By John Hall - November 26, 2018
This is Part 3 of Your Unique Marketing Advantage - where you get to generate ideas! If you are new to this blog, take a look at Part 1 and Part 2, which are about Information Gathering, a very important part of the process.
Ready to generate ideas for your next great amenity offering? Here is the best way to find them:
Don’t let that be a dirty word! You may have had experience with brainstorming sessions that are poorly run, but when well-executed, there is still no better tool for the creation of innovative ideas. There are so many articles out there about how to brainstorm effectively - and you should definitely read up before you start - but let’s talk about what your particular brainstorm session should encompass.
1) Collect your raw data
In other words, everyone makes lists. Lists of information gleaned from talking to prospective residents. Lists of any competitive data they can find. Lists of neighborhood information. Before the session starts, have every participant put all of their intel into lists, and then put that data on to a master list. Don’t assume that any of it is meaningless. You want all of it!
2) Categorize it
Look for common threads in the data, and put it into different categories. There are different ways to do this, but the classic method is called a SWOT analysis. What is SWOT?
Identifying strengths and weaknesses in conjunction with opportunities and threats will give you a better handle on the best solutions. Here is a cool thing about SWOT analysis: most of the things that you discuss will fit into more than one category. This creates a discussion that inevitably brings you much closer to finding great new ideas.
3) Collect ideas
At this point, you will have identified a handful of areas that you can take advantage of, and it is time to generate ideas. Like you did with your raw data, you need to go back to collecting as many ideas as possible. When brainstorming fails, it is usually because people are afraid to throw things out there at this step. Hint: Start with your weaknesses, but keep the main focus on your strengths.
4- Narrow those down
Once you have a list of ideas, you can start to hone in on specific ones, and put people in charge of further research and implementation. Some ideas will be eliminated, but more will often end up being combined into better ideas - usually much better than what one person will have come up with on their own. And, when participants have truly participated in the process, they have a sense of ownership in carrying out the appropriate action.
So, to put it simply, make sure that you include your entire staff in all four of these steps: Collect (lots of) information - Narrow it down to categories - Collect (lots of) ideas - Narrow those down to working solutions.
Need more inspiration? Next week, we will talk about where some of the game-changing amenities that we have seen come from!
[Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash]