Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Marketing Today: “What Works?”
Core Belief #1: Brand Is Foundational
Third article in our series Marketing Today: What Works. View our second article, Avoiding the Weeds.

My adventure pal, Wyatt
Modern marketers know we no longer “own” our brands. They live in our customers’ minds. So in a social media-driven world of high transparency, just how important is the concept of brand? Further, how important is your brand culture to your marketing success? To answer both queries in a single word, very.

Brand is foundational.

And brand culture is the internal core upon which smart, strong modern brands are built. It’s perhaps ironic that precisely because we don’t control the conversation, building an authentic brand culture and experience is more essential to brands than ever. Here’s why.

As the living, breathing soul of your company, brands must answer three deceptively simple questions. Who am I? What do I stand for? How do I make a difference?

In the past, it may have been enough for a brand to focus on creating external images—advertised images—which too often amount to little more than creative window dressing. Maybe connected to a brand’s culture or not. Campaign-oriented and occasionally brilliant. Also fleeting and easily copied. Worse, in an era of social media transparency, there’s nowhere to hide. Today, if your company and brand don’t know who you are—and live what you stand for—your hollow fa├žade will be revealed.

Brands create value many ways
Economically, brands provide utility (Cheerios satisfy my breakfast hunger) and convey status (Tesla says I arrived quickly and care about the environment).  

Brands also create value by providing meaning. Deeper than most storytelling, we’re talking about the myths and ethos that give us a sense of belonging. In essence, the culture behind the brand. (Creating Value: The Theory and Practice of Marketing Semiotics Research by Laura R. Oswald. And more immediately accessible, Signs,strategies, and brand value, Laura Oswald, Oxford University Press Blog, April 13, 2015.

We humans have a deeply-seated need to belong, to find ourselves among and share experiences with fellow members of a community.  

What’s leverageable as a marketer is the idea that the closer a brand’s culture aligns with the way our customers and prospects see ourselves, the more we want to be a part of that culture. To belong. To define our brand tribes. (Plural because luckily we can belong to many.)

Taken to the next step, this thinking tells a brand the more we can identify, nurture and drive a culture, the more we position ourselves as separate from competitors and the more we create a genuine sense of long-lived community. So what if we can’t “own” our brand. We can foster a community. And that’s a bigger idea.

A recent example illustrates
And because brand culture isn’t just for big brands like Apple or Coke or Harley-Davidson, I’m going to use a smaller brand. One whose culture I recently found to be no less robust.

Ruffwear dog gear.

The Ruffwear community enjoying their adventures.
To quote their mission, these folks, “build dog gear to enhance and inspire exploration for outdoor adventurers and their human companions.”

We recently experienced this brand first hand when, on a friend’s recommendation, we bought a harness at retail, and later a jacket and boots online, for our friend Wyatt. Those are his photos up front along the frozen shores of Lake Michigan on our everyday adventure to explore and play. Because I had questions about suitability and fit, I phoned and separately emailed Ruffwear for advice. In both responses Ruffwear’ “ambassadors,” as they call them, showed real interest in Wyatt and our together adventures. Advice was spot on as well.  

OK, Wyatt and I like their products and their service. We experienced their website. Putting on my marketer hat, I checked out the Ruffwear culture. Ruffwear staff lives the adventure every day with their canine companions. And so does the Ruffwear community. See for yourself on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more.

Recently named by Outside Magazine one of, “The Best Places to Work" these folks truly live their brand and support their community.

Here's the punchline
Lots of businesses make quality products for dogs. Few have as meaningful a brand mythology. If you love dogs and you love outdoor adventures, the Ruffwear brand culture gives you a sense of community. A place to belong. And that’s bigger than just “owning” the brand.

“Nothing ever becomes real ‘til it is experienced.”
                               –John Keats

We’ve had the privilege of working as brand catalysts, helping organizations of all sizes think deeply about their brands and culture. So where do you start?
Step away from your data dashboards for a moment and get out of your office. Experience your brand as your customers and prospects do. Take their journey. Google your brand. Buy it at retail. And online. Really live your brand. Enjoy it. Hike it. Drive it. Bust it. Return it. Phone, text and Tweet customer service. Join your own community as an active member. See if you’d want to be an active, integral part of your brand culture—and why!

Smart marketers and great brands do this. Because brand is foundational.

Also view our earlier postings on the vital marketing topic, "What Works." and "Avoiding the Weeds."

