We’ve all been there. Pressed to make a recommendation or, even more, the final decision on an ad campaign. The mind reels: Is the work on brand and on strategy? Which idea is the best one? Is this a great idea or just average? Will consumers care? Will they share? Etc. Etc.

Are all these questions useful? Of course. But if we’re evaluating unique, breakthrough solutions, maybe we should also apply unique, breakthrough decision-making techniques to how we evaluate those solutions. Such as:

    1. The 10/10/10 Rule. In Decisive, Chip and Dan Heath use this exercise to help weigh the short- and long-term implications of your decisions. It involves asking: How might I feel about a decision 10 minutes from now? 10 months from now? And 10 years from now? So, how could this work in our world?
      10 minutes: Can we execute this idea properly?
      10 months: Will we have exceeded goals and maximized market impact?
      10 years: Will we have protected and even expanded what our brand stands for?
      This isn’t the idea that eventually kills the brand, is it?
    2. What would make your competition uncomfortable? This popular tactic for making key in-game decisions in sports (example: analytics say football teams should use all 4 downs) is also applicable to the marketing world. So, what would make your rival or market leader nervous? Yes, being different from competitors is important, but which campaign would cause their greatest concern? It’s a good way to ensure you’re leveraging your unique, differentiating assets.
    3. Sharpen Occam’s razor. With this philosophical principle, the simplest explanation (or in our case, marketing solution) is generally the best. Consumers aren’t interested in piecing together your brand’s story, so the fewer steps it takes to evoke a feeling, the better. (By the way, for those who clicked the link, who knew that there’s a Simple English version of Wikipedia? Mind blown.)
    4. Identify the strongest foundation. Like families searching for a new home, be on the lookout for campaigns with a strong foundation and room to grow. Pay attention to that idea that you can’t stop talking about—that generally means it’s easy to build upon, extend, and evolve.
    5. What gets you excited? As the father of an 8-month-old, we have one criterion when it comes to choosing a mom-dad movie: which one can we stay awake for? Applied to advertising: which idea gets you excited? Is this a movement you can get behind and champion? Because by the time this campaign hits the market, and every day thereafter, you need to be committed to the effort for it to succeed.


So the next time you’re asked to evaluate an ad campaign, just be sure to pick the idea that is simple but expandable, keeps you awake, puts your competition on high alert, and positions the brand well for the future. Easy enough, right?

Have a decidedly wonderful weekend everybody!
– Your always-conclusive friends at Brokaw.

So, what would make your rival or market leader nervous?

tweet it