7.5 Tips for Becoming a Brainstorming Genius [VIDEO WEBINAR]

This webinar was given July 25, 2013.


Sara:  Hi and welcome everyone to our next…or to this installment of the Portent Webinar Series.  My name is Sara.  I’ll be your moderator for today’s webinar, which is 7.5 Tips for Becoming a Brainstorming Genius with Katie Fetting, our Brand Manager at Portent.  We would love it if you would all join in.  There are a couple of ways you can do that.  You can ask your questions with gotowebinar’s questions window or you can tweet your questions using the hashtag portentu.  Um, that’s #portentu and just so you know in case you miss out on any of today’s webinar or want to review it later, don’t worry, um, you’ll receive a follow up email, which will contain a link to this recorded webinar, a slideshow linked to the presentation slides, and a Bit.ly link bundle that contains links to the resources that Katie’s referencing here.  So without further ado, please join me in welcoming Katie.

Katie: Hello and thank you for attending my webinar.  So obviously genius is a bit of a stretch, but uh, I’m going to try to live up to it.  Anyway, here are the links for the Bit.ly.  What we’d like to do obviously at the conclusion of this is after a few questions and answers I’d like to get an interactive brainstorm going so tweet in product topics, ideas you want ruminated on, suggestions for other people’s topics or ideas they want ruminated on.  This is an experiment but it may prove really fun and enlightening (she says hopefully).  But first things first, just who is this Katie Fetting anyway?  Well first of all it’s me but to give you a little background (with dubious fashion sense obviously), but my brainstorming began early when I was called upon to explain a variety of weird occurrences in my home, for example why there was a puffy Cheetos stuck in my brother’s nose or who was playing in the car, left it in neutral, and walked off?  True story, they found it in a ditch.  Anyway, back then the result of my brainstorming was referred to as lying but now I like to call it creativity and they pay me for it.

I was a journalist from my sophomore year of high school until I was about 23.  I worked for a syndicate of small newspapers in Chicago after college, which is most noteworthy because we had very few resources, meaning I had to be very resourceful, which included a lot of brainstorming.  Actually once one of our photographers forgot to take pictures at a local play and I was forced to quickly brainstorm to cover a page of blank space.  I wound up spearing my hand with ink to make a bloody handprint.  In my defense it was for a play called Crime of the Century, which looked really cool when scanned but now I can’t commit any crimes in Illinois.

Then I became a screenwriter and I wrote two amazingly derivative, sub-par movies.  On the other hand, Hollywood loves amazingly derivative, sub-par movies so you would’ve thought I’d be more successful.  I did however write some unique scripts, which I brainstormed on non-stop.  I’m hoping to see them produced and released in honor of my 90th birthday.

And now, I’m the Brand Manager at Portent and a content dynamo.  Obviously one of those is an official title and the other one is slightly made-up.  I invite you to guess which.  But more than any of these things I am someone who has never given a webinar so if I stumble, if I fall, if I don’t take up the appropriate amount of time, please forgive me dear listeners.  Are you instilled with confidence?  Well then let us continue.

(My friend Josh made this odd bouncing man after two shots of bourbon and I’ve decided to leave it in.)

Notes on this webinar: first of all brainstorming is for everyone, not just content people and not just marketers.  Brainstorming is basically just problem solving.  If you think about it, MacGyver was an amazing brainstormer, constantly coming up with new and exciting ways to build bombs out of paperclips and gum and who knows what else.  I like to think of myself as MacGyver-esque though.  A few weeks ago at my mom’s house we were roasting some marshmallows and we didn’t actually have any spits so I basically sat there in our house imagining all the different things that could be spits and I finally came up with a hanger that I could straighten out, a wire hanger that I could straighten out and roast my marshmallow on, which worked pretty well.  So what does Joan Crawford know anyway?  But while MacGyver was a one-man brainstorm, I think brainstorming in groups usually presents better results.  A variety of viewpoints and ideas generally lead to the best outcome.

While brainstorming is for everyone, like I said, this presentation will focus on brainstorming for marketers, campaigns, blog posts, branding videos, speaking topics, well mostly because I’m a marketer and I’m guessing you are too.  But why this webinar?  Why are you really here?  Okay, so this is a slight exaggeration but I come from Hollywood remember, and so for every Inception there are a zillion Pirates of the Caribbean 17’s and Iron Man 43’s and every other type of man you can imagine.