Paul Hydzik
Brand Catalyst

Trust statement
The author is neither a paid nor unpaid endorser of Ruffwear. Prior to the publication of this article we have had no contact with Ruffwear other than as a consumer who has bought their products and enjoyed their brand.

Additional references    
·        The Culting of Brands: Turn Your Customers Into True Believers, Douglas Atkin
·        The Power of Belonging, Said Aghil Baaghil
·        A New Brand World: Eight Principles for Achieving Brand Leadership in the Twenty-First Century, Scott Bedbury and Stephen Fenichell

Wyatt images:  (c) 2017 Paul J. Hydzik All rights reserved. Ruffwear website and social media images belong to Ruffwear and their community members.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Marketing Today: "What Works?"
Avoiding the Weeds

As marketers it’s easy to get mired in details and find yourself deep in the weeds.

“What Works?” and evil twin, “What’s Working Now?” are always on our minds. Internet advice is free. Top 10 lists and clever infographics abound. We are told ad nauseam, “Advertising is dead.” “Social media is king.” “Content is king.” “Video posts perform higher.” “Big data solves all.” “Just download our eBook.” And a hundred others. Still a gnawing gut feeling remains.

The goal of our “What Works” series is to target a weed-less big picture.

Tactics and execution matter. Yet drivers are key. Our first posting in this series promised a look at foundational thinking. Beliefs that offer informed direction no matter a brand’s business challenges—and, we might add, opportunities. We aim to make good on that pledge.

Our next posting will take up with #1 of a small set of core marketing beliefs. Beliefs to which my agency teams—and clients—turn. Because we find they work. Time and again.  Across industry verticals. Generating needed marketing solutions, creating fresh opportunities and satisfying business objectives with real-world results. Replacing worries of accountability with celebrations minor and occasionally major.

Stay tuned. Feel free to agree and disagree. We never claim all the answers. Your path may have paved similar and different directions. Great for you! So share. The marketing community is competitive and supportive.

As amends for my meanderings, a hint. Belief #1 ain’t tactical. It gets right to the heart. Meanwhile, let’s both try to avoid the weeds.

Paul Hydzik
Brand Catalyst

Image and blog © Paul J. Hydzik All rights reserved.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Marketing Today: What Works?

Over spring rolls and Pho at a neighborhood Vietnamese mom-and-pop, a new client asked a deceptively simple two-word question about marketing today. She asked,

“What works?”

Actually, this may be the question for all modern marketers—especially with ever-expanding social media options and data-driven marketing’s ascendancy.

We chatted for an hour discussing numerous what-ifs based on her blue chip client-side leadership and my mix of big agency and client-side work. Among our shared successes we proposed dozens of sure things. Brilliant branding. Smart strategies, tactics and tools. Audience insights and segmentation. Creativity and content. We discussed brand culture and the roles of talent, innovation and risk-taking. Plus data, predictive analytics and marketing automation. Sophisticated marketers and aspiring ones. Big and tightly-focused budgets.

Our discussion’s wealth illuminated too many factors to be foundational thinking. So I set about to capsulize a modern set of core marketing beliefs. Beliefs that would offer informed direction no matter what a brand’s business challenges.

Funny how fundamentals become automatic—like an athlete’s muscle memory. Until jogged, we can forget foundational thinking is something our clients crave from their agency partners.

Between assignments, I penned, tossed out, fretted with clients and reimagined a core of seven modern marketing beliefs. Adding rigor, I tested them against current process and results—and went back to the well to ensure some measure of future-proofing—until comfortable they reliably drive client success.

Look for our next postings as I share these beliefs. Meanwhile, challenge yourself, your marketing team, your creatives and your social media and brand agency partners.

Ask, “What works.” Then ask, “When and why?”

Paul Hydzik
Brand Catalyst

©2016 Paul J. Hydzik  All rights reserved

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Rose Is a Rose Is a Brand

Crain's Chicago Business has an interesting video report, Rose in Bloom, on Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose and his potential as a brand.


Paul Hydzik grows brand value. As a brand marketer and award-winning creative leader, Paul has more than 15 years of experience driving business success from start-ups to blue chips. His strategic resume covers all aspects of B2B and B2C branding from go-to-market to consumer insight to identity development and all forms of marketing communication.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Obstacles Are Only In Your Mind

Boundaries...Walls...Fences...Small budgets...Short time lines...Personal limits...Insane bosses...Tough clients...Wacky agencies...Impossible challenges.

