16 Reasons Your Great Ideas Make Bad Concepts

Just because you have a great idea doesn't mean you're going to have a great concept. A lot can go wrong in the concept development phase, regardless of how unique or helpful your idea is. Here are the top 16 reasons your breakthrough idea isn't making the cut as a concept.

  1. The concept is too long. The shorter the better—seriously.
  2. The concept is too hard to understand. Drop the big words. Remove long sentences. Keep it simple. 
  3. Insight lines start with "I want," "I wish," or "I need." These are benefits in disguise.
  4. The insight is a cliché or rhetorical statement.
  5. The concept has more than ONE key benefit. Single Benefits = Clean Concepts. 
  6. The insight does not match the benefit.
  7. The product description does not support the benefit.
  8. The concept has too many reasons to believe. Choose 2-3 (tops) that explain the product BEST.
  9. The product description is redundant. And it repeats itself. And it mentions things more than once. And it covers the same ground twice. 
  10. The concept doesn't deliver a consistent message. Start with what you're going to promise, promise it, and then tell them how you'll deliver. 
  11. Concepts are not distinct from one another.
  12. Concepts do not have consistent treatment. Every concept in a set should be roughly the same length, and have the same voice. 
  13. The concept is extremely functional and uses technical words that consumers don't know. We're looking at you, "extruded."
  14. The concept tells consumers what they think, how they feel, or what they want. Even if there's a mountain of research that shows it's true, people don't like it.
  15. The concept's writing is so stylized, or full of errors that it interferes with the idea. Clean and consistent is best.
  16. The concept is not conversational in tone. Many concepts are read out loud to groups, so they should be easily understood out-loud.

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So the next time you're developing concepts, avoid these common errors!

Related Articles:

How To Write Winning Concepts

The Art and Science of Concept Writing

Concept Development: In Search of the Perfect Concept

Jill Reiswig

Jill Reiswig is the Content Marketing Manager 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.