Brainstorm Tips: How Marketers Can Think Outside the Box

brainstorming tipsAs a marketer, coming up with fresh ideas is a significant portion of your job. But it takes a lot of creative energy to consistently think up unique strategies and lay the groundwork for the next winning campaign, so it's no surprise that the well runs dry once in a while. 

That's where some brainstorm tips might come in handy. The Association for Psychological Science reported that in one study at the University of Texas at Arlington, people came up with 37 percent more ideas when working as a group than when working alone. 

Brainstorming sessions are crucial to igniting creativity, but as you've likely experienced, some meetings are more productive than others. 

To help stimulate more fruitful planning sessions, consider these brainstorm tips.

Start With an Icebreaker 

Being the first to speak up is nerve-wracking — even if you're surrounded by peers you see every day. That's why it can be helpful to loosen everyone up with an icebreaker.

Ask everyone to do 10 jumping jacks, partner up for a quick round of "two truths and a lie" or play a couple of your favorite (and appropriate) funny YouTube videos. As soon as everyone is chatting freely, you know they're comfortable enough to begin sharing ideas in front of each other. 

Try Gamestorming

Like an icebreaker, gamestorming is a way to get your team's creative juices flowing by encouraging them to move outside their comfort zones. There are plenty of different gamestorming activities, but one simple example is called Squiggle Birds.

Start by laying out a large piece of paper or poster board in the middle of a table and ask each person to pick up a marker and draw a quick, simple squiggle. Then, turn the paper clockwise and ask each person to transform their coworker's squiggle into a bird by adding only eyes, a beak, tail feathers and two feet. 

This quick exercise not only inspires visual thinking, it also taps into people's natural problem-solving abilities.

 Look Outside Your Industry

Every marketer knows the value of keeping tabs on what competitors are doing. But what about innovative, effective campaigns from brands totally outside your vertical? Just because you don't share the same audience or end goal doesn't mean there isn't a lesson to be learned.

Ask everyone to bring their favorite ad campaign to a brainstorming session and share why and how the ad engaged them. You might be surprised by how much a B2B tech company can learn from a popular beauty brand's recent video ad campaign.

Remember, the best brainstorming sessions are the ones that allow people to break free of the rules and decorum of a traditional meeting. By using these brainstorm tips, you can help your team start to think bigger and, more importantly, get excited about bringing their new ideas to life.

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