August 10th, 2013
Tips, Tools and Tutorials
There is a lot to be said about the power behind whiteboarding as an idea-generating exercise, and what the mind can achieve during the process. Especially in a time where competition calls for innovation and deadlines demand jurisdiction, it is crucial that marketers step back from their clouded office spaces and involve themselves in group collaboration in its most organic form: marker to whiteboard. Whether you need a new campaign idea or a well-organized solution to a current problem, these tips can help generate !deas that !nspire.
If you have hit a problem in the process or are given little direction on an assignment, the best place to start is to establish a goal. Regardless if it is a social media problem involving a low fan base, or a client isn’t inspired by your recent content, create and write down on your whiteboard a goal to help steer you in the right direction to success. Suggested goals include: increase brand awareness, increase brand interaction online, increase social media fan base, create visual campaigns, and so on. Talking about the finish line sometimes helps the creative mind decide where to begin.
In business, there are often several limitations that put added pressure on the creative mind. This may include time-constraints, space restriction, total focus constraints, and so on. This is why it is so important that the creative process is established as an avenue of complete candid discussion where all ideas are considered good ideas. Limiting a brainstorming session in hour increments or even limiting the number of people appointed to the discussion is hindering to a large degree. Make it heard that this process is not a quick-fix process, but when orchestrated to its utmost potential, it can deliver ideas that can sustain for the long-term.
If you have to generate ideas about a company that isn’t under your own name, there is some learning that must take place before you can even begin to start making decisions. The second thing you write on your whiteboard after your goal is the company name and what you infer about them based on their own existing main website. An “About Us” or “Company Culture” page is a perfect place to start in this scavenger hunt for brand identity.
If you can make inferences about the company’s target audience and expand upon what you know about those certain groups, you can learn where these types of people live in the online world. Learning about a company’s history, their competition, their special service/product offerings, and the why behind their company opens a new door of understanding. If you can capture the concept behind why the company is successful and how they execute the expertise that is their what, you can begin to grasp the core of the atom that is the innovative nucleus.
Once you grasp the company overall, attempt to use SEO strategies to help trigger a series of long, horizontal lists of keywords that may stimulate campaign ideas or clever slogans.
Start with service or product offerings and find keywords using a thesaurus that may relate to the topic at hand to help get the creative juices flowing. Mark the words that have the most impact and that can be delegated to as many social media channels or content writing strategies as possible for both uniformity and optimization purposes.
These keywords, when written as a complete unit on a large whiteboard, can really get the ideas going for campaigns that hold incredible potential. Slogans, acronyms, hashtag generation, and more can be born from a well-designed whiteboard brainstorm session, but the real reward is finding diamonds in the rough like content that is already active online that just needs to be dusted off and brought into the light in the online world.
Once you have a full whiteboard and a handful of ideas, it is important to record everything on the wall into a spreadsheet for recycling or reference. Organize the keywording process onto one sheet and the campaign ideas onto a separate sheet to keep records organized for future needs.
The best part of the process is to present the ideas to the client and energize them by fully explaining the process and reassuring them that you have a full and thorough grasp of their brand. Allow them to see the whiteboard, if appropriate, and ask them questions about their company that may help you during the process. This is the final critical step that allows you to take your ideas and turn them into actions.
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