When you trust your company’s marketing to an outside agency, you expect that they will come up with creative solutions to solve your toughest challenges. “Brainstorming,” “throwing spaghetti at the wall,” “noodling around with an idea,” or simply “chewing something over” are all expressions for this concept of idea generation that you’ll likely hear tossed around in the vernacular of the Crossroads team from time to time. Whatever you call it, if you’ve ever wondered how our team approaches this concept of creative thinking and idea generation, keep reading.
Depending on the project or phase of the process, our team chooses to tackle brainstorming in both independent and collaborative fashions. We’ve found that these two approaches are the most effective way we generate new ideas and find the right way to tell our clients’ unique stories. For us, it’s a lot like tending an idea garden. We have to fertilize and tend the good ideas, and sometimes, pull out the weeds.
Putting Our Heads Together – The Collaborative Method
Group collaboration is vital to the Crossroads creative process, even in our virtual environment. When we’re working on new strategies or concepts, we typically start with a group discussion to generate as many ideas as possible, and to make sure every angle is covered. In this phase, there are no bad ideas. It isn’t about finding the right idea but getting as many good ideas together to find the best path forward.
Mandy identified this part of the process as critical to her own individual brainstorming workflow. She seeks many ideas and pieces of information before she begins the work of making the puzzle pieces fit into one cohesive picture – and anyone who has worked closely with her has seen this in action. When all the puzzle pieces come together, a winning idea comes to fruition.
After the initial brainstorm, the next step in our creative process begins. Sometimes, it’s clear which idea during the brainstorm is the right one and it’s time to decide next steps – what is the right way to present this idea to the client to meet their needs? Other times, we each go back to our respective drawing boards to sit with all the ideas, until someone has an “aha!” moment.
Get Outside Your Box – The Individual Idea Pursuit
The collaborative method is one way our team generates ideas when we’re working on the big picture of our clients’ marketing strategies, but it isn’t the only one. When it comes to visuals, copy, video, and more, we have our own individual approaches to tending our idea gardens. Our individual brainstorming benefits our clients, as well. Our team looks at every problem through different lenses, based on our different life and work experiences, which ultimately provides a better outcome for our clients.
While our methods of brainstorming are different, individual idea generation always starts with getting into the right headspace to come up with a creative solution to meet our client’s challenges – this is something we all agree on. Here are a few of our individual methods:
- Meagan comes up with her best ideas when she gets out of the house, because it’s something outside her everyday flow. Changing things up makes a big difference for her when she’s feeling stuck.
- When Jennifer is trying to generate visual ideas, she starts by visualizing them internally before she ever touches her computer, playing it like a movie in her head. Then, at the computer, she manipulates the visual – upside down, angled, reversed, you name it – to find the most interesting and dynamic concept.
- Kyle’s approach to finding the best idea is more linear, but equally effective. He prefers listing each idea, reviewing the pros/cons, and crossing out the worst idea until “the one” is narrowed down. In the end, only the best idea remains and that’s what moves forward into production.
Sometimes, of course, an individual process will then move into a collaborative phase for refining or production. And often, collaborative ideas then move into an intense individual incubation period before they move into production.
Regardless of how we begin the brainstorming, our mission at Crossroads Communications is to help clients discover the power in their story and how to use it to connect to their market. Our ability to grow and tend a healthy garden of ideas is just one of the ways we do that. If you’re ready to put our collective brainstorming powers to work, let’s talk.