My brain is getting bombarded with ideas from all sorts of different directions. I thrive on this and am constantly looking for ways to feed more stuff into the mix. This week was particularly fruitful as I got new stuff from:
- Clients (who shall remain nameless)
- The co-authors of the upcoming 3rd edition of that amazing book, "The New Leader's 100-Day Action Plan"
- CEO Boot Camp participants
- Leaders I interviewed for "The New Leaders Playbook" weekly column in Forbes
- Various partners, collaborators, friends, and foes
(By the way, "stuff" is a technical term that roughly translates into bits and pieces of information that can rattle around in the atom accelerator in my head until they connect with other bits and pieces of information to form the germ of an idea.)
Some of this week's idea germs include the power of creative briefs, laddering up to feelings, and flipping the perspective.
The Power of Creative Briefs
Forget the label. What's important is getting a head start by thinking things through in advance. Before you do anything, before you try to communicate anything, get clear on what you're trying to accomplish and the choices that should direct your actions or others actions. See the note on What Choices Direct Actions for more on this.
Things Norb Vonnegut, Richard Fain, Charley Shimanski, and the gang at Stern + Associates did and said this week reinforced for me the importance of creative briefs (or whatever you call them).
Ladder Up to Feelings
Anyone that's ever been through Copy College at Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG) or been trained by anyone that's ever been through Copy College at Procter & Gamble or disected and really thought about any advertising for any of Procter & Gamble's brands knows the value of driving communication to benefits instead of support points, features or attributes. This is classic stuff. People don't care about detergent. They care about cleaner clothes. They don't care about diapers. They care about drier babies.
The highest order benefits are feelings. Clean clothes make the person doing the laundry proud. Drier babies are happier.
Norb Vonnegut's fascinating stories and characters we want to spend time with are far more important than the Wall Street background that enables him to create these stories and characters.
Charley Shimanski and Richard Fain are far more focused on how they make people feel than what they actually say to them.
Steve Jobs' product introductions are justifiably legendary because anyone involved in them in any way knows that they are touching someone who has changed and continues to change the world. (If you want some examples of how to wow, re-look at the videos of the original Macintosh computer introducing its "father" in 1984 or Steve's introduction of the original iphone.)
Flip the Perspective
I've had a couple of situations this week where I or someone else stopped and looked at things in different ways. There's real power in asking questions like "What if?", "Why not…?", and "How might we…?" You know where this one's going.
Bottom line, make sure you're opening your own atom accelerators to new materials, wherever you can find them. You've got more seeds of ideas in your head than you know. Most won't turn into anything useful. But some will.