opposition of suppressing ideas.

In short, it can be argued that somewhere along the line creative communications has lost sight of its objective and simply extolls how many cuttings a campaign has received without looking at the broader implications for a client. By beginning with effective generation – the first of the four foundations – we can, as an industry, return to building brands effectively and efficiently.

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