Brainstorms in the digital age: Agency led, audience inspired

The digital age has enabled an explosion of creativity. Every day, we discover innovative new ideas online, all courtesy of the masses of humanity sharing...

The digital age has enabled an explosion of creativity. Every day, we discover innovative new ideas online, all courtesy of the masses of humanity sharing their imaginations with the rest of the world. It’s a treasure trove of inspiration. So, what does this mean for the PR industry’s old creative-generating standby, “The Brainstorm?” It depends. Must our ideas be original in order to be great? Not necessarily.

Nowadays, successful digital creativity means delivering relevant stories, experiences, and services that build upon online consumer sentiment and trends to capture attention. In fact, sometimes the most creative idea is one we find online, conceived by someone else, that we help nurture and grow. At other times, we can proactively invite the audience to help us with our job, as seen in the surge of crowdsourcing that brands are employing to generate ideas.

The incredible volume of ideas, conversations, opinions, and passions that are percolating online can play a valuable role to inform our creative during brainstorm sessions. Existing ideas can seed new and more compelling ones. Our audience can be an incredible source of inspiration—and they’ll be flattered and excited by the attention. So, don’t think of using audience-generated ideas as passing the creative buck; it’s just excellent public relations.

Stephanie Marchesi, president, Cohn & Wolfe New York

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