Behind the Brainstorm


Ever wonder how a great idea is born? When brands and PR agencies come to us they want a spark, an idea that will help shine a spotlight, brighten a page or light up the airwaves.

Of course it’s a tall order, but one that we take very seriously. Not only do we put a lot of thought into it, but we have a name for it in our office. It’s called a Brainstorm, or “storm” as we like to call it. We put down the coffee, put our thinking caps on and our heads together. Having a storm, for many of us, is like a rush of adrenaline and the highlight of our day. It’s when we leave our desks, head into a room with our pads and laptops and talk about our client. Well…in a good way that is.

We want to know about history, mission and purpose, the brand or product clients want to market and their target audience. If there is a tone or image they hope to get across, we need to know that too. And if they are looking for an injection of fun, humor or quirkiness, well, we know a thing or two about that.

We spend time, however long it takes, to review a client brief and understand the important messaging a client wants to convey. The good news is that everybody in the room brings a little bit of his or her own experience and knowledge to the table, and often each person has a different thought or angle. There are sales and marketing experts, consultants, PR professionals and seasoned journalists. Everyone has a voice and opinion that is valued, and everyone shoots out ideas for us to ponder, dissect and hash out. The beauty of a “storm” is that we are able to make sure an idea isn’t just something one person thinks works, but one in which the whole team believes.

Our sales and marketing folks know what sells. The PR professionals know what catches interest and raises eyebrows. The journalists know how to spot news versus fluff. Once we agree on an idea, and mind you, that may take some time, we share it with the client along with a heavy dose of sound reasoning, a suggested and proven method of gathering data – surveys are our specialty – and a sampling of what the finished product might look like. We pride ourselves on being creative, on thinking out of the box. But sometimes a client has a different idea, and we need to work with them to figure out the best direction to take.

A good idea is vital. It will yield interesting survey results that will allow us to write strong copy with a news angle, one that generates press and publicity and creates talk value for our clients.

If you’d like to learn more by taking one of our complimentary survey workshops or news clinics, just drop us a line at We will come to your office and run a drop in clinic during which any of your account managers, executives or directors can pop in and talk through any issues, tricky briefs or potential ideas.

Here’s how we can help:

  •  Top tips on getting coverage for your client/what the news media want

  •  Give advice on whether something is strong enough for a national news story

  •  Tips on how best to write survey questions

  •  How to get the most accurate and editorial viable stats

  •  How grid questions and multiple choice should be used

  •  How to use data from studies and free text to create a news story

  •  How to write branded news copy

  •  How top10 lists work

  •  Brainstorm news ideas for clients on the spot

Enrique Varela