They're all in your mind.

Our previous two posts (Brainstorming Part I and Part II) talked about how to free your mind and break through to never-been-done-before solutions. In that same spirit, free your mind visually with this amazing Danny MacAskill video.

Be inspired and achieve the impossible. Go over. Go around. Go through. Fix the problem. Be in harmony with. Break the rules. Try another way. Try and try again. Do or do not. And let me know if you'll ever look at a fence the same way again.

Video: ©2009 Danny MacAskill.
Blog: ©2009 Paul J. Hydzik. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Paul Hydzik grows brand value. As a brand marketer and award-winning creative leader, Paul has more than 15 years of experience driving business success from start-ups to blue chips. His strategic resume covers all aspects of B2B and B2C branding from go-to-market to consumer insight to identity development and all forms of marketing communication.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Brainstorming—Part II: Making it Go

Techniques that work and what to do with all those ideas you generate.

In our previous installment, “A Dozen Reasons Your Brainstorm Sessions Don’t Work,” we examined the why most of us, at one time or another, are disappointed by the results of our brainstorming. We covered everything from problem definition to ground rules and expectations to who, when and how.

In Part II, we’re going to look at some proven techniques. Interestingly, in their own way, each automatically solves many of the key brainstorming issues—as well as produces loads of ideas. Then we’ll quickly look at how you turn these ideas into incredible, creative solutions.

With a nod to the Nike, “Just Do It” tagline, brainstorming is simpler if you follow these suggestions.

Do it Fast!

Speed is very freeing. Recall from our earlier installment that judging early creates fear of failure and stifles creativity. When you work fast, you don’t have time to judge ideas as they develop. Just write them down and move on. So you keep fear of failure and negativity out of the picture long enough to get fresh thoughts on the table.

You also generate loads of ideas. That’s good because in brainstorming, more is better. You get the law of averages on your side. The more ideas, the better your chance of having a stunner in the bunch.

How fast is fast? How about 20 ideas in five minutes?

That’s a new idea every 15 seconds. Can’t be done, right? Wrong. My brainstorm teams do it again and again. In the space of an hour, with multiple small groups, they routinely develop several hundred ideas! Much to their delight and surprise, I might add.

Do it Again!

Your team has just come up with 20 or more ideas. Give them a moment to be proud of themselves. More than likely they never believed it could be done in the first place. So let them bask in the glory for a bit. Then ask them to select their two or three favorites and share why they think they’re the best. Discuss how they turned something on its ear and broke rules.

Now have them mentally “toss them out!” The whole 20. And brainstorm again. (See why stopping at the first good idea is a big problem in our first installment.) Before any complaints can begin, prod your team, “Twenty MORE ideas. Five minutes. Go, go go!”

Generally, the first round or two gets the expected solutions out of the way. The best stuff usually—but not always—comes later.

Do it Wrong!

It’s tough to come up with brilliant, breakthrough ideas and solve tough problems. The very thought is intimidating. But one thing we all know how to do is to do things wrong. To make mistakes.

Use this to your advantage. Have your brainstorm team, “Do it Wrong” and come up with awful, simply terrible, ideas. It’s fun to see who can come up with the absolute worst and watch what happens. Suddenly there’s no pressure to be brilliant and generating ideas is easy and fun. Immediately your team is loose. In a happy place. And productive!

Once you’ve gotten the worst down on paper, make a U-Turn. Have the team select favorites and turn those ideas around—into great ideas.

Do it Weird!

Pick a color or an object. Any color. Or any object. When you need a new idea, get away from anything remotely familiar and start someplace entirely new. The weirder, the better. New places allow you to make brand new connections. You have no expectations or preconceived limits on where your thoughts can take you.

For example, let’s say your group picks the color red. Have them make a list of everything red. A red rubber ball. Lipstick. Stop light. Red door. Bullseye. Fire truck and fire hydrant. A red and white striped barber pole. Raspberries and apples. Early morning airline travel on the “red eye.” Visine (speaking of red eye!). Red Rover Red Rover.

Use your “red” list to make connections with and trigger solutions to your problem. Will this work? You bet. Because the best thing about “weird,” it puts everyone off their guard. They’re in a strange new place where bold new thoughts are welcome.

Do it with a Genius!

