Sometimes, your baby is just ugly

Screen shot 2010-03-23 at 10.54.44 PM Thick skin. 

We had a lively discussion on that very topic at work this week. 

As marketing professionals, it's our job to come up with compelling ideas (writing, design, etc. etc.) that will trigger actions and reactions from the intended audiences.

To discover those ideas requires a great deal of collaborative thinking and working together to sift through, push, pull and generally heat test each of them to see if they can stand up.  That can be brutal if you've made the fatal flaw of falling in love with your own idea.

Brainstorming has this "warm and fuzzy" image.  Who wouldn't like to just sit around and think up ideas?  It sounds so wistful and charming.

But in the pragmatic world of marketing, you don't really have time to putter around in the ideation stage for too long.  You need to shift back and forth — generating ideas, evaluating ideas, building off each other's ideas and twisting and turning someone's ugly baby into something interesting and curious.

Sometimes to get to the truly genius idea — you have to pop the head off of someone's ugly baby.  There it is… the cruel truth about brainstorming. 

You might be the poor shlub who has to watch his idea get trampled in the quest for the really, really remarkable solution. 

I don't know about you, but when I'm trying to be creative — I have to go through a lot of horrific, trite, pun-like ideas before I get to the good ones.  And usually in the early stages, I sometimes come up with an idea or two that I think is just about as smart as anything could possibly be.

Until someone starts knocking holes into it.  When I was young (both in age and professional maturity) I'd get upset and defensive.  It hurt. After all… that was MY idea and it was THE answer.  I clung to it, fighting off the enemy who wanted to attack my baby.  I was sure it was THE answer.

Of course… it wasn't THE answer.  And by putting it through its paces and criticizing it out loud, my co-workers were able to riff off my mediocre idea to get to something fresh and new. 

My ideas — the good ones, bad ones, off the wall ones — even the ugliest babies in the bunch are a part of the process.  And my job isn't to create "art" and defend it to the death.  Our clients can't afford for me to fall in love with the ugly babies just because they're mine.

How about you — do you make it okay for other people to tell you that your baby is ugly?

Photo thanks to MetsBallers

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]