3 Ways to Develop Unstoppable Advertising Concepts

Are you an advertising creative who feels like you spend countless hours brainstorming the perfect concept for an ad, but find that after pages and pages of ideas not a single concept sticks? Maybe you find yourself swimming in ideas, but your creative director or client just isn’t buying it. Concepting in advertising is a fickle beast, but my time as the creative intern at Brownstein Group has provided me with 3 key insights into the process of brainstorming and getting an idea approved.

Insight #1: Think Objectively

I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but it’s never a good idea to get too attached to one particular idea. In my time sitting in and contributing to group brainstorms at Brownstein, I have found myself becoming attached to an idea without even realizing it. I have always prided myself on my ability to remain objective in the ideation phase, but as more people get their hands on my idea the more I realize how attached I have become.

One Thursday morning my team and I were tasked with coming up with a thirty second commercial spot for Brownstein’s number one client. As I sat down with the team, I was beyond excited to get the chance to work on such a fun project. Ideas were flowing and within an hour, our little team of three had over seventy ideas! Out of those seventy, we narrowed it down to about fifteen ideas that would make it to the first round of review. With five of those ideas being my own, I thought there was a good chance one of them might make it past the first round. Much to my surprise, all but three of the team’s ideas were scrapped, with just one of my concepts hanging on by a thread. After going back to the drawing board and reworking our concepts, my original idea was almost unrecognizable. I quickly came to realize this would be a common theme in the world of advertising. I had to remind myself that any idea would never remain my own, and collaboration can make an idea great. I am not creating to express myself. I am creating for a purpose, and my creations must meet the needs of the client. Your ideas will become infinitely more successful when you remember who you are concepting for!

Insight #2: Remember Who You’re Concepting For

When I remembered that my ideas were not for my own self expression, I began to really value the feedback I was given. Reminding myself that we are all working towards the same goal made it much easier to hand my ideas over to others. However, while it is likely that no idea will remain fully your own in the world of advertising, the saying “too many cooks in the kitchen” can still apply. With too many people giving their two cents, an idea can become convoluted and unclear. Not to mention, the person you present your ideas to, may not even be a creative person.

To improve upon my brainstorming process I began to ask myself, what does the viewer like, and what do they want to see? How can I strike a balance between my idea and what the viewer is seeking? Does my idea address the viewer’s needs and how can I show them the ways in which the concept is successful? Putting yourself in the shoes of the viewer helps you both come up with ideas that address the client’s needs, and also consider how you might sell your idea to those you’re presenting it to.

Insight #3: Learn to Sell It

What if you have successfully developed a unique and creative idea where you have implemented the feedback of others and are sure it addresses all of your client’s needs, but it still isn’t getting picked for production. Well, maybe you just aren’t selling it. No matter how good an idea is, if you don’t convey it in a compelling way, others may not see your vision. I have found it helpful to think about specifically who you are presenting the idea to. Ask yourself what is most important to the specific person I am speaking with and how can I highlight the facets of my idea that align most with this viewers desires.

Concepting and brainstorming is an every evolving process, and it can be discouraging at times, but it can become easier as you learn to play the game. My time at Brownstein Group has taught me to remain objective, remember who I’m creating for, and how to sell my ideas. In keeping these three insights in mind, I have noticed my concepting skills reach new heights. With these fundamentals for developing advertising concepts, anyone can create unstoppable ideas!

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