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  • Writer's pictureBob Wiesner, Managing Partner, The Americas

Selling the Big Creative Idea

The creative pitch was scheduled for an hour. The team was worried, almost in a panic. That’s not enough time, they thought. We have to explain where the idea came from, show consumer research, show the many ways it could be executed, provide all our rationale.

And we have to show alternatives, they believed. Show the ideas we rejected. Maybe show some other good ideas, let the client know we’re thorough. Let them participate in the decision.

Even give them choice. Sheesh. Here’s another way of looking at:

They’ve given us an hour to show our creative idea. Awesome. What are we gonna do with the extra 30 minutes?

Simple, Obvious, A Winner

Somehow this is always true: The best ideas, once they’re presented, should be seen so brilliant that they’re obvious. The head-slapper. The ideas that elicit this reaction:

Why didn’t we think of that before?

I’m really impressed by the thinking presented in this HBR article. Great ideas come across as great ideas because there’s crystal clarity about the problem the idea is solving. That is, when we really understand the problem – or the objective or the insight – it’ll be so much easier to buy into the creative idea designed to save that problem.

Even better when the idea is immediately relevant based on experiences and perspectives that evaluators might have. We get it because we can relate to it. The author of the cited article quotes a University of Minnesota paper:

“In times of clarity, your resolutions appear obvious and simple; but in fact, they appear simple because the illumination has all the parts lining up and shedding light on a resolve”

10 Minutes + 10 Minutes + 10 Minutes. Thirty minutes is enough to present a big creative idea if you’ve done your job right.

First 10 minutes: Establish with pure clarity the problem the idea will solve

Next 10 minutes: Present the idea. Show how it’ll be executed in only enough detail for proof of concept

Last 10 minutes: Get client reaction. Discuss the way forward

And as for showing rejected ideas and alternatives? Nope. Not necessary. It only confuses things, and gives clients more opportunities to not like something. Get a great creative idea. Connect it to a real client or consumer need.

​Sell it just that way.

- Bob Wiesner, Managing Partner, The Americas


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