Green Means Go: Coming Up with Great Ideas

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Have you ever watched a commercial or seen an advertisement and wondered, “How do they come up with this stuff?”

We know the secret. At Quinlan, we use a process called “Green Light Thinking.” It helps us pull out all the stops to make our clients’ campaigns successful.

1. Green Means Go.

This is the first and most important step in coming up with unique ideas that work. In this phase, anything goes.

• No idea is a bad idea.
• ”No” is a bad word. We don’t say it in this process. Ever.
• Innovation is key. No one is going to be inspired by a boring, been-there-done-that example.
• Let loose! Sometimes the best concepts come from the strangest comments. We’re never afraid to be outrageous.

Once we think we’ve come up with enough ideas, it’s time to move on to the next step. Or, sometimes we’ll set a time limit right from the start.

2. Yellow Light = Decision Time.

Just like the rules of the road, Yellow Light Thinking can mean one of two things: either we continue going, or we prepare to stop.

If we choose to continue on, it’s back to the drawing board and time for more Green Light Thinking. If we think we have enough ideas to work off, we start developing workable concepts.

• First, we choose a few of our favorite ideas from the Green Light Thinking session.
• Then we build upon them by searching for stock images, developing layouts, and writing a few versions of copy.

After the creative group has done their part in Yellow Light Thinking, it’s time to move on to the final stage of the process.

3. Red Light = Stop and Think.

Once our creative group has developed a few concepts, it’s time to get down to business. It’s important, in this step, to think about what will work best for the client, rather than which concepts may be our personal favorites.

We always try to answer these questions:

• Will this reach the target audience?
• Is it within budget?
• Will it accomplish our goal, to make our client’s product a success?

If the answer is “no” to any of the above, rinse and repeat.

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