This article was first published in Campaign magazine.

One of the things that always intrigues me is how everyone approaches problems differently. It’s these processes that turn a chaotic project into a dream to work on. I’ve collected a few over the years and I’d love to share 5 of my favourites with you…

Brainstorming: The LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® methodology

Bear with me here, it sounds a bit Nathan Barley. You sit in a room with a big problem to solve (often a real humdinger of a consumer problem) and you express (and feel) your way through solutions by building LEGO® representations of the problem… and talking about it. Where a lot of brainstorming techniques focus on high quantity of low quality ideas, with this one, you can’t help but use that extra block, rejig that flower to be more meaningful or make up extra stories. I won’t go into detail, but if you’ve never heard of it, Google it, send someone from your company to be a facilitator and you won’t regret it.

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Defining a big project: The MOIST process

Ok, again, bear with me here, muscle past the name. Not exactly sure where this came from but it allows anyone (especially those who struggle with the bigger picture) to take a big project and break it into manageable pieces. It’s especially good for smaller agencies where big, departmental processes are less prevalent. So here’s what MOIST stood for… M is for Mission – what’s the big thing we’re aiming to achieve? O is for Objectives – what things have to have happened to know we’re succeeded? I is for Insight – Ok, step back, what do we know about this problem, client, audience, competitors etc? S is for Strategy – So knowing everything in MO and I, what strategy should we employ? And finally, T is for Tactics – what are we actually going to do? Phew, that big problem now doesn’t seem so hairy, right?

Competitions: The Hour Glass Model

Most competitions exist as meek promotions in a sea of similar social posts. “Tell us why you’re cool and win a choc ice!” stuff. Arguably, the ideal ‘shape’ for a competition is an hourglass. You want a wide base – everyone knows about it. This is relatively easy to throw media money at. The ‘prize’ or experience is the pinch in the middle of the hourglass that most get wrong. Ideally, make the prize something that, even if you don’t win, you’re interested in seeing what happened next. And if you get those two steps right, the wide audience you started with at the base have new content to share and create your wide top of the hourglass shape.
Now consider a competition that goes out on your client’s Facebook page and promises a trip to the Bahamas. Who cares who wins it? Your hourglass shape suddenly looks more like the poop emoji – and for good reason.

Viral: The seven secret Buzzfeed rules

Buzzfeed know a thing or two about making things sharable and they’re more than happy to share their secret sauce. The more of these rules you can tick, the better the chance you have…
1. Content is timely – news, trending topics “Wooah, have you seen this?”
2. Content encapsulates your identity – “OMG, this is so me!”
3. Content is emotion – “Dude, I feel the same too”
4. Content is conversation – “So is it blue of gold?”
5. Content is aspirational – “I’m so doing that!” or “I stand for that!”
6. Content is relatable – “Hey, @friend, this is so you!”
7. Content is global – “If we all come together, we can change this!”

Content strategy: Google’s Hero Hub Help model

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve drawn this diagram.
Think of it as an atom with a big blob in the middle and two outer rings getting further away. Your hero content is in the middle. This could be your TV ad, your microsite or whatever. The ‘hubs’ that surround it are separate communities or interest groups that may be interested in your hero content, but indirectly. You should make a second tier of content for each of these communities and if they find it relevant, they should find they’re way to your hero content. Job done. And finally there’s the distant ‘help’ ring. This scoops up anyone looking for vaguely related help from Google. “What is a fun meal on a budget?”, “What is the name of the frog Muppet?”. In short, buy search terms to scoop up those searches and subtly move them to towards the hub content and ideally onto the hero content.

So there you go. Five methods, processes and models that have helped me turn chaos to structure on many an occasion. If you have one that works for you, I’d love to hear about it. And I wasn’t joking, Google that LEGO® thing right now! Seriously.

Dino Burbidge

About Dino Burbidge

I know enough about most things to be dangerous. Currently Director of Innovation and Technology at WCRS.

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