November 30, 2015
Your brand is one of the single most important pieces of your business. It’s the “x factor” that sets you apart from competitors, communicates your company values, translates your products’ voice, and lets your customers see themselves as part of your brand family. Help your marketing team infuse their work with this essence and create unified market strategies by brainstorming around common business goals together. And don’t worry; we’re not talking about tired or static brainstorming sessions. To get your team’s creativity flowing, here are our top five most inspiring brainstorming techniques.
5 Brainstorming Techniques
Brainwriting: One of the biggest reasons brands shy away from brainstorming techniques is the danger of groupthink. You’ve seen it happen before. The loudest, most passionate team member speaks up and everyone rallies around that one idea without pushing the brand challenge farther for innovative, new solutions. Brainwriting puts a new spin on brainstorming by giving your team brand elements and a strategic problem before your creative session. Team members write down their ideas and submit them ahead of time anonymously. During the brainstorming session, the moderator reviews each item and has the team tack on ideations to every new idea.
Customers for the Day: If your company sells cosmetics – spend a day getting makeovers with your products. If your company sells mobility software – encourage the team to work remotely from their favorite coffee shops. If your company sells sporting goods – take a group yoga class. Put your team in your customer’s shoes for a day, outside the office, to get them thinking about how they would want to solve problems if they were the customers. After they’ve gotten a taste of what it’s like to be your target audience, let the brainstorming begin.
Reverse Brainstorming: Before getting together to solve a common goal, have the team brainstorm what’s causing your brand not to meet its fullest potential or business goals. Spend time simply talking about the “why” without any emphasis on how to solve it. Once the team has identified the root, isolate the top 2-3 topics and brainstorm solutions for those. These type of brainstorming techniques force your team to look at the problem through different lenses and avoid jumping right to the obvious solutions.
Mind Maps: Help your team visualize your brand with a mind map. Start with a goal, topic, or idea at the center of a whiteboard or large piece of butcher paper. Have each team member create spokes from the central hub with ideas, questions, action items, and dependencies. Continue to build from each spoke like a spider’s web by connecting ideas, drawing links, and expanding each other’s thoughts.
Design Project Zero: Design Thinking is a Stanford brainchild and one of our favorite brainstorming techniques. Design Project Zero leverages prototyping, modeling, and iterative thinking to spark creativity. Their signature Design Project Zero is a structured, 90-minute brainstorming session that pairs people off before interviewing each other as a client persona. After the teams have interviewed each other, each person builds a solution prototype (arts and crafts included) based on their partner’s output. The results offer creative solutions to problem solving ideas that are uniquely brand-centric.
By encouraging your team to think together while thinking outside the box, you can drive deeper brand awareness and spark new ideas for problems your team never even knew existed.
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