For example Batman as an idea, as a character, is just Batman.  No matter how many times they remake it, he has the same alter-ego, he has the same tragic back story, the same skills; he’s basically the same core product.  Even the villains are often recycled so what’s the difference between Tim Burton’s films and Christopher Nolan’s?  The positioning of Batman.  Burton’s Batman is fairly upbeat and certainly less tortured, more in line with that ’60s television show and his alter-ego, Bruce Wayne, is downright nerdy.  This fits with Burton’s bright color pallet and gaudy gangsters, but Nolan’s Batman is damaged, dark, sorrowful.  His Bruce Wayne is a suave womanizer who seems to always know what to say, so his film is darker in tone and color and seems more rooted in reality – but it’s basically this same core product with a different interpretation and positioning.  So there are new ways to communicate a message even if the subject or product or service itself is familiar or even stale.  The art is in the telling, not in the subject of being told, what’s being told rather.

So to differentiate your product or service from your competitors you need to carve out a unique position in the market.  And how do you do that?  You need a brand.  And remember branding initially came from ranchers who had to separate their steer, basically their products, from others.  So what is Christopher Nolan’s unique positioning?  I think he thinks this is a complex, gritty take on Batman, you know, that both appeals to fans and film snobs.  And as people commented on at the time, he was trying to make something like The Godfather of superhero movies.  So your messaging needs to support this positioning.  The messaging that supports gritty Batman, he’s a character that’s tragically damaged and dwells in a world not unlike our own.  The horrors of his world are merely heightened versions of our own.  Content is then generated around that messaging and in this case the content is the film itself, the script, the art direction, the lighting, the cinematography, editing, music, you name it, and it’s basically the unified delivery of this new positioned Batman product.

But it all begins with brainstorming, trying to see something similar in a new light.  It should be noted in the case of the Batman narrative that Nolan didn’t actually do the positioning himself.  He basically based it, you know, largely off “The Dark Knight” Batman comic books, so he obviously had a lot of help.  So brainstorming is basically just one method of generating a fresh position or a message.

But so what?  Why would you want a fresh position or a message?  Remember when I said brainstorming was basically problem solving?  Well for marketers that problem is usually how do I separate myself from the pack?  How do I convince consumers that my widget is the best widget if all the widgets basically seem equal?  Well a fresh position or message is often the only way to differentiate yourself from your competition, which then, of course leads to greater visibility, likability, and consequently what we all care about, sales.

The characteristics of a good brainstormer: they’re open-minded, they’re willing to hear other people’s opinions and evolve their own, they’re creative, they can see things from fresh perspectives, they can develop connections other people can’t see, they’re educated and I don’t mean necessarily educated in the academic sense but they have a wide and broad background of experience to draw on, theirs or other people’s.  Um, they’re collaborative, they aren’t overly obsessed with putting their stamp on everything; this is the enemy of good brainstorming.  More on that to come.  Incidentally one of the reasons there are so many disjointed movies in Hollywood is everyone’s desire to put their stamp on it.

Secure, this goes along with open-minded and collaborative but they basically don’t see every amendment to their initial concept as an attack on their intelligence or talent.  And curious; curiosity may have killed the cat but it keeps us constantly evolving and striving for something new and better.  And the impression of new and better are two core necessities for brand positioning.

So what makes a bad brainstorm session?  Well avoid the following and hopefully you won’t have any: not verbalizing everything.  Yes, some of it may seem stupid or wacked out or downright unhelpful but it all is in the end.  You don’t know what will jog an idea loose from someone else and if you don’t try something you don’t get the failure out of the way.  Like our boy Tom Edison said, “I’ve not failed.  I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Two, dwelling in preconceived notions; you have to be open-minded.  Coming into a brainstorm with fixed opinions on what will or won’t work, that defeats the purpose entirely, which happens a lot in Hollywood.  People come in with a fixed idea of what they want, um, so much so, that they’re unable to consider other possibilities.  For example sometimes it’s just as easy to make your main character a woman and you might want to do this if say you have an actress interested in the part and you can’t get an actor.  But if you’re so entrenched in how you see the movie, like how you view the script, that, um, you can’t sort of be open to that opportunity, you basically don’t get your movie made.

