logo Austin Williams logo

All Blogs

Best Practices for Generating Breakthrough Ideas

The best brands are those that stand out by behaving differently, not simply for the random sake of being different, but because they find a unique and compelling way in which to connect with their audience to forge a relationship that is remarkably meaningful.

These are the brands that get celebrated. These are the brands that create an excitement that moves them from product-status to popular culture phenomenon.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen often enough for many reasons: Fearful clients. Weak agencies. Crowded categories. Commoditization. Laziness. The list goes on.

Here are a few ways to think outside of the box—using tools that can help you develop breakthrough ideas—to push your brand closer to pop culture status:

  1. Examine category conventions, then break them. Look at common behaviors in your category across the range of marketing levels: Corporate, Products & Services, Advertising, Point of Sale. What can be done differently to uniquely deliver on your brand platform? Perhaps the latest interest rate a bank offers is not as motivating as a bank who redefines the way it serves its customers. Maybe a “branch” should behave less like a bank and more like a health club. (And then again, maybe it shouldn’t.)
  2. “Borrow” hot trends from other categories. How might Virtual Boyfriend help the way you recruit new students to a university? Or how might Uber make you think differently about the way in which health care services are provided?
  3. Pretend your company was just taken over by one that you envy. What would happen if Tesla CEO Elon Musk took leadership of your business? What would change? Or if Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos bought you out? What might he change about the way you went to market? What might he change inside the company and its culture?

Brave brands deserve to be celebrated and behave in a way that extends an open invitation—even a rallying cry!—that audiences are compelled to join. Hopefully, these tools will get you thinking brave! Do you have other brave brand-building suggestions? We’d love to hear them.


Austin Williams is an outcomes-driven full service advertising, marketing, digital and public relations agency, creating ideas that inspire action for clients in healthcare, higher education, financial services, nonprofits and professional services.


In Memoriam


Get ready to be inspired. Subscribe now.