Why should you integrate brainstorming, a technique involving the spontaneous contribution of all team members to solve a problem, in branding, campaign creation, marketing strategy or project planning?
Brainstorming, the art of solving problems or generating ideas through a group discussion, has both advocates and naysayers. There are times when brainstorming can really help your brand, and other times… not so much. Today we’re going to focus on the benefits of brainstorming and why it’s important for your brand.
SO, what are the specific advantages of brainstorming sessions for your brand, business and teams? Here are seven reasons to think over.
1. Brainstorming is Still Considered by Many the Most Efficient Way to Gather Ideas
Brainstorming is the easiest and quickest way to collect opinions, ideas and solutions. If you’re trying to build consensus around an issue, you can achieve it over one or more group discussions. There is no need for email chains or formal meetings when you can let your team members take over and control the situation, with you serving as a moderator, guide and decision-maker.
2. It Inspires Everyone to Think Creatively
Creativity is the vital juice that solves new problems, drives you to do a task more efficiently, and can be essential to the development of a powerful brand. Trouble is, very few people are perpetually walking around with good creative ideas in their head. Brainstorming offers the opportunity for purposeful creative thinking by giving your team the motivation to break out of their traditional mindset.
To inspire great ideas, consider setting up a mood board in the room – ideally with words, images and textures associated with the topic being brainstormed. This visual impetus can help your team with creative visualization, whether that means reimagining your website landing page, ad copy for your new product or your next Instagram Story. Ambient noise levels work well for creativity, so the buzz of your meeting room should also encourage people to think in new ways.
3. It Encourages Critical Thinking
Brainstorming compels people to assess or reassess an idea free of bias and challenge assumptions. It gives everyone the license to be honest, inquisitive and humble, encouraging debate, different viewpoints and conclusions based on facts and/or reason.
If you have used social media analytics to uncover insights and hypothesis for empirical examination, brainstorming is an effective way to critically analyze, compare and contrast your findings against your competitors. Why did it work for them but not you? What did you do better? How outdated is a current ‘proven’ Twitter marketing tactic?
From an overall organizational perspective, the value of standardized methods and best practices has dropped in today’s disruptive business environment. What worked previously may not work today. Savvy companies are critically assessing best practices in their industry to determine what is still relevant and where change must occur quickly.
South African bank Capitec, for instance, saw that all consumer banks in the country were closing at 4 PM. They did the opposite by staying open past 4 PM so that people could visit after work hours. They also charged a standard fee for all transaction sizes and incorporated this change across their departments, budgeting and incentive systems. These actions helped the bank create competitive advantage, and their proactive critical thinking enabled them to change faster than the competition.
4. Brainstorming Helps Uncover Unexpected Solutions and Ideas
There are two reasons why brainstorming is an important discovery tool that can yield a fresh idea or pioneering approach.
#1: Basic human tendency is to wait for inspiration to strike. Rarely do we go about ideating in a systematic manner. Brainstorming forces everyone to devote their time and effort towards the one problem they are asked to solve, whether that is related to a business process, product or marketing campaign. It activates that part of the brain where we have locked away half-developed ideas from the past, challenges that we’ve chosen to ignore, or solutions that we haven’t yet thought through completely.
#2: Some folks on your team may not have found the time or occasion to present their brainwave or findings from observations or research. It is also possible that new employees may initially hesitate to approach their manager with their ideas or viewpoints. Brainstorming is an excellent platform for open collaboration, where everyone has their say, and all ideas are welcome.
5. It Breaks Down a Large Topic Into Bite-sized Chunks
Businesses leverage brainstorming to make large tasks more manageable by dissecting them into smaller sub-tasks for teams to chew on. If you’re staring at an overwhelming project or a complex problem, you often tend to keep thinking about it and action usually comes much later. Brainstorming allows everyone to focus on the solution rather than dwell too long on the problem. This analytical, results-oriented approach is particularly useful in the following scenarios:
- When you’re unable to find any solution to the problem
- When you’re aware that there are different ways around the problem
- When there is a need to understand the relationship between different parts of a campaign
- When project priorities are unclear and you don’t know what needs to be done first
- When you believe that different kinds of functional expertise and a cross-section of experience may be needed to make the campaign or project a success
When you need all hands on deck, brainstorming is an effective way to solicit the opinions and insights of various stakeholders, from copywriters and social media executives to sales teams and customer service personnel.
6. It Assists With Team-building
Brainstorming is a wonderful tool to strengthen team spirit. For instance, when one member struggles to flesh out his idea, another member can pitch in. This is different from critical thinking, when everyone at the brainstorming session feels safe to challenge each other’s ideas. The collaborative aspect of brainstorming helps reinforce bonds between team members and reminds everyone that they are stronger when they operate as a team.
For best results from group brainstorming, involve everyone, make sure that some don’t dominate the session, and explore various techniques to inspire ideas from team members.
One tactic is to create the mood for creative brainstorming. Beyond mood-boards, you can (a) holding the meeting at an outdoor location such as a café, park or quiet lakeside (b) including fun games that stimulate the physical and mental senses (c) bringing in different objects related to the topic and pass them around to spark off ideas and get creative juices flowing.
The other is reverse brainstorming, where you ask the group to suggest ways that make a goal impossible to achieve. Their inputs will tell you what is not working, the challenges the team is facing (that they haven’t shared with you) and surface negative thoughts or skepticism about the goal. How can we make the campaign so edgy that our audience will complain about it online? How can we make our webpage so bad that visitors will leave it in less than five seconds? How can we ensure that the project fails miserably?
7. It Improves Team Satisfaction
Brainstorming helps everyone feel that they have contributed to the solution. It encourages them to not just take ownership of ideas but also follow them through, measure results, and put their thinking caps back on, if necessary. Additionally, the sessions also bring employees’ unique talents and abilities to the forefront, and serve as a morale booster.
By bringing team members together in a more intimate and dynamic way, you can inject enthusiasm into what may look like a dull problem or project on the computer screen. In a nutshell, brainstorming creates a sense of belonging and purpose that routine work cannot.
At our marketing company, we use brainstorming along with a number of other strategic tools to develop brands, marketing strategies and websites. What strategic tools do you find the most effective?