Pulling rank; brainstorming has to be a democracy.  If only the top exec in the room can voice their opinion then no one else should be there.  We need to let everyone’s ideas breathe and then evaluate and categorize them later.  No one likes someone who hogs the conversation and talks over others, which is ironic right now given that I am having a one-way conversation.  On to the next one.

Don’t get caught up in the details.  Follow what people mean, not necessarily what people say.  Now isn’t the time to filter.  That comes later when you’re in a more analytical mindset.  So if someone gives a specific example like maybe saying a horse when you think it should be a dog, you know, just go with the spirit of what they’re saying, not necessarily the specific.

Number six, making someone feel dumb.  Don’t be intimidating.  Don’t inhibit your exchange of ideas by being overly critical or condescending.  Nobody likes to think that their idea was a bad one.

Blocking, this is somewhat like being down in the weeds and making someone feel dumb.  Blocking is when the other person just refuses to engage and puts up unnecessary roadblocks to the detriment of what you’re trying to accomplish.  Um, the term comes from comedy improv.  You know when you’re working with a partner, and ‘with’ is the key term, you need to feed off of each other.  There’s a concept called “yes and.”  When you’re finally with a partner and somebody starts with “remember last year when you were arrested” and your partner says something like “actually, I don’t remember that at all.  I don’t think you were arrested.”  That’s a block.  What your partner should’ve said is “yes I remember that, and…” they add something else that then you can feed off of.  So you don’t want to block people when they’re brainstorming.  You want to basically evolve their idea much like a comedy improv.

And seven point five, showing up too drunk or too sober and I don’t mean this literally.  Basically this is just about moderation.  Participate but don’t dominate.  Allow yourself to be flexible but don’t let it go too far off track and be ridiculous.

So I figure we should take a break now and so, I was going to tell a story, um, but as I was thinking up a story to tell here, I basically got blocked.  Every story I was brainstorming didn’t seem to really fit my topic.  I mean I could tell you about the time I forgot what Ketchup was or why my roommates in college put a roll of toilet paper outside their closet with the sign, “This is not a bathroom,” or the time I was pitching a movie to some executives and I could tell on page 2 of a 20-page pitch that they were bored and I had to keep going anyway, or the time I told Charlize Theron I didn’t write a script for her but if Nicole Kidman passed she’d be great, or the time I was hit by a car while sitting in a Chinese restaurant.  I could tell any of these stories but none seemed to fit… so that’s my story.  The point is sometimes self-referential works.  There’s almost always something you can write about even if it’s just writer’s block.

And now we’re back to our regularly scheduled programming.  Without further ado, the 7.5 Tips for Becoming a Brainstorming Genius and basically coming up with unique ways to approach content and deliver value to our clients.  Be self-critical.  Anticipate the criticisms of your brand and head them off.  You can use FAQs.  You can use complaints.  You can ask yourself “what is it people don’t like about your product or think they don’t like about it?  Is there a way to turn that into a positive?”  We have a client who is only accessible to Seattleites by ferry.  Many people find this annoying, they want to drive, it seems like a hassle, so we’ve crafted content around how fun ferries are, you know best board games to play on ferries, X reasons ferries are romantic, et cetera.  So answer questions and issues before they’re asked.

Two, think about your mom.  This is not my mom, by the way, Mom, if you’re listening.  Basically it can be your mom, your plumber, the weird guy standing in front of you at the Shell station.  What would appeal to these people?  My boss Ian Lurie says when he’s brainstorming he thinks about the last person he saw walking into work that day.  Well, Portent is located in Pioneer Square so that person could be just about anyone.  It might be a lawyer or a homeless fellow or a bail bondsmen or a sandwich engineer at Subway or, of course, some combination therein.  Generally I start with my target market and a goal relating to it and work backwards.  So say my target is working moms and my goal is social shares.  Um, what’s a hot button topic right now for a working mom?  Which channel should we push it through and on?  Is she more likely to be on Facebook or Pinterest, Twitter?  What do working moms look at?  Where can we find them?  I try to enter her mind.  If I were a working mom what would make me interested in X?  Craft your message around this.  Yes, it sounds basic but sometimes we forget to do it.  You become so buried in the message of your brand you forget what it’s like for the consumer.

