Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Let's brainstorm!

Yesterday I had the opportunity to lead a brainstorming session for an upcoming vehicle launch that I'm working on. In preparation for this meeting, I consulted one of my old college textbooks, Strategic Communications Planning for Effective Public Relations and Marketing (Wilson & Ogden, 2004), for some ideas on how to conduct the most effective brainstorming sessions. I thought I'd share a few ideas with you here, and in the true spirit of brainstorming, ask for your ideas as well. Here are some of the author's (my paraphrasing) tips:

1. Brainstorming should last no less than five minutes and no longer than 20. 
2. Brainstorming is not the time to evaluate ideas. If you think it, say it. By thinking of something and not saying it you're silently evaluating your own ideas. Wilson and Ogden go so far as saying that even laughter is a form of evaluation. 
3. Record the session for review later. 
4. Skip the details. State your idea and then move on to another one. Specific details should be reserved for evaluation later on.

These are only a few of the brainstorming tips from the textbook, but I've found they work very well. I wasn't able to steer the brainstorming yesterday in exactly this direction, but we came close enough and generated some awesome ideas. What else have you found effective in brainstorming sessions? 

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Case for PR Theories

It's been an uphill battle for me lately as I've worked vigorously to defend General Motors and make the case as to why we should receive some government loans. Unfortunately, due to some grossly inaccurate perceptions of our company, and the media's near unrelenting coverage of the "corporate jets" issue, it's been difficult to convince many of our critics and even more difficult to get our message out there.

As I have pondered these difficulties in our communications efforts, I've started to wonder whether there might be some kind of public relations theory or theories that might help us do better. Many people, including fellow PR colleagues, have criticized GM for not doing enough to get our message out there, but I have to respectfully disagree. I think we're all working as hard as we can and are staying focused on a few key messages, but it just doesn't seem to be making it through.

I remember studying a few theories in college, but I failed to see the real world application of them. Perhaps it's time for me to rethink this. What PR theories do you feel would help most in the PR situation GM currently finds itself in? Now, I'm not asking for your input as to what GM should do or should have done (trust me, I hear enough of that), but I am asking for some good theories I can study. So what do you have for me?