Ideation and How to Find the Next Big Idea
We often think of ideation as a completely spontaneous thing. It is assumed that creativity is just a trait that some people have and ideas come to those people out of the blue. But that isn't the reality, and generating good ideas takes hard work.
Every marketer is looking for the next Big Idea to generate creative advertising campaigns, which is why it’s so important to understand ideation and the process by which people generate winning ideas. This article will explain what the Big Idea really means and how you can generate more winning ideas.
What is the Big Idea?
When marketers refer to the Big Idea, they are talking about something quite specific, but it can be difficult to pin down. It’s important to consider the different kinds of ideas that marketers use in order to understand the role of the Big Idea. Ideas for specific, executable strategies, like a new piece of copywriting or some video content, are important but they do not constitute a Big Idea.
The Big Idea refers to the wider concepts that underpin all marketing communications and tie them together. These ideas develop a brand over time and give the customer a real sense of what the business is all about. Take Amazon, for example; the Big Idea that underpins all of their marketing campaigns is that they are the most customer-centric company in the world and they can provide anything that you need. Although they have created a range of different campaigns over the years, they all stem from this Big Idea. You will often see these ideas expressed in business slogans that feature in all marketing materials, and generating hashtags is an effective way to increase online reach.
Why is it Important?
The Big Idea is important to all marketing campaigns because it helps to create focus and consistency. It is vital that you send a clear message to consumers about why your product is worth buying and what problems it will solve. Although practical things, like the quality of copywriting, the effectiveness of targeting, and the levels of engagement, all feed into the success of a campaign, it will most likely fail if there is not a Big Idea underpinning everything. A disjointed approach sends a confusing message to consumers and weakens the brand because it is unclear exactly what you are offering.
How Do You Generate New Ideas?
Ideation isn’t a spontaneous process, it requires work. If you want to come up with a Big Idea to underpin your creative advertising campaigns, you must start by thinking about your business and what it represents.
First, think about your passion. What is it that you love about your business and what do you enjoy doing most? Are you passionate about creative design and pushing the boundaries or is it all about the customer? Consider what your strengths are because these are the areas that should form the foundation of your Big Idea.
When thinking about your passions and strengths, you should be able to get a good idea of where your business could be a leader. Take a company like Google, for example; their Big Idea is all about technological innovation. They created the world’s most successful search engine and they have since branched out into other areas. You can see this Big Idea in all of their latest ads for the new Chromebook. They take a simple issue, like running out of battery, and demonstrate how they are changing the game by creating a laptop that lasts all day. The specific advert is about battery life, but the Big Idea behind it is about pushing the boundaries of technology to improve it for the customer.
Finally, you need to think about who you are trying to target with your new creative advertising campaigns. Consider the kind of person that you want to reach and what kinds of ideas will resonate with them.
Discovering the Big Idea
Generating ideas is the first step, but how do you identify which ideas are the winning ones and have the potential to underpin an entire campaign?
Decide on a Brief
The first step is to decide on a brief for the idea. During this stage of the ideation process, you need to work out exactly what you are trying to achieve and who your target audience is. For example, are you trying to launch a new product and market it to your existing customers? Perhaps you are hoping to break into new markets and sell to demographics that you have not targeted in the past? Without a clear aim, it is difficult to create ideas that fit your purpose and create the desired results.
Look for a Different Angle
Once you have an idea of the people that you are trying to target, you need to look for a different angle. Other competing companies will be trying to solve the same problem as you, so it’s important that you think of new ways to approach that problem. The ‘Just Do It’ campaign from Nike is a perfect example of this. Instead of creating campaigns that championed the technical elements of their shoes and boasted about how they improved performance, they looked at it from a different angle and created campaigns focused on motivation. Motivation is essential to sporting success, and by telling the stories of successful athletes, they inspired their customers. After the initial success of their TV ads, this became their Big Idea and it is still central to their marketing.
Consider Ways to Implement the Big Idea
Now that you have the Big Idea, you need to design specific creative advertising campaigns to implement it. Simple things like TV or print ads work well, but when it comes to social media, you need to be more creative if you want to stand out. The #Shareacoke campaign from Coca-Cola is a prime example of this. The Big Idea was all about connecting with friends and building communities, and Coke did this by personalizing bottles with names and inviting people to share their experiences using the hashtag. It exploded overnight and all of a sudden, social media was filled with pictures of people enjoying the product, successfully creating a global community around the brand. Finding creative ways to implement your Big Idea like this is vital to the success of your campaigns.
If you follow this ideation process, you can generate a Big Idea to underpin your next creative advertising campaign.