Problem : How to come up with a creative idea that communicates your message?

Learning objectives

  1. Creative idea = ?
  • Components
  • Examples
  • How does an idea become a message
  1. How to affect customers’ emotions by appealing to different senses
  • Examples
  1. What factors to consider when designing the message?

The Creativity Post (website) says : when testing if something is ‘creative’, the creativity test results are scored keeping in mind a number of different creativity criteria. The most common criteria are :

1. Flexibility: This captures the ability to cross boundaries and make remote associations. This is measured by number of different categories of ideas generated.

2. Originality: This measures how statistically different or novel the ideas are compared to a comparison group. This is measured as number of novel ideas generated.

3. Fluency: This captures the ability to come up with many diverse ideas quickly. This is measured by the total number of ideas generated.

4. Elaboration:  This measures the amount of detail associated with the idea.  Elaboration has more to do with focussing on each solution/idea and developing it further.

To put in simple words, creativity is generation of new, unexpected, likeable and useful/complex ideas/ things etc. Creativity happens if something ‘stands out’ from the crowd.


(Harvard Business Review)

Examples of techniques while creative thinking :


Brainstorming allows a group of people to contribute ideas on a topic without regard to how practical they may be. The purpose is to come with an “outside the box” solution that might not occur otherwise. While many of the ideas generated may not be feasible, it is possible that by removing practical constraints, an idea will surface that you can mold into a workable solution. Another advantage is that you’ll receive input from several people instead of just one or two individuals.

Asking “What-If” Questions

The process of asking “what if” questions can lead to new discoveries that result in improvements or growth. For example, you can consider what would happen if you started to perform a process in the opposite manner of how you currently do it or if you added weekend hours of operation. You can also explore the possibilities of opening a second location or even buying out your top competitor. “What if” questions are often the source of big ideas.

Role-playing can give you a different perspective that can lead to helpful ideas. For example, if you are a salesperson, a role-playing session where you pretend to be the customer can give you a much better understanding of what your customer is thinking during your presentations. This can help you anticipate common objections your customers may have and develop a plan to overcome them. You’ll be much better prepared for making your sales calls.

Provocation Techniques

Provocation is a process where you intentionally reject a truism to help stimulate creative thought. For instance, you may pose the premise that getting rid of all of your business’s computers will improve productivity. While you have no intention of getting rid of your computer system, the concept may help stimulate thinking to where you and your colleagues may come up with ideas to improve productivity and re-examine your current processes.



(Integrated Marketing Communication process)

How to affect customers’ emotions by appealing to different senses

Here are a few tips and tricks for using psychology to your own marketing campaign’s advantage:

1. Run emotional ideas

Studies have shown emotional and psychological appeals resonate more with consumers than feature and function appeals. In advertising copy, benefits—which often have a psychological component—generally outsell features. Demonstrating how that new computer will improve a potential customer’s life tends to have more influence rather than explaining how it works.

2. Highlight your flaws

It’s no secret that consumers tend to doubt marketing claims—for good reasons. Many simply aren’t credible. One way to raise credibility is to point out your product’s shortcomings.

3. Reposition your competition

In Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, Al Ries and Jack Trout delve into the limited slots consumers have in their brain for products and services, and the importance of positioning one’s business in the ideal slot.

4. Promote exclusivity

Near the top of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pyramid sits self-esteem. People want to feel important; like they’re part of an exclusive group. That’s why advertising copy sometimes says: “We’re not for everyone.”

5. Introduce fear, uncertainty and doubt

Fear, uncertainty, and doubt, or FUD, is often used legitimately by businesses and organizations to make consumers stop, think, and change their behavior. FUD is so powerful that it’s capable of nuking the competition.

  • (Fast Company)

“Brands have to be powered up to deliver a full sensory and emotional experience,” says Lindstrom. “It is not enough to present a product or service visually in an ad.”


The sense of smell is a powerful tool, and can trigger emotions that aren’t exactly defined, but have a distinctive attachment to an object or place. Retailers like Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch are known for the scent that’s pumped throughout the store. Even the “new car” fragrance is sprayed into a vehicle using an aerosol can in the factory.

“Mitsubishi’s ad agency placed a fragrance ad in two major newspapers that stimulated that leathery ‘new car’ smell,” Lindstrom says. “The result: the company’s Lancer Evo X sold out in two weeks and the car company’s sales increased by 16 percent, even during a recession.”

Smell can also evoke memories. “Test results have shown a 40 percent improvement in our mood when we’re exposed to a pleasant fragrance—particularly if the fragrance taps into a joyful memory,” Lindstrom says.


The sense of sound is more easily conveyed, but can just as easily be done wrong in an advertising campaign. A sound can be a jingle, a unique voice, slogan, or familiar noise. But it isn’t enough to have a catchy tune associated with your business.

“Brands with music that ‘fit’ their brand identity are 96 percent likelier to prompt memory recall,” says Lindstrom. “Victoria’s Secret, for example, plays classical music in their stores, which creates an exclusive atmosphere and lends an air of prestige to the merchandise.”


The sense of taste is most easily conveyed in the food and beverage industry, but not every business takes advantage of it. According to Lindstrom, nearly 18 percent of the Fortune 1,000 companies could incorporate taste into their brands but have yet to explore this option.

The crunching noise made by Kellogg’s cereal isn’t one that comes naturally. The sound it makes was actually created in a laboratory.

“Kellogg’s considers the crunchiness of the grain as having everything to do with the triumph of the brand, which is why their TV ads emphasize the crunch we hear and feel in our mouths,” Lindstrom says.


This is the area where businesses selling products, especially household items, can really let the quality speak for itself. According to Lindstrom, 82 percent of all brands on the Fortune1,000 list would be able to take advantage of texture if they were made aware of it.

One example of the power of touch is from the Asda supermarket chain in Britain, a subsidiary of Wal-Mart, which cut out a portion of the plastic wrap on toilet paper brands to allow shoppers to touch the tissue and compare textures.

“This has resulted in soaring sales for its home brand, and the decision by management to allot an additional 50 percent of shelf space to their product,” Lindstrom says.

In a study on the cell phone industry conducted by Lindstrom, he found that 35 percent of consumers stated that the way their cell phone feels is more important than the way it looks.


According to Geoff Crook, the head of sensory design research lab at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London, “83 percent of the information people retain is received visually.”

For obvious reasons, sight is the most powerful tool. Before Coca-Cola began promoting Santa Claus in its signature color, red, he traditionally wore green.

What factors to consider when designing the message?

What makes an message effective?

  • First you need to understand your audiences & stakeholders. Without understanding, your message will miss its target. The message must connect to the knowledge, attitude and behavior of the audiences. It must be significant for them.
  • Your messages need to be easy to understand. Use the wording of the target audience and keep it simple, direct and to the point.
  • Your messages need to be credible. They must connect to the identity of the sender. The sender should have a good image.
  • The message should connect to the communication strategy: do you want to inform, involve, persuade or get people into action? Do you want to trigger emotions or do you choose a cool informative approach?
  • The tone of voice should also reflect the strategy: humorous, alarming, fact giving & expert perspective, popular & informal.

(Frog Leaps –



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