Tag Archives: Brainstorming

Sometimes You Don’t Need Words

Quick post as I know Fridays are always a time where you need a little down time to recharge before the weekend. So here’s a gift to you. Check out Audi’s new TV Spot called Flipbook. I know, as a writer I probably should be promoting something with words. However, this spot is just pure magic and a great way to help you stop and really look at what is happening within the spot; without words to distract (gasp!)
Check it out for yourself.

For me, watching the latest TV spots is just something I have done for years. It’s a way to let my creative side explore, renew and in this case, sit back and enjoy. What other ways do you spur your own creativity? I’d love to hear from you.
Happy TV commercial exploration!
Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

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Do You Suffer From Thought Blockage?



Don't Block A Thought-Nov. '08

Don't Block A Thought Again- Nov'08


In the past few days, things have been very busy around here, which is a good thing, but makes the idea well dry up quickly. I have looked though all my ideas and (gasp) discovered that I haven’t been able to brainstorm on fresh ideas for about 3 weeks. Not good. So when I was chatting the other day with a writer buddy, he mentioned a great book that I must recommend to anyone who has to have a quick, creative idea on demand.


The book is called The Writers Block-786 Ideas to Jump-Start Your Imagination,  Jason Rekulak’s book is fantastic!  And no, you don’t have to be a creative person to make this puppy work! Anyone can do it, it’s fun and best of all if you don’t like the creative prompt you see, all you have to do is turn the page. Check it out for yourself and see how it can help your business come up with some off-the-wall, innovative ideas to help support your business’ success. 

Share your thoughts with me and let me know how this works for you!


All the best in preventing thought blockage-

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

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5 Reasons You Should Hire a Freelance Writer (Part 2 of a 3 part series)


Rome, Italy May 07

Rome, Italy May 07

A few years ago I was in Rome and couldn’t believe the mass of humanity all around me. It was amazing. All walks of life, young people, old people, people looking for love, people in love and lots of people withstanding the loved ones they were with … you get the picture.  So, when I stood on at the top of the Spanish Steps I wondered, what if I could yell hello to everyone standing below and grab their attention all at once? I could say hello in at least 5 languages, but surely I would leave someone out and not be able to connect.  I think we often craft our marketing messages in much the same fashion. We go out there, try to yell hello to the entire group without thinking how to connect with the right words and phrases.

This is why it is so vital to craft a message and generate a concept that is truly unique to the product/service you are promoting. This is why utilizing an accomplished freelance writer makes sense. They often have a strong foundation of client experience and bring a wealth of knowledge to the table. It’s great ideas that your company can build upon and use to create a free flowing stream of solutions for your business.

Yesterday I discussed two reasons for hiring a freelance writer. I want to continue this discussion with one of the most important reasons to hire a writing expert. 

3) Stronger conceptualization with a sprinkling of verbal control – Big Ideas, Enormous Results

One of the most important things your writer can do is effectively brainstorm. It is key for a writer to know how to concept not only with you the client but also with the rest of the creative team. Having the ability to work with multiple business cultures, personalities and daily-to-day challenges is vital when crafting a cohesive message for your clients. 

Often, a staff writer is unable to change the team’s mind when it comes to effective writing and what makes sense for the target audience. Let’s face it, they work together on a day-to-day basis and often begin talking the same speak. They may even loose the ability to communicate to the potential customer in a way that captures their attention.

An experienced freelance copywriter is steadfast in their idea generation and can produce hard-hitting concepts that generate results. They see “creativity” as only a portion of the process and often look to other places, besides their own lives, to concoct successful ideas. They have a multitude of client experiences and bring that expertise to the brainstorming session, which can be invaluable. 

When it comes to generating ideas I look at it as how “powerful” is the concept and then I focus on how “creative” is the concept. Here are some questions to ask to ensure powerful communication over creative fluff.


  • Does the message connect with my audience or is it over their head? (If you’re using tech words or ad industry jargon to be cleaver, your words are empty.)
  • Am I using humor just to get a laugh? (Humor is a great tool when used correctly. However, if you’re just using it to get a laugh, you’ll find your targeted message is often being missed.)
  • Have I told my audience what I want them to do? (If you don’t provide a strong call to action, your customers may be lost. While your ad may be unique, eye-catching and creative, it may get missed if the reader isn’t lead to the right outcome.)
These are just a few things to consider when crafting your message for effectiveness and connection. Hiring a seasoned writer who has a handle on brainstorming and how to craft a message with a team is key to the success of a company’s marketing message.
Tomorrow will conclude our discussion of the Top 5 reasons to hire a freelance writer.
Until then, happy concepting!

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3 ways to generate a treasure chest of ideas (Part 3 of a 3-part series)


The Light Goes On -Sept-08

The Light Goes On -Sept-08

Today’s final topic in the three-part series on brainstorming focuses on using unusual combinations within your business to heighten your reach, create new ideas and develop useful strategies that take you business from “business as usual” to “business is unusually busy”. 


One technique that I have used with some of my clients is Unusual Combination Brainstorming. With this method I help the client take their current situation (slow sales, needing a presence in their current marketplace or selling a brand new product) and try to match it up with a service provider, a new way to brand themselves or an exciting look that is completely unrelated to their current approach.

Think about yesterday’s example of Word Association Brainstorming. If a client needed to create a toothbrush that helped to promote better dental hygiene, I might suggest that the client think of list of items that were unrelated to the product they produce. Who knows if they would have come up with a timer, an eye chart or even a garden hose. (Just remember the unrelated item needs to help solve the problem.) What is important is that they create something different than the norm, while fulfilling the need of their customer. 

