Understanding the mind and heart of your consumer is crucial when it comes to successful concept development. Our secret to success is our pool of incredible Creative Consumers® associates (CCs). Each one is highly articulate, imaginative, and thoroughly trained in creative problem-solving techniques. They help to co-create breakthrough ideas that drive our clients' project forward—all while grounding concepts in authentic consumer insights, perspective, and language.
We asked one of our long-time CCs, Frank Auer, to tell us what it’s like to be a CC. Here is his response:
Initially it may seem as if being a CC is just fun and games—without being challenging and without a solid application to personal life. Nothing could be further from the truth.
From my experience there are three main challenges to being a CC that also apply to daily life: Endurance, Acceptance, and Understanding.
One cannot simply be prepared with one idea. In session this means the CC must power through round after round of constant new ideas, always stretching for new views and thoughts. I believe that people who always search and stretch are prepared for what life throws at them. There is many a story of a successful creative person having a smashing success, but then floundering because they have no second, let alone, third idea.
As Creative Consumers® associates, we must accept all ideas. We cannot simply reject an idea because it sounds silly or impossible to us. To refuse ideas is to shut down discussion, and essentially not respect the thoughts of others. In everyday life, you would do well to truly listen to people’s ideas. Do not reject them just because they may initially sound strange or too “out there.” While the idea as a whole may not work, it may very well hold a nugget of great value that you can spin into a unique, fantastic idea. You just have to learn to accept and value all ideas.
Understanding what others are asking for, or need, is vital to being a good CC. Being able to interpret a client’s request and understand how it applies to the ideas in my head can always be a challenge. As Creative Consumers® associates, we have large blocks of ideas but we also need to understand the client’s need in order to shape and sculpt those ideas in a way that is useful to their objectives. I think of it as Super-Powered Active Listening. You must actively process what you are being told, and be willing to ask questions to fill in the gaps, in order to move forward in a manner that benefits those involved.
As a CC, I strive to use all three facets of my abilities. However, even if I wasn’t a CC, I think I would endeavor to make use of these skills in my daily life to be a better employee, friend, and family member.
To hear more from our CCs, including Frank, check out our Staying Creative at Home videos for ideas to unlock your creativity—even while #WorkingFromHome.
©2020 Ideas To Go, Inc. All rights reserved. Originally published 5/2012, updated 10/2020
Ideas To Go is an innovation agency that leads start-ups to Fortune 500 companies through insights exploration, ideation, and idea and concept development while incorporating the voice of the consumer.