Two point five, ask a little kid.  Little kids are great.  I mean just look at the AT&T campaign that they’re running right now.  I want a puppy brother.  I want to go to show and tell.  Kids ways of looking at things are so different you can’t help but be inspired by this out-of-the-box thinking.  I mentioned in my blog post how my seven-year old cousin said she wished she had a magnet in her back so she could sleep on the ceiling; amazing.  Kids love to be asked things and unlike adults will give you a straight answer.  For example me: do you like my haircut?  Kid: no.

Three, think about Tom Cruise.  Now use metaphors.  A great metaphor can make even the most tired topic seem fresh and can translate really heady topics into things that a consumer can understand.  So we had this client who wasn’t grasping a concept that our director of accounts was trying to explain.  She asked me how I would explain it to a lay person and the concept was this 70/20/10 theory on content strategy that gives basically an ideal ratio for creating different types of branded content.  The basic standard stuff that appeals to your existing consumer or customer, that would be like the 70 percent content, you know really safe.  It appeals to a lot of people. 20 percent should take that standard stuff but push the limit a bit, you know still be relevant to your audience but also reach out to others, have a solid point of view or challenge conventional wisdom.  Then 10 percent should be kind of revolutionary, explosive, and hopefully have the potential to go viral.  Something that’s outside of your comfort zone on occasions or maybe it just appeals to a different demographic altogether.  This is where your content and company grows.

So I looked for a metaphor that could possible explain this 70/20/10 idea, something that the average person could connect with and I came up with Tom Cruise because let’s face it: most of us have seen most of his movies and if we haven’t seen them, we still know what they’re about.  And he is a risk-taker on occasion but generally he sticks to his core competency, his core competency being sort of the cocky, lovable guy that by the end of the movie saves the day.  You know we’re talking Mission Impossible or, um, Top Gun, uh, I’m trying to think of another one…well Jack Reacher just came out.  He basically has like a very standard Tom Cruise style so that would be a 70 percent; his fans like him in that persona.  Reaching out to different fans but not getting too far outside the box he does things like, say, The Last Samurai or like Far and Away.  Far and Away particularly, he’s basically playing the same cocky, lovable dude, except that he is in a period film with an Irish accent.  So that’s taking his 70, still remaining true to the core of it but giving it a little spin.  But then sometimes he goes nuts and he does his 10 percent content and he does things like Les Grossman or Born on the Fourth of July or, um…what did he just do…Rock of Ages, and basically these are things that can fail epically like Eyes Wide Shut or they wind up getting you Oscar nominations like Born on the Fourth of July or Magnolia.  So basically I thought the average person could really latch onto that concept and understand how their brand’s content should be like his, that the 10 percent is going to be like a go big or go home and the rest of it is very regimented.

Anyway we turned it into an infographic for two reasons.  One, we couldn’t get the rights to the photos themselves, but two, we knew more people shared infographics and so what happened?  I pushed it out into the world and boom, Tom Cruise retweeted.  Sorry, this still just blows me away.  I had a Top Gun poster on my wall when I was eight and he retweeted this, if you notice, on Valentine’s Day, so it was pretty much just, you know, totally romantic for me and yes, I had lots of nice dreams afterwards.

Anyway, back to number four, research.  So whenever I’m jammed up for ideas I start surfing.  Ideas build on each other so staring at a blank Word document really doesn’t help anybody.  So browse new sites, bounce around Wikipedia, read your clients’ sites.  You never know where the inspiration is going to come from.  When I was a kid I had an Encarta CD rom, which just shows you how old I am.  Sarah looks like she has no idea what that is by the way.  I would get lost for hours clicking around.  It’s amazing how much you don’t know you don’t know until you look.  I mean how else would I know that Hitler wasn’t from Germany and Catherine the Great wasn’t from Russia?

