How to Know What a Great Idea Looks Like

Marketing efforts in 2018 can propel a brand forward or absolutely destroy a reputation. Edgy or creative ideas must be scrutinized before going out to the public. We’ve all seen ads that come across as tone deaf or completely disconnected from political and cultural climates. (The soft drink ad featuring Kendall Jenner comes to mind.)

How do you know if an ad will catch on with the audience or if it will leave a bad taste in their mouth? It’s not an exact science and there is an element of chance, but two questions can be asked ahead of presenting an idea to the public. Asking yourselves these questions could save your company hours of PR cleanup.

Todd Henry, four-time author and host of The Accidental Creative podcast qualifies a brilliant idea as both ‘novel’ and ‘appropriate’. So…

Question #1: Is this idea novel?

If something is new and original, if it has never been seen, used, or even thought of before, then it’s definitely novel. A novel idea will often blend two unlikely elements into one new one. It’s different and unexpected.

Question #2: Is this idea appropriate?

Unfortunately, sometimes unexpected can quickly go to inappropriate, so asking ‘is this appropriate?’ should mean you are actively seeking feedback from a small test audience in the demographics you are trying to reach. By sharing brave ideas in a focus group within the key audience,  terrible ideas have the chance to be properly extinguished.

Here’s an example of a novel, appropriate idea that came out of a brainstorming session for our client Sabian. They wanted a way to say Happy Easter to their followers, but they wanted to do it in a way that was fun, acknowledged the holiday, and showed the heart of the company.

We blended a familiar object—Easter candy—with a Sabian cymbal. We then asked, ‘is this appropriate?’ to a small target audience. The reactions sounded like loud cheers of celebration.

The Results:

Engagements: over 6,000k

Shares: nearly 1,000

Take 5 minutes in your brainstorming sessions to ask those two questions. Objectively looking at the answers to these questions goes a long way.

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