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Creating Creative Campaigns using Internal Crowdsourcing

In a recent episode of NPR's "Wait Wait Don't Tell me" podcast, host Peter Sagal was discussing the newly christened US "Space Force," renamed from the Air Force Space Command, and was discussing with his panelists how the pentagon had reached out to the public for ideas on what to call members of this new program:

SAGAL: What do you call Space Force members? So they've asked the public, which you know is a mistake. Five years from now, your son is going to turn 18, and he's going to tell you he's enlisted to be a Spacy McSpaceface.

The "Boaty McBoatface" meme (which will never cease to be funny to me) is a prime example of why public crowdsourcing isn't always the best idea when it comes to...well most things. Whether it's naming a boat, a child, or designing a logo for your business, trusting in ideas collected from a pool of complete strangers is a risk that doesn't always pay off.

However, a recent article on talked about a different way of "crowdsourcing" when it comes to marketing - and one that I think is actually an excellent way to approach a new marketing campaign or brand.

Two's a Company, Three's a Crowd

Author Matt Stockbridge, consultant for Mondelēz, talks about the importance of working with your peers when creating a marketing campaign or slogan. He calls it the "Give Peas a Chance" test, citing a bit of local graffiti made infamous that he turned into a sort of mantra of how to create an engaging, memorable, but not disruptive slogan. He highlights the importance of collective ideas, whether it's working internally or collaboratively with an agency or partner. One of his article headlines is "Only work with people who are as passionate about your brand as you are," and I think it's an amazingly important point when it comes to collaboration and brainstorming. If you aren't all on the same page when it comes to what you're trying to achieve and accomplish, your results will never be as powerful as they could be.

Collaboration is a key factor in making marketing campaigns that work with a wide range of audiences - particularly if you're involving lots of different perspectives and voices as part of the process. Work with your staff, your clients, your peers - making sure they have your best intentions at heart and take the work seriously. I'm not telling you not to make a "McBoatface" joke or throw a few cat pictures into an inspiration folder (sometimes a few laughs can help a stale campaign take a new direction, after all), but make sure you're doing the actual legwork at the same time. How does all this look in a practical application for small businesses? The way I see it, there are three resources available to you when it comes to branding and marketing ideas:

  1. You and Your Staff - Nobody is going to have your business's best intentions at heart more than you and your employees, and nobody knows what you do better or will be stronger advocates for your brand.
  2. Your Customers - Social media interaction is a big part of small business brands these days, whether it's Instagram or Facebook. People are passionate about the brands they love to interact with and bringing them into the process can build great brand loyalty.
  3. Your Creative Partners - Whether you're working with a creative agency or a print partner like AlphaGraphics, our goal is always going to be providing you with the best ideas and solutions possible. We take great pride in knowing we've made you look the best you can (and we promise not to call you "Business McBusinessface" on your next postcard.)

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