No Time For Process
No Time For Process
By Micah Heykoop
"We just need to see a few options by tonight." - every client, at least once.
Even with the best intentions and process (or maybe due to a complete lack of either) there will be moments when ideas need to happen now. When the Pin boards, print outs, inspiration trips, blogs, and brainstorm sessions just don't fit into the timeline you have left - but the deadline can't move.
Having found myself in this exact situation at least once (definitely more than once) I figure I'm as good as anyone to write about the crunch time creative process. I'd like to think that sometimes this is actually the magic hour; when you finally dump all of the distractions and preoccupation that put you in this situation and you just start cranking out idea. Don't believe me? Ask Nolan Goff on our team about his greatest idea ever, "The Bare Necessities". Inspiration struck, the idea was fleshed out, and it was a slide in a deck all in the 15-minutes before we sent a presentation. Mind you the idea was way to expensive and didn't get picked, but it was a heater none the less.
So just how do you set yourself up for success after you have been set up for such abject failure? Quickly. Here are the four things we always do:
- Write your goal out. What does the idea need to accomplish? What is it making happen for client or brand? Once you have it in front of you in 1-2 sentences, it allows you to come back to it as a filter for any ideas that are thrown out.
- The bad version of the idea. Brainstorming is a momentum game. The good idea isn't going to come out of nowhere, so start with the contrived idea that has been done a million times. Start by talking about the cheesy, someone else has already done it, this isn't on brand version of the idea. At least the wheels will be moving a bit, then you can start chipping away.
- Go to the well. You've worked in marketing for years. You've had hundreds of ideas. Honestly the majority of them have gotten shot down. If you are anything like me, you have some favorite brain children that have just never quite gotten picked for the team. Ask anyone how many years I've been pitching 'Space Camp' (6 years). Nike may have just done their version of it, but I'm still not giving up the ghost. Take a few minutes to think back through your idea graveyard and see if there is a match for your current problem.
- Don't settle. Set a timer for exactly how long you can brainstorm before it needs to get into a presentation. Don't let yourself get vague on ideas or boring just because you feel the crunch. Find something you like and explore it until you absolutely have to start getting it in writing. Bonus points if you have someone who can build Keynotes along with the brainstorm so you never have to stop.
Just keep the energy moving. Remember - it is all about momentum. Also, next time get ahead of the game and stay out of this situation.