We recently had a terrific creative presentation to a new client. One of the reasons this client hired Ideasicle was because of our promise to present at least ten ideas quickly. This client knew intuitively that his organization had some layers and some bureaucracy to navigate so playing a numbers game with the ideas seemed to make sense.

This way or that way?

This way or that way?

That’s certainly our experience, but it’s less about having multiple options and more about how those different options change the way clients think about the problem. We’ve seen the simple delivery of multiple ideas serve as a form of therapy for our clients. Each option is a different take on the assignment and forces our clients to look at the problem from each corresponding angle.

Ideas tease out the unexpected.

But this new client said something fascinating to me. After I presented the ideas (13 of them), one of the four clients in the room was so excited by the range of work he looked at his watch (it was 12:!5) and suggested that the team bring all of the ideas to his 1:00 meeting with their collective boss. There was some resistance, one client suggesting (reasonably) they get it down to a shorter list and go in with recommendations in a couple days.

After some debate the team agreed the ideas were good enough to go in with all of them at 1:00 and see what happens. I followed up the next day to see how it went and our client said this of the boss’ reaction to the ideas:

He actually gravitated towards things we never expected. 

Think about that. The boss gravitated towards things the rest of the team never expected. Had the team edited the ideas down to a few recommendations the boss may not have had the chance to gravitate towards the unexpected.

And that, my friends, is the power of the Ideasicle process. Creativity is so subjective that it’s impossible to predict what a particular client will like and dislike. It’s even more impossible to get those “likes” and “dislikes” into the creative brief. To us, it’s not a bad client who doesn’t know what they want until they see it, it’s just human nature. No one knows what they want—with anything—until they see it.

It’s about solving the problem and learning who you are.

The process of reviewing 10 ideas (or 13 in the case above) uncovers truths that our clients don’t even realize are there. As such, our ideas are both an end and a means to an end. Sometimes it takes many ideas—many territories—to realize one is just right.

It’s also why we always recommend two rounds of ideas with any kind of project. Because after the first round we have a good sense of what the client likes and dislikes and can approach round two with the team’s creative eyes wide open.

I love it when our ideas solve a marketing problem, sure. That’s the whole point. But I also love it when our ideas help our clients learn more about themselves, who they are and who they are not.

Nothing is unthinkable!

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WILL BURNS IS FOUNDER & CEO OF IDEASICLE, AND A FORBES CONTRIBUTOR.

Email Will or sign up for our monthly Ideasicle Newsletter, and whatever you do don’t go without a flurry of ideas when solving your next marketing problem.

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