When your brand team is working to understand some aspect of your customer’s behaviour, there are often plenty of opinions as to what it is, exactly, that you need to know. Since good ideas can come from everywhere, it’s very desirable to get all the ideas on the table. That’s a good thing, right? Well, sort of. The problem as we see it is that every exploration needs limits.
Once all the ideas are on the table, it’s very hard for team members to say where the limits should be. It’s hard to impose constraints. Yet having some defined parameters can make for a much stronger result. It’s why a novel has to build up to a climax, and then taper through the denouement to the ending. Similarly heart-stopping ballads have the effect they do when the singer sends it out…then brings it back. Just think of Celine Dion singing the Titanic theme, My Heart will Go On.
So how can you tell your colleague that their idea is the one that needs to go? How can you figure out if your question is the extraneous one? The simplest way is to agree on one clear topic question – one that explains, in the simplest terms, the over-arching goal of your project before you start. With that in hand, you can assess whether the ideas will get you there. Anything that cannot clearly move you toward an answer to your topic question is nice to know, but very likely a distraction that will lead you down the garden path.
Sending it out…and bringing it back,
Megann and Steve