Number five, you can use a tool.  There are plenty of tools out there to help writers get past the block, um, and in fact two of my coworkers, Isla McKetta and Rebecca Bridge, wrote a book of writing prompts for blocked novelists and poets that suggests things that I find amazing like eavesdropping on strangers for inspiration or using a piece of clothing to describe a character’s backstory.  And there’s no reason that marketing content folks can’t do the same.  At Portent we’ve created a Content Idea Generator that allows you to enter a keyword and creates a crazy title such as Why Webinars Should Be One of the Seven Deadly Sins.  A lot of them wind up being silly, um, like that one, but they can be great jumping off points and it’s pretty fun to boot.

Six, change your world.  Is this not the greatest stock art of all time?  There’s change, there’s a world; amazing.  Anyway there was an ad agency that used to covertly switch everyone’s desks every week or so to keep them from becoming too entrenched in one spot and mindset.  Other agencies have people sitting in canoes or conference room tables painted like basketball courts.  Why do they do this?  Well, because your environment does affect your creativity.  It affects the way you see the world.  To see things differently you need to change your perspective.  You need to go outside, breathe fresh air, go to a museum.  Live in all of your senses.  You’ll find your approach to your brand will be different; you’ll see it with fresh eyes.

When I was writing a scene for one of my scripts, um, yet another unproduced one, and I largely write thrillers by the way, I would try to match the space I wrote in to the scene I was writing.  For example I once had a fight sequence in a kitchen so I sat in my kitchen imagining all the ways I could do damage with various utensils.  I mean sure knives and frying pans are obvious but what would happen if you slammed some guy’s head with a wooden cutting board?  Anyway, my big finish included a can of Raid and a gas oven.  I’m not going to go into details.

Number seven, borrow.  Don’t steal people.  It’s really lame and usually illegal.  You need to make something your own.  I mean you wouldn’t steal the sugar from your neighbor.  You’d borrow it and make something better, maybe a cake or some cookies.  My movie Homecoming was supposed to be an homage to Fatal Attraction and Misery but it wound up coming off as more of a blatant rip-off because a lot of its unique features were cut in the editing.  At least that’s my story as the writer.  No one likes that.  Make sure to stamp and keep your personal spin on whatever it is that inspired you.  Picasso may have been an okay painter but I have to say he was wrong when he said, “Good artists copy.  Great artists steal.”  I think great artists transcend.  They make something new out of something that’s been old.

And two more, mostly two more because I’ve thought of them after my blog post went live.  Eight, choose a facilitator.  For example this guy, he looks way inspirational, but no, this is not a leader.  A leader would defeat the purpose of a democratic exchange of ideas.  But a person who can solicit opinions and draw people out, he can write on the board and keep things moving along, that’s a really great person to have in the room.

Nine, come in with ideas.  Sometimes it’s really hard to get the storm started.  If everyone comes in with a few ideas jotted down, it’ll be much easier to get the ball rolling.  Even the worst idea can spark some discourse that may turn into a great idea later.  In screenwriting it’s what they call the bad pitch or the bad version.  They’ll say like ‘so this is the bad pitch but there should be like this mean girl in the Civil War who just wants to get home but then a lot of stuff happens that prevents it’ and that bad pitch could be Gone With the Wind.  So basically come in with ideas that other people can feed off of and contribute to.

So there you have it, 7.5 ways or 9.5 ways or 9.5 ways plus 7.5 sins so 17 of whatever.  Um, thanks for coming.  I would love to start the brainstorm or answer some questions so Sara, do we have something exciting?

Sara: Let me look and see.  I don’t know that we’ve had a brainstorming request come through so we’ll ask –

Katie: Blerg people, blerg.

Sara: Yeah, we’ll start with some questions and then, um, if you’ve got a topic that you’d like to brainstorm about as a group here, um, or something that you’d like to throw out for Katie to give a go at then hit us on Twitter at #portentu or in the webcast, um, chat screen.  So, uh, we got a question from, um, Mike.  What is the best remedy for writer’s block?

