Marketing

Advertising Tutorial: How to Run a Brainstorming Session

Learn how to spice up your brainstorming sessions with communication expert, Andre Matarazzo

Brainstorming is a great way to knuckle down and spark creative ideas. But creativity can be messy, and if it’s not organized well, a brainstorm can end up being chaotic…

Communication specialist Andre Matarazzo (@andrematarazzo) knows how to create efficient, effective, and, most importantly, fun brainstorms. His work has won him prestigious clients such as Coca-Cola, Spotify, and Unilever, as well as numerous awards.

Watch this tutorial to find out some of Andre’s tried and tested - and sometimes surprising! - tips to get the most out of brainstorming sessions.

How to Run a Brainstorming Session

1. Have a clear vision

Start your brainstorm with a brief that is big, open, and exciting. Andre warns against creating a brief that is too specific, as the creative energy could run out of juice.

2. Present the context

Create a presentation that outlines all of the contextual information your brainstormers will need. The main points to make are to explain the challenge, the audience, useful trends, and give a summary of the brand’s values and mission.

Create a presentation that outlines the brief
Create a presentation that outlines the brief

3. Be time-aware

Your presentation-to-brainstorm ratio should be 1:5. So for every hour of presenting, there should be five hours of brainstorming. It’s important to offer your participants enough information, but not to spend too long giving the brief.

4. Variety is key

Bring the right mix of people to your brainstorming session. You should make sure you are inviting people from all walks of life, since this will inject your brainstorm with more variety, and different perspectives. It’s also vital that your participants are fully committed to the brainstorm, and stay for the whole duration.

5. Introduce specific exercises

Brainstorming is all about seeing problems from different angles and sparking creative solutions. Make sure that your challenges attack the brief from different perspectives. The best way to do this, is to ask specific, highly focused questions. For example, it can sometimes be a good idea to solve the opposite problem. By doing this, it forces the participants to shift their mental framework and therefore leave room for innovative ideas to flow through.

For the brainstorm exercises, ask specific, highly focused questions
For the brainstorm exercises, ask specific, highly focused questions

6. Split into teams

Depending on the challenge and how many brainstormers you have, split your group into teams or individuals. Time their problem solving sprints and be careful to give them the right amount of time to focus, but not so much that they spin out of control. For Andre, 8-12 minutes is ideal.

7. Encourage creative presentations

Avoid getting participants to summarize their creative solutions in one line. One surprising and fun way to present ideas is to draw them. Encourage your brainstormers to do this as they will be able to give their ideas more depth and explain them more comprehensively.

Present your solutions by drawing them, rather than writing them
Present your solutions by drawing them, rather than writing them

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