PR pros are creatives of messaging.
Because our industry thrives on “what’s new”, us pros are constantly challenged with finding interesting and unique ways to turn the same products, brands, events, and announcements on their heads. We need to reach out to untapped audiences and position things that maybe don’t yet exist. We need to find the right media, with the right story, at the right place, and at the right time.
As a Los Angeles public relations firm, Venture PR uses a variety of brainstorming tactics to develop new and exciting PR concepts. Our clients span a wide array of industries including crypto, healthcare, tech, and entertainment, so our creative team relies on cross-industry processes to help generate ideas. This is a key step in how we’ve generated coverage for clients in publications like Fortune Magazine, CBS News, Gizmodo, and more.
Here are a couple creative brainstorming processes to help uncover interesting angles for the media, connect closer with audiences, and even make coworkers more tolerable by talking about something that’s not coffee or the weather.
Process #1: Lists, Lists, and More Lists
If you’re sick of top 10 lists, don’t worry, these lists are nothing like those. Instead, these lists encourage thinking that is rooted in something unique about the product, brand, or announcement that you maybe haven’t considered. Additionally, writing lists on pen and paper is not only great for your brain, but also grants a reprieve from all that screen-staring, which probably isn’t great for your eyes.
The best lists start with an open-ended question that can provide a pathway to your end goal. For example, if you’re trying to generate new angles or ways to position a not-so-new product, a good question might be “what is the product, and what does it do?” This might seem like an obvious question at first, but focus on getting the easy-answers out of the way as soon as possible. Moving on to unconventional uses and functions can help uncover new thoughts or connections you hadn’t previously considered. This is especially useful when generating tech PR concepts.
Let’s say you aren’t so much looking for a new concept as much as you’re trying to connect with pre-existing audiences, or branch out to new ones entirely. Questions like, “who finds this product/brand/company most appealing, and why?” or, “what spaces/industries/use cases does this product/announcement touch on, and why?” These are admittedly tougher questions to answer, but they can aid your lists to include more specific insights about who you’re going after and why you’re going after them.
Process #2: Toy Around, Especially if it’s a Toy
You would be amazed how many PR pros never interact with the product they’re working on, or put themselves in their audience’s shoes. This isn’t surprising since most modern workplaces require employees to stick around an office that could be countries or oceans away from their clients.
In addition to making work more fun because you get to do something that might not feel like, well, work, getting your hands on the product or service can help you ideate experiences and uncover unique uses.
Similar to the way toy companies do group product testing with children, interacting with your product or service can and probably should be done in groups using open dialogue. This encourages you and your coworkers to speak your minds, which can spark insights and get the idea-ball rolling.
If you can’t physically interact with or get to your product, or if the event you’re working on isn’t happening yet, start researching how others might experience what you’re positioning. Look up amateur YouTube unboxing videos and read the comments section. Find out what users, not influencers, are saying about the product on social media. Read reviews of similar or past events, even if they’re only one-star. Vicariously experiencing your product or event is the next best thing to being there in person, and opens you and your team up to viewpoints and opinions you wouldn’t otherwise encounter.
But let’s say the thing or event you’re working on doesn’t yet exist, or it isn’t available to the public. In these cases, it might be useful to take some time (on or off the clock, whichever your company is cool with) to put yourself in the scenario your audiences will be in when they hear about it, use it, or attend it. Putting yourself in your audience’s shoes not only helps you better connect with their experience, but it also gives you more perspective into how the media will cover what you’re pitching. A golden rule is that if something is boring/exciting/unexpected to you, the press and your audience will likely have a similar experience.
It should be noted that everyone has worthwhile creativity, even if “creative” isn’t in their job title. In our experience at Venture PR, bringing great minds from non-creative-specific roles into creative brainstorming sessions results in better technology public relations practices and builds camaraderie. As countless artists and innovators throughout history can attest, the best ideas often come from the most unexpected of places.