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Top tips for better PR brainstorms

Posted by Louise Moran on 16th September 2011

The UK tech PR industry is a busy space and it’s a challenge for tech PR agencies to ensure their clients stand out from the crowd amidst tough competition from competitors and the news stories of the day.

What will catch the eye of your target audience? A snappy viral perhaps, or maybe sending a relevant gift to top tier media targets? How about a fun photo concept or a clever social media campaign?

Sounds like it’s time for a tech PR brainstorm. Below are our top tips for running a productive session.

TIP 1 – Who should be on your invite list?

Any good tech PR agency will have a team of bright enthusiastic PR pros available for all your brainstorm needs. The trick is to work out who to invite along for a session – too many cooks and all that.

Always include the PR account team and then choose people who make positive and helpful contributions. It helps to invite an ‘outsider’ who is not on the account team to provide a different perspective.

TIP 2 – Plan ahead

What do you hope to get out of the session? It’s best to go into a brainstorm with a clear objective in mind to clarify to all participants – even members of the account team – the main aim and what your PR client hopes to achieve. Make sure your objective is specific, tangible and realistic but it’s usually wise to leave specifics such as budget restrictions out at this stage.

TIP 3 – You should always know who is driving!

The whole point of a brainstorm is to get the creative ideas flowing but someone needs to keep the session on track. The appointed moderator should be one of the PR account team who is deeply involved in the project who can steer the conversation away from unproductive or irrelevant areas.

TIP 4 – Cut through the tension with an icebreaker exercise

It can be hard to unlock quality ‘left brain’ thinking on tap so it makes a huge difference to start with an icebreaker. Personally, we like to break out the Play D’oh  and you have to love Tate Kids Inspire Me app which comes out with some wacky and wonderful suggestions to get you started. An icebreaker exercise only takes a few minutes but it gets everyone involved and ready to start brainstorming.

TIP 5 – Get busy scribbling

Make sure every thought is captured, whether it’s just a vague concept or a fully thought out suggestion. Writing up ideas on a white board or flip chart means that everyone can keep track of how the ideas are progressing and can build on suggestions and ideas.

TIP 6 – Be a “Yes Man”

There is a commonly used tactic in comedy improve simply known as “yes! And…” which is quite relevant for brainstorming. The first character establishes a setting and a plot. However bizarre or left field the setting, the other character has to build on the scenario. There are no wrong answers or dead ends – and neither should there be in a creative brainstorm where the team needs to encourage each other and build on suggestions.

TIP 7 – Quality versus Quantity

Strive for quantity over quality in a brainstorm as you can always cherry pick the best ideas later. Sometimes it’s best to vote on your favourite ideas as a group, other times the team will refine the most suitable ideas to work out how they will contribute to client objectives and how easy the ideas will be to implement.

Once you’ve presented your wonderful ideas in to the client all that’s left is for them to say yes! And then the tech PR really begins…

Louise Moran