Ask your team, “How would Albert Einstein solve this problem?” Or Marie Curie? Or Igor Stravinsky? Or Pablo Picasso? Each of these incredible minds brought a new approach to the world in a different field and by a different means. Through imagination. Through insight and perseverance. Through expressive rhythm. Through the fracture of representational rendering.

Part of the reason you and your team feel like you can’t solve the problem is that you don’t expect to have the answer. You haven’t had it before, so why should you have it now? Step outside yourself and turn to a genius for your solutions.

More helpful hints

  • Be obvious. Consider this option—especially when you’re dealing with people who have loads of expertise. First thing you do before you really begin brainstorming, invite your teams write down every solution they already know. Gets the known stuff out of everyone’s systems quickly. Then at last, you can prepare for fresh thinking.

  • PostIt! Have your teams write each idea on its own little sticky note. Use separate colors for each team, if you like. Post them on the wall or a big sheet where everyone can see them. Why separate notes for each? So you can easily combine them and build on them, and organize and categorize them later.

  • Compete. At the start, announce a little friendly competition between teams to get the adrenaline flowing. This is another reason I like brainstorming with small teams of three to five people. See which team can come up with the most ideas. The worst ideas. The weirdest ideas. The least ideas. Give awards. Dinner. Theater tickets. Give the losers an incentive, too. Like buying coffee for the winners.

  • Treat yourselves well. Bring coffee and healthy snacks. Tell folks to dress comfortably. Take shoes off. (OK, maybe. Maybe not. I don’t know your group!) Get away from the desk and get rid of the conference table. They’re too formal. Gather your chairs into small clusters, one for each group. Play music or otherwise stimulate your team’s creativity. See our earlier posts, “Want to be more creative? Be less comfortable.” and “Be more creative…do something different.” for more ideas.

  • Embrace failure. Am I saying I want your brainstorming effort to fail. No. What I want you to do is to create an environment in which it’s OK to fail at least some of the time. An environment where risk is rewarded. Think about it. All the world’s greatest talents and minds fail. Sometimes often. The best hitters in Major League Baseball fail in more than two out of three at bats. They risk swinging big and their coach wants them to swing big! The coach knows a big home run hitter is going to strike out…a lot. But when they connect, it’s out of the park. And that’s what you’re looking for isn’t it? To hit one out of the park.

"Would you like me to give you a formula for... success? It's quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You're thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn't at all... you can be discouraged by failure—or you can learn from it. So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because, remember that's where you'll find success. On the far side."

--Thomas J. Watson, Founder of IBM

Now that you’ve got tons of ideas. Now what?

Before you wrap up your brainstorm sessions, you might have hundreds of ideas. All in random order. It can feel like a real mess. How do you take all these “baby ideas” and nurture them into mature concepts that can stand critical scrutiny.

  • Combine and categorize. Work with your teams to separate ideas into three to five clear categories. Here’s where having each concept on an individual PostIt! really helps. If you find some of the ideas defy categorization. Don’t force it. Free-floaters are often good bridges and connectors. Combine them with other strong ideas. By looking at categories you also identify areas that were not well covered during the initial brainstorming session—or an important area that was missed entirely. Categories can also help you make a strategic link back to your objectives so you can check to see that you’re on target.

  • Pick leaders. Have your teams vote on the strongest ideas in each category. Talk about why they’re so strong. See what common threads exist among the leading ideas. And what’s different. What about the ideas that don’t come out on top? Aren’t they a waste? Absolutely not. Those ideas are part of the process and help springboard people to make new connections and more novel ideas.

  • Improve and strengthen. Brainstorming is more of a process than an event. You’re trying to do something, create something or solve something that’s never been done before. Game changing ideas are worth the investment in effort and a little more time. You haven’t failed because the first brainstorm session didn’t produce a final product. What you’ve done is set the stage for success. Take a break and plan Round 2. Use the categories, leaders and common threads to direct your next session.

  • Empower the team to finish the ideas. Too often I’ve seen the leaders of brainstorm sessions take the ideas away from the team and either develop them by themselves or to hand them to others. That’s really demoralizing to the team because it sends the message that they’re not good enough to pull the ideas through. So resist that temptation. Empower the team to grow the ideas themselves—and make them responsible for hitting the target.

Trying other things

Picasso once said, “God is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant and the cat. He has no real style, He just goes on trying other things.” Good advice for brainstorming. If you want new solutions you’ve got to try other things. Give some of the suggestions from Brainstorming Part I and II a try and turn disappointment into amazement.

Art: Pablo Picasso, “Landscape with Bridge” 1909 from Artchive, “Portrait of Stravinsky” from the Internet Public Library, “Les Echecs” 1911 from Online Picasso Project.

Blog content: ©2009 Paul J. Hydzik. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


Paul Hydzik grows brand value. As a brand marketer and award-winning creative leader, Paul has more than 15 years of experience driving business success from start-ups to blue chips. His strategic resume covers all aspects of B2B and B2C branding from go-to-market to consumer insight to identity development and all forms of marketing communication.

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Dozen Reasons Your Brainstorm Sessions Don’t Work

At one time or another, you’ve been disappointed by the results of a brainstorm session. We all have. The problem is, what to do about it.

Perhaps you feel that you’ve just never been great at inspiration. Or you don’t feel like your team is all that creative. Perhaps you blame the idea of brainstorming itself. (That’s right, blame the tool. It’s the hammer’s fault you bashed your thumb!)

Brainstorming is a process and a skill and there are some common reasons it may not be working for you. Every time. See if these thoughts don’t break you and your team out of your rut.

1. It’s a problem of “problem definition.”

The first key, if you want better results, is to define your problem better. Too often, teams rush into a brainstorm session without adequate strategic thought. “Quick, the client needs a solution by 3:00” is a recipe for disappointment!

The best solutions are the result of asking the best questions.

Quiz yourself: Are you just after an incremental gain—or do you want to break through and change the rules of the game? If you answer with the latter, then you’re heading the right direction. Go deep. Wide. And long.

Brainstorming is not about small ideas. It’s about generating great, big, bold, scary new ideas. Stuff that’s never been done before. And the better you define the problem, the better you’ll brainstorm the big ideas you need to create fresh new solutions.

2. Forgetting the ground rules.

When you’re trying to break the mold it may seem counterintuitive that you need ground rules. But you do. Try these:

  • Define the problem and set objectives.
  • Give everyone a brief background to digest beforehand to prime the mind.
  • Loosen everyone up and engage them with the subject at the start. Say, you’re brainstorming a new chair design. Have your team spend the first minutes talking about chairs. What they like. What they hate. Cool chairs. Boring chairs. Do something fun. Suspend a chair from the ceiling. Have a chair race. If folks are smiling and laughing and freely talking about the subject, you’ve done it just right.
  • Leave titles at the door. Everyone is equal in a brainstorm session and no one is more expert than another. This goes for the facilitator, as well. The facilitator is there to keep the ideas flowing. Not to be a subject matter expert.
  • Absolutely no judgment or criticism of ideas during the session (If you can have only one rule. This is it!).
  • Building on others’ ideas is encouraged. Highly!
  • Set a time limit.

3. The wrong people. Or too many of ‘em.

All kinds of people can be surprisingly and extraordinarily creative when you manage your brainstorm session right. But someone who cannot set aside negative or judgmental feelings will hurt your progress. If you find yourself with someone who continually tramples ideas, make sure they know the ground rules. And if they still don’t get it, politely un-invite them. They’re not helping you.

So who do you invite? Invite a mix of good thinkers, people you trust to be enthused by the subject matter and people outside your normal sphere of influence. It’s good to create a new mix. People who don’t all know one another or what to expect.

What’s a good, productive number of people with which to brainstorm?

A small handful. Three to five, highly active and energized participants. That’s all you need. Too many people is actually worse than too few.

I recall being invited by the leader of separate client group to a brainstorm session for a new product launch. When I walked in the door there were already more than a dozen people. After a few minutes the brainstorm group mounted up to a total of 35 people. What happened? Fewer than 10 of those people became active contributors. The rest hung back. Not because they didn’t have ideas. I knew many of these people to be strong concept people. No, they hung back because they could. It’s easy to hide or to think others have better ideas when a group is too large. The result: Time wasted. Brain power misplaced. Potentially great ideas lost.

Got more people? Break them into teams. Have them cluster in different spots in the room. Or hold separate sessions with each group. Use them to expand the territory instead of covering the same ground over and over. Use them to build on ideas.

4. The wrong time.

Brainstorming is a high energy activity. So hold them when people have the greatest energy. Not right after lunch or at the end of the day when energy is low.

Keep your brainstorm sessions rather short, too. Think of brainstorming like running a sprint. Or a series of sprints. You want loads of energy and speed right off the gun. But you can’t run at sprint speed for a marathon brainstorm session.

