3 Ways to Tell if Your Idea is a Good One

AUGUST 27, 2018

Allow me to give this some context. This is about how to tell if your communication idea is a good one. I mean the communication concept behind a marketing campaign. Not an idea for a new business. Not an idea for an article. Not an idea for what to do next in your life. Those are for another blog.

This is specifically about when you’re racking your brains for that central IDEA that’s going to make the marketing program or ad campaign you’re creating really pop. It could also be the idea for the core branding. Just what is it that really makes this thing special? That will make it stand out…be memorable…be lasting.

I’ve found over the years that three things seem to occur when the right idea emerges:

| Your heart sings. I mean you get excited. You get happy. You feel really good about this idea—something about it just feels right. You feel like maybe you’ve never seen it before, not quite like this. You believe in it…in your gut.

| Which then might make others feel a little uncomfortable. Maybe the newness and “differentness” of it is disruptive. That’s a good thing— you want to stand out don’t you? But it can make some people uneasy. Speaking of “gut”…Malcom Gladwell’s “Blink” tells the story of the infamous Aeron Chair by Herman Miller. Arguably one of the most successful products ever by them…definitely the most aesthetically pleasing, most intensely engineered ergonomic chairs ever. And the most comfortable, desired office chair of all time. Unfortunately it was so revolutionary that it performed poorly in research. I mean viewers despised it! Because participants weren’t really being honest about how they truly felt; they were unconsciously expressing their prejudice against something too radically different (the “locked room” concept). It was nicknamed “the Chair of Death”. But the designers and engineers believed in it, continued to research it (with only modest improvement) and it was finally launched. And oh boy, talk about a marketing idea as innovative as the chair: they “placed” it in TV and movie sets with design firms. Designers, architects and artists noticed it (classic early adopters of the “new and different”). They wanted it. Sales started slow, but the chair performed: when people sat in it for hours they loved it… and talked about it. The rest is history.

Well, that was just a bit of a departure… but you get the idea about a good idea being uncomfortable.

| The third thing that always happens when you find a good idea is that it has “legs”. That means the idea seems to grow. To give birth to other executions of the idea or related spinoff ideas. In other words, it somehow just keeps generating more ways to express itself. Clever ways bubble up to execute it in different media to different audiences. A story develops easily around it. For some reason you can really play with it. Another way to say it is that the idea both suggests a story and moves the story forward.

A good idea just makes everything you do more fun and interesting. It’s truly what “makes the world go ‘round”. That’s all there is to it.