Advice From A Concept Writer

Concept writing is both a formulaic exercise AND an art form—but finding the right balance between the two can be difficult for those who are unclear about a concept’s true purpose.

A concept is meant to communicate an idea in a succinct way. For most concepts, the next step in its lifecycle is some kind of qualitative or quantitative testing. But no matter what level of testing your concept is headed for, it’s always best to ensure the words aren’t getting in the way. Here are some tips for making your concepts the best they can be:

  1. TRY NOT TO OVERCOMMUNICATE. Overcommunicating an idea means adding flowery language—or clichés that hide the idea. Writing overly-complicated or technical explanations before a product is actually a product can distract a consumer from the intention of your idea. And, explaining every detail of a feature and how it works—especially if it’s not an essential part of the idea—can be the thing that keeps a consumer from liking the idea as a whole (instead of just that part).
  2. At the same time, AVOID FALLING INTO HOMOGENEOUS SHORT-CUTS AND UNDERCOMMUNICATING YOUR IDEAS. Undercommunicating an idea means you may not have fully fleshed out a raw idea into concept form. This could include presenting a functional benefit (the “no-duh”) instead of pushing towards a more emotional one, not providing enough description to consumers so they can “see it” and understand the idea, or short-cutting an explanation of how something works because your team already knows (and assumes everyone else will too). Be creatively succinct.
  3. THERE IS A METHOD TO THE MADNESS WHEN WRITING GOOD, TESTABLE CONCEPTS:
  • Start with the same basic structure for each concept, so consumers can react to them in an apples-to-apples way.
  • Try to keep concepts in the third-person, so you’re not telling consumers how they feel (they don’t like it).
  • Clearly articulate the benefit, so consumers immediately understand what they get.
  • Use short descriptions (and even short sentences) to succinctly describe the most important aspects of the idea. How it works and/or what it looks like are pretty safe bets.

  • Know what words consumers usually react negatively to—and don’t use those.
  • Remember you’re not writing the great American novel. Keep concepts to less than 2/3 of the page.

ITG-Berndt-0592If you think this seems like a lot of work, you're right—it is. If it sounds like a lot of work you don't have the time or skills for, then it's time for my final tip: call a professional concept writer. Of course, this is where we come in. Our skilled concept writers have written thousands of concepts and are experienced at making your product or service come alive off the page. We invite you to come and see what we can do with your ideas.

 

Click below to download our Concept Writer's Secret Checklist and learn more Concept Writing tips and tricks.

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Liza Babcock

Liza Babcock is the Creative Team Director at Ideas To Go, an innovation agency that works with Fortune 500 companies in ideation and concept development to incorporate the voice of the consumer.