5. The wrong energy.

Negative energy absolutely withers participation and kills ideas. Brainstorm sessions should be relaxed and fun. Like game play. It’s hard to downplay the significance of one negative apple in a brainstorming bunch.

So be positive or go home. Build on ideas or leave them alone.

6. Forgetting to forget what you know.

You’re trying to discover new ideas and breakthrough solutions in a brainstorm. What you know—old ideas, old ways and old solutions—get in the way. So invite all the subject matter experts you like. Just be sure they know the ground rules. No experts! And no, “You can’t do that because…” kind of thinking.

This can be deceptively difficult to do.

Pablo Picasso once said, “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.”

If you’re going to blaze an entirely new trail, you need to free yourselves of what you know. Forget budgets. Forget time constraints. Forget what’s possible. What you’re shooting for is the “impossible.” Don’t let reality get in the way. There’ll be plenty of time for that later.

7. Too few ideas.

Quantity rules! The more ideas, the better. The more unusual or contradictory an idea, the better. Make waves. Encourage wild ideas. Don’t worry about “bad” ideas. Remember no ideas are bad ideas during a brainstorm session. In fact, any idea can be a springboard that gets someone to make a connection to a concept that leads another person to leap ahead to THE big idea.

Striving for quantity also helps focus the team on generating and building ideas—the task at hand—rather than criticizing them. Which keeps everything positive and growing.

8. Judging early.

Criticism makes people hesitant to share their ideas. Think about it. If someone continually knocks your thoughts, how do you feel?

You feel fearful.

You worry that you're going to be criticized. That your ideas don't measure up. So how inclined are you to share new ideas? The simple answer is less. And that's not what we want. We want more. Bigger. Wilder. Better.

There’s a time for judgment. It’s after the brainstorm. Not during! Ever.

9. Being too restrictive.

Another form of judging early. If you narrow your range down, you’ll narrow down your solution set. Brainstorming is not the time to be focused and narrow. It’s a time to be open and receptive.

10. The wrong expectation.

Brainstorm ideas are not finished works. They’re fresh, green, immature.

Someone once suggested that we should think of brainstorm ideas as baby ideas. I love this analogy because you don’t expect the same things from a baby that you do from an adult. Of course, not. You nurture a baby. Foster it and help it to thrive and grow. And so you should with brainstorm ideas. Don’t expect baby ideas to stand up to adult scrutiny. Remember, it’s not good to judge early. Get out there are feed those baby ideas.

11. Stealing the joy of birthing a great, big idea from the team that birthed it.

Two kinds of thievery exist, here. Glory hounds. And Control Freaks.

Brainstorming is a social act of generosity. Once someone develops a glory hound reputation, their teams know it. And suddenly that team becomes cautious with their ideas. Why share your best thoughts when you know so-and-so is going to “steal your idea” and take credit for it? Great brainstormers are not in it for the personal glory.

Control freaks are just as damaging.

They like to take the brainstorm ideas from the team and then go back to their little cube and “work it out.” Here’s a better suggestion. Why not have the team that develops an idea push it further? More about how in our next installment.

12. Stopping at the first good idea when what you need is a great idea.

Good is just plain dangerous. Because it can prevent you from reaching for a great idea.

So try this. Once you’ve generated a bunch of ideas. Throw them out. That’s right. Toss ‘em aside and have the team continue to brainstorm. Tell them there’s good stuff in here, but we’re working for great! Again and again, the best ideas come after everyone gets the initial thoughts out of their system. The first thoughts are usually the expected things. The ones closest to what you know. The ones you may have heard of before. The ones still in charted waters.

So push for greatness. Especially when you have a good idea in hand.

Check back for our next installment, Brainstorming-Part II: Making it Go where we’ll pick up with brainstorming techniques that work and what to do with all those ideas you came up with.

Artwork: Pablo Picasso, Still Life with Guitar, 1922. Oil on canvas. Galerie Rosengart, Lucerne, Switzerland, from Olga's Gallery. Picasso Factory at Horta de Ebro 1909. Drawing, Femme.

Blog content: ©2009 Paul J. Hydzik. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


Paul Hydzik grows brand value. As a brand marketer and award-winning creative leader, Paul has more than 15 years of experience driving business success from start-ups to blue chips. His strategic resume covers all aspects of B2B and B2C branding from go-to-market to consumer insight to identity development and all forms of marketing communication.