We all know this, and ignore it at our peril, yet we still bullheadedly press on without answering this most fundamental question:
What’s The BIG IDEA?
You’re rolling out a marketing campaign. Launching a product. Revitalizing your brand.
What’s the big idea? Not to sound flippant, but you need one. Because without it, it’s likely your campaign, product launch, or brand repositioning won’t be memorable—or particularly effective.
“Today, it’s economically crucial to create something that’s beautiful, whimsical, or emotionally engaging,” writes Daniel Pink in his influential book A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future.
Whether you’re just starting out or farther along in the creative process, ask yourself the essential question: What’s the big idea?
Some key gems:
Start with the big picture. Make sure your campaign has that all-important concept: a satisfying story, an emotional theme, a memorable tagline, an incredible image.
Welcome all contributors. Don’t get cliquish or exclusive about who creates the big idea. It doesn’t matter where it comes from. It just matters that it’s there. See what happens when you get all parties involved – it can be messy and cumbersome, but it can also open the door to wildly exciting possibilities. Start wide. Narrow it down later.
Value simplicity. If your big idea is too complicated, no one will remember it. Or repeat it. Or share it. Or talk about it.
Consider all media
Big ideas transcend media and can easily be flexed in digital, print, radio, and broadcast channels. They’re bold, strong, and unified. Small ideas don’t have that breadth or depth.
Think about how your big idea will be executed in each media channel. Consistency is an extremely powerful marketing force. Your customers are receiving (or ignoring) messages in many channels. Make yours memorable.
Even if you’re not planning a complex multi-channel campaign, consider how your idea could play out in other media. It’s an excellent way to test the strength and staying power of your concept.
Remember your customer
Don’t fall in love with cool ideas that don’t matter to the customer. This is completely obvious—and frequently forgotten. Ideas can take on a life of their own and go spiraling off, especially when there’s a big creative team producing them.
Be sure to stop and ask the creative team: Do our customers care? Does this idea entertain, uplift, or inform them? Does it respect their intelligence—and value their time? Will it sell our product?
Support the strategy
This is another obvious, often overlooked, truism. In the quest to find that big idea, don’t—ever—lose sight of the business strategy. Great creative that doesn’t advance business goals is irrelevant. As Pink notes, “even in the realm of metaphor, it’s important to be true to science.”
Closing thought: No campaign is too small for a big idea. It’s the big idea that will help you win big.