I recently attended a gathering of “Who’s Who in PR,” something I admit I rarely do. It proved to be both predictable — in the questions about challenges we’re facing, how we measure impact and what keeps us up at night — as well as insightful in the variety of responses that made such predictability rewarding.
My initial response to the insomnia question danced around the topic of uncovering ways to package digital results. However, given a little more time, the real answer is the quest for the big idea. Some clients don’t know what that means and therefore never ask. Other clients expect it annually as part of new-year planning. And yet others, who have us as contact favorites, ask for it when there’s pressure on them, the business and a heightened chase for customer acquisition.
First, let’s get some consensus on what “IT” is. A Big Idea should be a concept that has the kind of significance to play out across a quarter, several quarters, even a year or more. The idea itself may land behind the scenes of the execution, but the “ideator” more likely planned it that way. A Big Idea showcases a brand’s strengths and possibly the competition’s weaknesses. It offers the brand a chance to pull out all the stops of its personality. It can be the rallying cry for its employee base and a draw for new talent. A Big Idea doesn’t have to cost millions to execute, but it cannot be done for $5,000 either.
How do you know when you have it? Because it has legs. It breathes extensions and executions almost effortlessly. When presented, there’s a sign of envy in the room. And now that you dozed off, what’s likely to disturb your REM? The panic that your big idea won’t find the resources to see the light of day.