Brainstorming when you’re brain dead

Posted by on September 15, 2009

They say two heads are better than one. So, surely, 12 would border brilliance – at least that’s the premise behind brainstorm meetings.We’ve all sat in a room around a table trying to come up with big ideas that will wow our clients (or department) – showing them that we know their business, their target audiences and how to reach their goals.

We all know the rules going in: no idea is bad (well, you can’t say that it is); the whiteboard is your friend (never mind the nauseous fumes from the dry erase markers); and no interrupting (because that is just rude). And our team also knows that we have the advantage of being very comfortable around each other – nothing bashful about anyone at MarketWave.

Just last week, we brought our brains together to come up with creative marketing ideas for a prospective client. Depending on the day of the week, the time of day and the amount of chocolate miniatures we consume, our team comes up with some pretty amazing ideas.

But on other days – days where our brains are just a little fried – we just can’t get to that bright idea. We struggle. So on these days, we have to inject a bit of creativity. Our top seven brain boosters are:

  1. Start flipping. Look through relevant magazines for thoughts and ideas.
  2. Get competitive. Discuss what the company’s competitors have done (and the natural progression, of course, is how we can one up them).
  3. Find new words. Consult with the thesaurus and/or dictionary for complimentary words that may trigger some other thoughts.
  4. Take a field trip. For example, we ate lunch at a chain restaurant we pitched several months ago.
  5. Switch shoes. Put yourself in the target audience’s shoes. What do they care about? What do they want to know? What would appeal to them?
  6. Apply a news hook. Write a few headlines and visualize a story in the media. Imagine what you want to see in writing. What sort of visual would media care about? Consider the elements of a good news story and use those as a springboard.
  7. Use sticky notes. Throw out a question and have team members write their ideas on sticky notes and randomly place them on the board. Then build on those ideas.

So, please, do tell. What do you do when you’re sitting in a brainstorm and your brain just won’t get going? How do you get that big idea?

Because, when it comes down to it – creative ideas drive results.

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