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ICON Preview: Brainstorming Differently to Win More Business

This post is brought to you by GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ — a proud sponsor of PRSA. 

This year will mark the 10th time in the last 11 years I will attend the PRSA International Conference (ICON), what many people including myself consider to be the top PR industry conference. With seeing old friends, meeting new ones and taking away key learnings to help my team and advance my career, it never gets old.

Do you know what else never gets old? Winning new business. However, winning new accounts or business can be challenging from a creative perspective as well as incredibly time-consuming.

But what if there’s a different way to approach your brainstorming that could lead to more efficient, productive and fun sessions that could help you win more business while generating better ideas for your agency, organization or client?

After leading a similar session at PRSA’s Northeast District Conference in Buffalo, N.Y., in June, I’m excited to present “Improving Brainstorming Methods to Win More Business” at ICON. Our creative consultancy team at GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ puts a twist on a brainstorming method known as “Six Thinking Hats,” which was originally championed by renowned philosopher, conceptual thinker and author Edward de Bono. This approach, which is utilized by our internal agency called The Records Lab, continues to help us generate winning PR and advertising campaign ideas for our commercial clients.

The basic idea is that you will have a more effective brainstorming session if everyone is considering the same point of view, or what is known as Parallel Thinking. Here is a snapshot of the “Six Hats” approach:

Blue hat — Planning and reflection

White hat — Gathering/reviewing facts and information

Green hat — What are the potential solutions?

Yellow hat — What is potentially effective about each idea?

Red hat — Favorite ideas based on intuition

Black hat — Cautionary hat

I’ll explore how this works and lead an abbreviated brainstorming session at ICON. You’ll walk away with an understanding of how the creative process is broken down utilizing this method; how ego and the problem of bowing to perceived authority can be removed from the equation; and how it generates the “right” idea, not “my idea.”

In addition, I will provide tips on how to better qualify your opportunities in the first place. This will help you avoid wasting time on inquiries that aren’t worthy or ready for your team’s attention.

If you have already registered for ICON (or if you haven’t, here’s the link), please consider joining my session on Sunday, Oct. 7, at 2:45 p.m. And if you have questions about your brainstorming process, feel free to leave them in the comments below so I can potentially address them during my talk.

Also, please join me or find me at two other points during the Conference: First, I’m excited to participate in PRSA’s “Hack-a-Comm” session on Monday, Oct. 8 at 11:45 a.m. to discuss Facebook Live 365: What we learned in a year of digital storytelling. GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS was one of the first brands to partner with Facebook to generate content on the Facebook Live Platform.

We conducted more than 300 broadcasts and I’m excited to share key learnings. Finally, our records team also will be conducting live record breaking at our exhibit booth (where we’ll also be giving out a limited number of the 2019 edition of GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS that just hit the bookshelves and online), so you could return home as an official GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title holder! We believe that everyone is amazing at something, and ICON will be your chance to prove it to yourself, your friends, family and colleagues.

Thanks for reading and I hope to see you in Austin, Texas, where we can learn, have fun and connect — or reconnect!


Keith Green, APR, is vice president, B2B Communications & Partnerships, Guinness World Records.

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