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Advertising Brainstrom Sessions: Towers of Babble?

The brainstorming meeting starts promisingly enough.  Everyone on the team is excited about the prospects of digging into the newest marketing challenge and coming up with dynamite ideas for effective advertising and promotion.

Four hours later, people are dragging, the “big idea” hasn’t surfaced, and all that the team has to show for its efforts are a bunch of scattershot platform ideas, disconnected strategies, and unassuming mini-tactics.

Ineffectual advertising brainstorming sessions like this occur more often than most companies would care to admit.  While the overall meeting goal is understood and the urge is to allow creative ideas to flow freely, the deliberative process is unfocused, making it far too easy for things to get out of hand.  Instead, plan to come up with an overarching campaign theme and strategy first … and only then drill down to formulate the tactics.

Another way to approach brainstorming is to task each individual team member to come up with ideas in advance of the meeting.  Start the session by letting each member present their campaign theme and associated tactics.  Following that, conduct an “idea build” exercise in which participants can work through the strongest ideas together and develop strong, purposeful tactics for the campaign.

One more suggestion:  Try to include a trusted outside partner in your brainstorming activities.  The combination we bring of strong communication skills and experience in producing programs for other companies – not to mention a fresh outsider perspective – will take a good platform and make it even better.

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