It’s that time of year when many companies are planning fun, seasonal print campaigns for the upcoming holidays. Our team at PrismTech is happily assisting some of our clients with certain concepts, ensuring all the logistics are properly worked out and the translation from idea to print goes smoothly. We’ve worked on several holiday campaigns over the years. It’s always fun to do something neat or different, but sometimes it can be taxing to generate new ideas year after year. You’re not alone if you’re wondering what your company should do this year.
Here are a few brainstorming methods you can use to get your creative juices flowing and generate fresh ideas for this years’ holiday print campaign.
Ask questions (even dumb ones)
The reason humanity has come as far as it has is because select pioneers have stopped to ponder and ask questions. Not accepting things as they seem, but instead challenging current circumstances and assumptions. Einstein's thinking illustrates the importance of asking questions:
“If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”Albert Einstein
There are many ways to go about compiling a list of questions. A good place to start is by asking “What if” questions, which are great for challenging assumptions and opening previously unexplored avenues.
The key is to be open to any and all questions that pop up—even seemingly “dumb” questions. Someone once asked these “dumb” questions, with wildly successful results:
What if we bottled water and sold it? (Bottled water industry)
What if rocks were marketed as pets? (Pet Rock)
What if there was a blanket with sleeves? (Snuggie)
What if there was a website that sold each pixel of “advertising” space for $1? (Million Dollar Homepage)
What if instead of flicking a switch, you could “clap” lights on and off? (The Clapper)
These are just a few of the “silly” ideas that made it big, but clearly asking questions is a smart way to kickstart creative thought.
Sometimes in order to reach that “Aha!” moment, you need to take an existing idea, thought, or convention and turn it on it’s head. There are certain tools you can use to open your mind and let a flood of creativity pass through.
The acronym “SCAMPER”, for instance, is a brainstorming tool that is typically used to generate ideas for new products and services. The SCAMPER framework stands for:
- Put to another use
Substitute anything boring with something surprising or new.
Combine successful elements from 2+ other sources.
Adapt a winning logo, phrase, or other from something already existing.
Modify, minimize or magnify one element.
Put it to an unexpected use.
Eliminate an element that you think has seen better days.
Reverse or redefine any part of message, appearance, etc.
For a more detailed list of questions under each of these actions, click here.
It takes some practice to become a great brainstormer and creative thinker, but thankfully these skills can be honed with various tools. In his book “Thinkertoys”, Michael Michalko outlines a number of creative brainstorming exercises and tools that can be applied in many situations, and should be read by every marketer and creative at some point.
Many people read or hear the word meditation and roll their eyes, believing it to be an ineffectual waste of time. In most cases this is because they have never actually taken the time to meditate—never experiencing the results for themselves.
When is the last time you have actually set aside 10 or 20 minutes to just sit and think, dedicating that time solely for that and nothing else? Most people never have. And that’s a missed opportunity, because along with many other benefits, scientific evidence shows that meditation makes you more creative.
Thomas Edison, one of the greatest thinkers of the 19th and 20th centuries, engaged in a form of meditation that resembled what are known today as “power” naps. Maybe we all need to fit in more power naps during the day!
Click here for meditation techniques and steps for beginners.
The bottom line:
Sometimes the best print campaigns come from unconventional thinking. "What if" questions, the SCAMPER framework, and meditation are just a few of a myriad of idea generation techniques available.
What’s most important is not which technique is most effective, but being bold enough to try one in the first place.
If you need some help and would like to bounce some of your print campaign ideas off good listeners, our team at PrismTech would be happy to help and assist in turning them into a reality. Feel free to call 604 421 9757 or toll free at 1.877.276.1744.