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Chris LoCurto

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July 7, 2011

How to Foster Great Ideas

Here is a guest post by Jon Edlin. Jon is the Marketing Manager for the Nazarene Publishing House. You can follow him on Twitter or Facebook. If you would like to guest post, read about it here.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/25458556]

When I walk into my office every day, a colorful 6’ x 8‘ magnetic board greets me. It holds magazine ads, postcards and flyers from a variety of places.  When my marketing team sees something inspiring, they post that advertisement on the board.  The board is also used as a dry erase board, so our ideas for new ads and marketing campaigns can also be displayed.

This board stands as a visual reminder of my goal to continually encourage creativity and collaborative thinking within my department.   Although many of the ideas that are brought to the board are unsuccessful, there are the occasional ones that work out.  Here is the story of one that did:

It was a typical Tuesday morning.  I sat down at my desk, turned on my computer and glanced at my inbox.  An email from my team member with “Check this out” in the subject line caught my eye.  This email provided a link to “mashable.com.”  Out of curiosity, I clicked the link and discovered the most interesting resume I have ever seen.

A graphic designer from the UK had designed his resume with just a picture of his face and a QR code in his mouth.  The concept was to scan the QR code and place a smart phone over his mouth.  The QR code then led to a video of his mouth that audibly described his qualifications for the job, bringing his resume to life. Wow! This was board-worthy!

I jumped out of my seat, ran to the magnetic board and started to draw. Could we use this concept to make our ads come to life?  My team started to brainstorm.  After an hour of drawing stick figures and writing down multiple tag lines, we chose a product that we hoped would mesh with this marketing tool.  We decided to promote our book The First 100 Days using this method.

This book is about one pastor’s journey through his first 100 days at a new church.  We decided to have pastors talk about things they wish they would have known in their first 100 days as pastor.  We took a picture of the pastor’s face and added a QR code over his mouth.  Then we shot a video of his mouth sharing 30 seconds of insight.

When the project was finished, you could place your smart phone over the QR code on the ad and watch the pastor’s mouth share about his journey.  We had found a way to make our advertisement come to life!

Once the ad was printed, we were amazed at all of the positive feedback we received via Twitter and Facebook.  Even Cameron Strang, founder of Relevant Magazine, called it simple but innovative and suggested that we submit it for an ad industry award. After many failed attempts, it was a huge morale-booster for my team to have an idea that became a success.

Questions: What kind of environment does your team thrive on?  Are ideas shared openly?

Please join the conversation by commenting, as well as sharing the post. Thanks.

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  • http://joelfortner.wordpress.com Joel Fortner

    All day I’ve been looking for faces to stick QR codes on! Thanks a lot, Jon!

    • http://Chrislocurto.com Chris LoCurto

      BAHHHHH!!!

  • http://ericspeir.com/ Eric Speir

    I love reading posts like these because I always walk away with more ideas. I had been thinking about putting up a whiteboard in my office for ideas and such. This offers some good insight. One of the keys to a good idea is following up with action. I think this is one area where many people fall short. Maybe you could write a post on execution of ideas?!

    • Charlie

      Eric, the same people who fall short with execution of ideas will fall short with execution of the advise in the post about execution. Think about this.

      • http://Chrislocurto.com Chris LoCurto

        HAHAHA…that’s awesome! I am going to push back a little on that though. I believe you are correct to a certain extent, but I have found that a TON of folks have never been taught how to execute in the first place. Those folks have a good chance. The rest…will fall short. :-)

        • Charlie

          Makes sense! then Eric and I [and those folks] are waiting for that post….

  • http://lgthaxton.wordpress.com Louise Thaxton

    All I can say is WOW – and “The First 100 Days” looks like a great book! And what a great marketing idea – love it. And I guess it gets me to thinking about the “first 100 days” of anything. I just joined an on-line community known as “Active Rain” a few weeks ago – mostly realtors and mortgage professionals. But this blog has me thinking of things I wish I had known in the “first 100 days….” of joining that community. And then you think of the “…first 100 days as a new believer…” or the “….first 100 days – Okay – I may have to blog that!

    • http://Chrislocurto.com Chris LoCurto

      hahaha…I think you got something there Louise.

  • Charlie

    WOW!!! Complete disappearance of the boundaries between online and offline. Thanks for sharing

    • http://Chrislocurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Thanks Charlie! Jon is a great guy!!

      • http://jjedlin.wordpress.com jjedlin

        It’s exciting to see how quickly technology can change everything. Thanks for the comments!

  • Joel Fortner

    Wow! Very cool idea to begin with and a great example of borrowing and applying it to something totally different. Goes to show you don’t always have to have the original idea to be relevant and impactful.

    • http://Chrislocurto.com Chris LoCurto

      And this from a PR guy. That says a lot!

    • http://jjedlin.wordpress.com jjedlin

      Thanks Joel!