Define your challenge

An important phase of brainstorming which is often glossed over is defining the challenge itself.

It is important to get the wording of the challenge right before you start. If the challenge is too broad, ie. “How can we sell more luxury apartments?” you run the risk of generating ideas which will, themselves, need their own brainstorm to get to the actual tactics.

Narrow down your challenge further like this: “Using newspaper advertising, how can we attract new investors to buy one of 150 apartments in the next five months?”

As you can imagine, when you move into the idea generation phase, your ideas will already have a better chance of being on brief.

Some time ago, a team of eight from my 400+ ideas agents around the world worked on this exact challenge using the “random word association” technique where they create a list of random words, then use each of those words to spark ideas for the challenge.


Here are some of the amazing ideas they came up with. You might be able to use them to spark ideas of your own for whatever challenge you’re facing right now:

  • Invite property journalists to live there for a week.
  • Communicate the price as if you had to pay it on a daily basis.
  • Market the apartments as luxury retirement accommodation for wealthy retirees. Perhaps a look at promoting one block of the apartments in a slightly different way with some added benefits specific to retirees (such as ramps and handrails in all the right places). Leverage the notion of community and proximity to other likeminded persons to appeal to this target market.
  • Hold a reverse auction for one of the unsold apartments onsite and promote it in all the media and via PR to get people along to the site to see the apartments first-hand, experience the area, see how short the transit time is, etc.
  • Once they are all onsite, a reverse auction is essentially done in this way – bids are taken silently (entered into a computer or perhaps text to a special number), there is a cut off time and at that time the person with the lowest unique bid (or lowest unmatched bid) gets to buy the apartment for that price.
  • So in theory, your ad could read, “Your chance to buy an apartment for 1c” to create interest and PR-ability… the benefit to you is a mass onsite sales opportunity to have people experience the units for themselves, create demand through sheer volume of people onsite, all expressing interest in an apartment to call their own, as well as a massive PR stunt opportunity to gain free exposure before, during and after the event.


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