Though it may seem counterintuitive, setting guidelines can actually help provide your brainstorm team with the freedom to express themselves in a thoughtful exchange of ideas. At DMA, we believe that every voice matters, and each person can contribute to improving our services to our clients. Thus, our goal is to make sure everyone in the room feels heard and as though their perspective is valued. We have found much success in running our brainstorms while employing the following guidelines for promotions—we hope they help bring your promotions to the next level and bring you much brainstorming success!
Set a short meeting of the minds with a small, diverse team
- Keep the number of brainstormers to a maximum of 5 when possible.
- Short meetings work best for brainstorms, so keep it to no longer than 20 minutes if possible!
- Invite a diverse group to your brainstorm!
Varied viewpoints and specializations will help bring new and refreshing ideas to the table, so consider this when selecting your group of participants. Additionally, consider the role each participant plays in your company and focus in on their talents and expertise. For example, if you have a colleague who is on the pulse of the latest trends (or one who is the complete opposite), consider adding them to the meeting invitee list. Does your promotion have a social media component? Be sure to bring in a social media specialist who you may not collaborate with often, or even just someone who is well versed in social ads and trends!
Inform the brainstorming team of your goals well in advance of the meeting
Ultimately, the goal of your meeting is to walk away with solid ideas that will help you complete a promotion plan. Promotion plans often include the following sections, so these are good objectives to tee up ahead of time:
- Contest call to action
- Social content
- Website landing pages and forms
- Public relations strategy
Be clear that you want to walk away from the meeting with thoughtful input for each section, and encourage everyone to arrive with 3 pre-considered ideas to share. If your goal is to brainstorm a new spring promotion that borrows from elements in a past promotion, give your team all the context they need by email in advance of the meeting. Attach a copy of the past promotion plan, explain your thoughts on which elements you want to keep and which you want to revisit, and lay out all elements they should come prepared to speak to.
Facilitate the free flow of ideas
When your meeting begins, remind your team of the meeting’s goal and encourage everyone to jot down any and all notes and thoughts that come to mind as each team member shares their ideas. As the mediator of the meeting, it also is important to keep in mind the different personalities in the room. Extroverts may feel ready to speak up while introverts may not feel as willing to take the floor, so help guide the flow of conversation by setting ground rules, such as the fact that everyone has an opportunity to speak (i.e. be mindful of accidental interrupting, even when a spur-of-the-moment idea comes to mind).
Lead the team in discussion
By now, your team knows what your expectation is for the meeting. They have come prepared to your meeting and understand the sections of the promotion plan you are working to complete. Now is the time to establish an energy in the meeting that allows for the free flow of ideas within your structured meeting time. Remind your team that beyond sharing their ideas, you look forward to everyone developing ideas organically as a group.
When leading a brainstorm, keep in mind the aforementioned aspects involved in successful promotion executions. Here are some helpful questions to help guide the discussion:
- Social efforts: How can we use social media to bring new people to the promotion? To better reach your target audiences?
- PR efforts: How can we best create media buzz around this promotion? What are some angles we’ve never used before?
- Call to action for consumers: What is the “ask?” What do we want our consumers to do (fill out a form, subscribe to a blog, etc.) in exchange for entry in the promotion?
- Prizes: How can we incentivize consumers to participate in our promotion? What’s hot, on-brand, and relevant right now?
- Promotion dates: Give your team a date for which you would like to launch the promotion—are there any seasonality components (whether potential opportunities or barriers) that you haven’t thought of?
- Design assets: Open the floor to possible design assets to accompany the promotion, from website to social media (and more!).
- Promotion name: Provide examples from past promotions and/or give insight into other promotion names that have inspired you—you can also have team members come prepared with examples of the same!
By incorporating these guidelines, your meetings will run more smoothly and everyone will leave the room having contributed to your promotion plan in a meaningful way. Enjoy these moments of creativity, and show gratitude to your team for their dedicated time and effort—after all, it takes the whole team to make the magic happen!
Have more to add? Leave us a comment below, or tweet to us at @TheCoreBlog!