Brainstorming can go haywire without a plan of attack. One exercise I have found to be useful is to think about all the ways my client is like a great tourist attraction. I love tourist attractions no matter how touristy: every year, I brave the holiday crowds on Fifth Avenue to see the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center. I loved being at the top of the Eiffel Tower, thrilled when I saw Old Faithful spray – thoroughly enjoy experiencing something special and universal at the same time, with lots of other people around me.
What makes a tourist attraction so attractive? They provide a singular experience that makes for a great story that everyone can relate to.
To start the brainstorm, consider what makes attractions so attractive?
1. They’re reliable. Old Faithful, while not the highest, hottest or most forceful geyser in Yellowstone National Park, is astonishing in its predictability, erupting once every 90 minutes or so. The guardsmen at Windsor Castle never flinch or smile. We get excited thinking about what might happen if this dependability is broken in some way.
a. Brainstorm Q. How can we create a reliable experience with our brand?
b. Bonus Q. What about that experience should be almost “breakable?”
2. They’re someplace they shouldn’t be. Stonehenge, Machu Picchu, The Hollywood sign are in the unlikeliest of places — this is part of their attraction.
a. Brainstorm Q. Where should our brand be to be noticed?
3. Sometimes, they’re open for a limited period of time (and then they come back). Despite the crowds, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, up from Thanksgiving through the New Year, is always worth a thrilling visit.
a. Brainstorm Q. How can we make this covetable and franchise it year after year?
4. They’re not exclusive. Everyone wants to feel in the know about something, but tourist attractions are the exact opposite, they appeal to the widest possible audience. Who doesn’t thrill to the magnificent view of Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower?
a. Brainstorm Q. What is in it for all our target audiences?
5. They have a wow factor. A great view, huge size, small enclosure. These are tourist attractions in the making.
a. Brainstorm Q. How can we make our brand Huge? Tiny? Stupendous? Scary?
The next time you brainstorm a PR campaign, social media strategy, or special event for your brand, ask yourself what it would take to make your brand into a must-see attraction. Make sure it has staying power – how can this be repeated year after year? Place it somewhere disruptive. Figure out how it can appeal to a wide audience, and that means breaking the experience down for different audience segments and knowing the stories that they can tell about it. What’s in it for kids? Teens? Moms & Dads? Hipsters?
Let me know what attractions you come up with, I’ll be sure to visit!
Have a great brainstorming technique to share? Tell me your story!