Katie: Like I said I think a lot of it has to do with changing your environment.  Um, also I find when I want to start something I write the best and I write the fastest when I get sort of annoyed about something so I would suggest reading The Huffington Post, just something…look…I don’t think you should base your content on your competitors but you know look at their websites; see what they’re talking about.  I would also say look at trending topics on Google, see what your audience members are talking about on social media, um, and I think in that way you can probably generate a few good content ideas.  Um, you can also just engage somebody else.  Just say you’re kind of blocked and ask them for their opinion.  People love to give opinions.

Sara: And Aviva asked, “Are there any classic exercises like word association that you don’t think are effective for brainstorming?”

Katie: Um, I think most things are probably effective.  I think that’s kind of the point of brainstorming is you’re not going to put sort of a finite stop on anything.  Um, I think that there is a point where maybe you get too far off the path and you end up, um…there needs to be that person who draws you back in.  I mean it’s great to be creative but like anything else in life there’s kind of a limit.  You don’t want to go totally crazy on it.  Um, but yeah, I think word association could help.  I think you know pretty much anything that gets the creative juices flowing helps.

Sara: Great and then, um, Elizabeth asked, “For those of us who are resistant to the word ‘brainstorming’ is there something else you can call it?  Is there a way to sneak brainstorming in without raising those brainstorming red flags?”

Katie: Hmm, well I mean you could call it idea generation or collaborative thought or…let’s see, what else?

Sara: I like that you’re brainstorming right now.

Katie: Yeah, I am.  I’d say like uncovering the collective conscious or actually somebody in one of my blog post comments shared the word mind showers so if you don’t like brainstorming you could have a mind shower, which sounds a little dirty but I think it could work.

Sara: Uh, Kimberly on Twitter asked, “Are there any special tricks to long-distance brainstorming?”

Katie: Long-distance brainstorming…um, you know I think I find everything in the room is ultimately better, but yeah, you could use a WebX.  I think my problem with calls is generally people become inhibited just because they think they’re going to step on somebody else during the call so they end up not saying as many things as they would say and then by the time they speak often they’ve forgotten what they were going to say in the first place so I would say if you’re on a long-distance brainstorm and you’re on a call, make sure that you have a pad and paper so that you can write these things down while other people are talking, um, and each person can sort of draw out their own storm map, um, while they’re listening.

Sara: And then, um, Alexander on Twitter asked, “What do you think is an ideal group number of people for brainstorming?  How many people makes it too crowded and unproductive?”

Katie: Um, well sort of the real answer is probably that there isn’t a solid number but I understand the question because it’s kind of like establishing an age you can drive.  There are certainly people who are 14 who drive better than people who are 40 so I think it really depends on the person, um, and the people involved and sort of how they get along, but I would say just in terms of logistics I find the best brainstorms are about 4 to 5 people.  I think also people who are a little more shy aren’t likely to participate in a brainstorm with too many people.

Sara: So that dovetails into my question, which is what do you recommend for getting more introverted, more shy people, not that introverts are necessarily shy, but still just saying involved in brainstorming?

Katie: Um, I would you know welcome them to write things down.  Um, I spoke to someone who’s introverted and she says that actually pointing at them and saying ‘talk’ doesn’t work so, um, I think you can sort of look at their social cues and see who seems to want to jump in.  Um, just give them room to talk but don’t put them on the spot or intimidate them, um, because that’ll just backfire.

Sara: Cool and then, um, let’s hear a story.  What…Elizabeth asked, “What idea or creative campaign are you most proud of that came from a brainstorming session?”

Katie: We just had one recently, um, for one of our clients where one of our clients was telling us a story about something personal that was going on in his life and it sort of sparked something that made us think this guy would be sort of an ideal brand voice in addition to the actual brand.  Um, and then we got very excited about it because the best thing about a brainstorm of course is when your adrenaline kicks in and you start really just feeding off each other and we started coming up with all sorts of topics, what he could talk about, and there’s just a certain charisma to this guy that you know just gives you the idea that this is going to be really successful.  Um, we also had a client who I think it’s okay to say this, they sold various arousal oils so we were trying to brainstorm a way to make something that would go viral and it was during the political election, the last presidential election and so we brainstormed a lot of ways that we could potentially tie in the presidential election with this in terms of getting your base excited.  And so that was a very interesting mix of things but you know ideas out of left field can be amazing.

Sara: And then Josh asked, “What’s the best way out of an impasse like if you just can’t get started, if you’re just completely stalled?  What are some other tips for getting out of an absolute wall?”

Katie: Well that might be a borrowing case.  You know think about what inspires you and sort of saturate yourself in whatever that is.  Um, yeah, I mean that works.  I think some of the other tips would also work.  You know it’s very difficult when you really feel a block and a lot of the time it’s just you almost need to put it away for a little bit as well because you can approach it later and sometimes it just clicks into place.  When I was writing I used to do this thing that I called sleep thinking where I would just sort of try to go sleep while thinking about whatever my problem was I was having in the script.  Um, of course everyone told me I was just being lazy and going to sleep when I should be working but I think it was really helpful, um, because sometimes I would wake up and you also don’t know when the idea’s going to happen.  I had a problem in one of my scripts, um, where I was just…it was driving me insane for hours, it was you know basically while I was thinking about it I could not get anywhere.  When I stopped thinking about it and was just watching TV with my parents, suddenly the answer just came to me and it really was literally the light…well not literally, but it felt like the light bulb.  Um, so I think yeah, sometimes just putting it away for a while, especially if you’re doing it by yourself, is probably the best way to approach it and then come back to it with fresh eyes.

Sara: Super and then Mike asked, “How can you be creative in brainstorming with more traditional or conservative clients?”

Katie: Yeah, that’s difficult but then you, you know…there’s sort of a number of realities I think.  There’s what might sell their brand but then what they think sells their brand and then what they’re comfortable with and so there are a lot of things that sometimes aren’t necessarily the same thing, um, and I think that you need to sort of find out what makes that person, what entertains them, or makes them interested and then sort of build your concepts around that so that it’s easier later to sort of get them to, uh, to get on board with what you want to do.

Sara: Um, and we’ve only got one or two more questions here so if you’ve got a question go ahead and send it on the webinar chat or you can tweet it to us at #portentu.  Um, Marianne asked, “Is there such a thing as guided brainstorming?  Is there anything that you can do as a group leader to help kind of get people started when everyone’s just sitting in a room staring at each other?”

Katie: Um, I know some people do various, you know exercises.  I think sometimes getting people talking is just as easy as you know what did you do this weekend and just get them sort of engaging with each other.  Um, so don’t bring in sort of the topic until you feel everyone is comfortable and willing to talk so I would say something like that.  Um, otherwise people coming in with a few different ideas, I think whoever the facilitator is should probably come in with some questions that they can ask people, um, their opinions on things.  You can always if it’s a product, you know what are the words that come to mind with this product.  That reminds me of Mad Men actually.  I think they did that on an episode not that long ago where you know what is the essence of this.  I think it was margarine and they’re basically just sitting around free associating about margarine so I think there’s definitely that aspect as well.

Sara: Well I think that’s it for questions unless any pop up.

Katie: Cool.

Sara: Is there anything you’d like add in closing Katie?

Katie: No, thanks for listening to me talk.

Sara: Um, so that was fantastic and now don’t forget all of you out there that the resources that Katie referenced will be available via the Bit.ly link bundle, um, which I don’t know if it’s on the slide –

Katie: Let’s see…there we go.

Sara: Yes, there it is.  So hit that Bit.ly link bundle and, um, that is case sensitive so make sure you type it in the right case.  Um –

Katie: And it’s co, not com, which they point out there.

Sara: Be careful, portent.co.

Katie: Right, we couldn’t get the M.

Sara: If you have any more questions for Katie you can tweet them directly to her at @katielfetting.com…sorry, .com. @katielfetting and make sure that you add the hash tag #portentu.  Just a reminder, today’s webinar and the presentation slides and all the links will be coming your way in a follow up email.  Join us next month for our August webinar, which will be hosted by our, um, very own CEO, Ian Lurie.  Uh, he’ll be here at Portent on August 29th and his presentation will be about Distance from Perfect: A Quality Drive Approach to SEO and Internet Marketing.  Details about that webinar can be found on our webinar tab on our Facebook page and that’s at Facebook.com/portent.marketing.  Thank you for joining us today and have a great day.

Katie: Goodbye.

[End of Audio]

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