Thanks so much to #INSEAD for having me on their Emerging Markets pod! I appreciated this great question about evaluating ideas as an agency leader. My answer? The best ideas have to touch my HEAD + HEART + SOUL. Read on to consider this framework for evaluating the best ideas.
HEAD – Does this idea cause me to think differently?
As I consider a new idea, does it challenge me intellectually? One IKEA campaign really inspired me – called “Thisables.”
This campaign challenged me to think more empathetically about furniture design, and all that I’ve personally taken for granted. I hadn’t realized how difficult it is for people with disabilities to get up off the couch, open a door, or complete some of the functions I don’t even have to think twice about! Now THIS was a great idea.
Here’s a different take on the question – Does this idea inspire me to think about things differently? As a more whimsical example, we created a campaign for Innocent Juice last year.
As we were consider how to talk about the “NFC” or Not From Concentrated benefit, a team member happened upon an insight. Did you know that there’s a strong community of people who HATE fruit? The team began to follow these communities of “Non-Fruit Consumers.” Now, we had great fun learning about how some are simply repulsed by fruit! And leveraged this insight to flip the story. Check out the Innocent Juice campaign here.
HEART – Am I feeling inspired to act or be better?
When approached with a new idea, does it touch me emotionally? I remember being so inspired by Annie, our Head of Communications. She proposed an idea for World Ocean Day, but smartly didn’t lead with the idea. Rather, she asked me, “Did you know that there are more face masks than jellyfish in the ocean?” WOW. According to The Guardian, more than 1.5 billion masks made their way into our oceans last year 😨 These masks are hurting and killing wildlife. In fact, ocean life is getting choked and suffocated by masks, and sea birds find their feet hopelessly tangled in the straps. That’s why on this World Ocean Day, Annie proposed that we “Cut the Strap.”
Yes, I’m in! The idea inspires me to act better, and provides a simple, practical way to do so. I’m so proud that this idea led by McCann for the China market was recognized as an award-winning CSR initiative!
SOUL – Does the idea change the way I engage with the world?
Does the idea stir my soul? Does it touch the deepest part of me, affecting the way i want to engage with the world around me? One idea that has been germinating for years, stemmed from my Spare Room. You see, as we cared for more and more vulnerable babies, children and young adults, our family began to feel a deep sense of conviction and purpose in what we were doing. Eventually, the idea solidified as Social Legacy, the intersection of one’s Offense + Offer.
It’s about identifying and owning what each of us was uniquely gifted to contribute with this one, precious life of ours. (For my “Spare Room” TEDx talk, click here)
To share a campaign that touched my soul, I loved the L’Oréal and Neiwai brand collaboration. The mega-beauty brand joined a Chinese lingerie and loungewear brand, encouraging Chinese women to feel comfortable in their own skin.
The brands launched coordinated product lines with a nude color palette that complements Asian skin tones. Further, the products were named after what women traditionally felt embarrassed about, or tried to hide. These were adorable, inspiring products like Little Freckles, and Wheat-Color Tan in a world where whitening is still revered. Might these product lines and stories encourage women to embrace their whole selves a bit more? To feel more confident in their own skin? Wow, that’d be amazing!
What do you think about this framework? Do you have other ways you evaluate the best ideas? I’d love to hear your thoughts!