Try it for yourself. Whether you’re brainstorming for a new tagline or you want to develop a product that gives you a competitive edge, take time to think about other combos, moving your business to the next level. 


  • Write down 5-10 items that have nothing to do with your product/service.
  • Make a list of 3 providers you know that might offer those products/services you have written down.
  • Determine if a partnership can be created that’s win-win for each of you.
  • Ask friends, family and business associates to brainstorm with you.
  • Talk to a young person, see what they can cultivate, often their young minds are much more creative that ours.
I’d love to know your thoughts about brainstorming and would be happy to answer any questions you may have. Drop me a line.
Have a great weekend-

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3 ways to generate a treasure chest of ideas (Part 2 of a 3-part series)

Words are my thing.

Words make me happy. Words can bring people together. Words often bring about change. Words are powerful and when documented can impact lives for decades.

So when it comes to changing the way you do business, or solving a problem that has your company stumped, I think words are often one of the most important tools in your arsenal. 

As we continue to talk about idea generation and the impact it can make on your next challenge, I bring up one of my favorite brainstorming exercises. Check out idea empowerment tool #2.

2) Apply word associations to your problem-solving tactics.

This kind of brainstorming involves using multiple lists of words to discover uncommon links that creatively communicate or solve your current business objective.

Here’s an example:

You are a company that makes toothbrushes. Many of the dentists you sell to have made the comment that their patients aren’t practicing good dental hygiene. They tell you that they would buy more toothbrushes from you if the toothbrushes made their patients want to take better care of their health. Now, could invent such a toothbrush?

Wow sounds like a tall order and a great opportunity! By using word association brainstorming, you can tackle this challenge head on, it works like this. 


  • Survey the problem at hand or tackle an idea your company is trying to promote (i.e. creating a new line of toothbrushes that help encourage better dental hygiene)
  • Begin with a word that focuses on your challenge (i.e. Tooth, Brush, Hygiene) (see photo)
  • Circle the phrase or multiple phrases that work to solve your challenge (i.e. Floss Daily, Make Convenient, How Long to Brush?, Time Yourself) (see photo)
  • Join your words together and discover the power of word association brainstorming (i.e. Create a toothbrush that has a build-in dental floss dispenser and a timer to ensure a patient brushes their teeth long enough to remove build-up)


This not only works with inventing new product and service lines for your business, it’s also a great starting point for your marketing efforts. Take a look at the words you use to describe your situation. There’s probably a tagline, product name and a simple headline that you can create just from this exercise. Try it out. See what you think and let me know how it goes!

Happy Storming-

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

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3 ways to generate a treasure chest of ideas (Part 1 of a 3-part series)


Idea Book-Sept. 08

Idea Book-Sept. 08

Let’s face it, as it gets closer and closer to the end of the year, we begin to run out of steam. With approaching holidays, 4th quarter deadlines and a host of projects that have to be completed by the end of the year, I am in need of some brainy solutions for my clients. That’s where my treasure chest of ideas comes in handy. Most of you know it as brainstorming.


Off and on through out the year, I gather as many ideas, thoughts, visual inspirational pieces and articles on successful strategy as I can. I store it in this geeky little notebook (that’s a writer for you) so in times when I am busy, I can peer in and find these gold dubloons and craft them into results-driven solutions.  So you’re asking, “Where do I start?”  

Inside the Idea Book-Sept. 08

Inside the Idea Book-Sept. 08









Try these three ways to generate a ton of ideas in a short period of time. 

1) Begin the brainstorm adventure.  Try Monahan’s 100 MPH Thinking™.


  • Take your brainstorming group and divide them up into teams of 3-5 people. 
  • Set a limit on the # of ideas generated in 10 minutes per team. 
  • Give a block of post-it-notes to each team captain. 
  • Start the timer and have the team write down a new idea on each post-it. (This is not the time to self edit, any idea, thought or phrase is game!)
  • Each each team member then selects their two favorites, presents them to the group and then the group as a whole decides which “idea” helps fill your need.


Tip: Hang on to all of the stickies you generated. They can be “golden” and stored in a “idea” book for future use.

2) Tomorrow we’ll discuss word association brainstorming

3) On Friday we’ll discover how unusual combinations often lead to brilliant ideas … think sliced bread or rollerblades. 

Many other factors should also be considered when selecting the brainstorming environment, the people that should attend the storm and a plan on how to review your brainstorming “nuggets” and turn them in to gold. Before your get started, make sure you know how to execute the perfect brainstorming playing field.

Stay tuned, more to come tomorrow …


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New Brains For Sale … Really?

Sounds like something you could use. Right? 

Summer is over and fall is quickly on it’s way. What’s that mean? Well if you’re in the advertising biz it means that the midnight oil is getting poured into our desk lamps in prep for busy weeks. Everyone is cramming their last advertising $ into the final 4th quarter pitch before implementing the 09 marketing plan.

That’s why I want a new brain. One that I can cram a ton of thoughts & ideas into and then easily access it. What? It doesn’t exist. Well until it does I have something that will help with “crazy busy” times his fall.

Check out Tom Monahan’s Do It Yourself Lobotomy. It’s packed with tons of ways to brainstorm new ideas for yourself and your clients.

 I use it often with clients as we work together on projects. It’s fun, helpful and a great idea generator packed in this small, easy to use book.  Try the 180º THINKING™, you’ll go out of your mind. Give it a read, let me know your thoughts!!


Happy Reading-

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

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