Something hurts so someone asks for help that leads

This preview shows page 3 - 5 out of 11 pages.

Something hurts, so someone asks for help. That leads to an examination, then research to understand the context and extent of the problem. But at this point we only know the symptoms. We still haven't defined the problem. How do we define the problem? Begin by assembling all the relevant players in a room. If there are too many rele- vant players to fit in one conference room, hold a series of interviews. Ask each player to describe the unmet need, or in other words, to suggest the cause of the problem. Write down each suggestion. Nothing you will do on the project will be more important. With each suggestion, ask in turn for its cause. And then the cause of the cause. And then the cause of the cause of the cause. This involves acting like a two-year-old child, in that you must ask why after every response. Don't give up easily. Keep at it like a two-year-old. By the time you reach the point where everyone in the room wants to strangle you, you will very likely have found the root cause of the problem. Total quality management experts often use a fish-bonediagram to facilitate the process of finding the root cause of a problem. Fish-bones are a good way to structure the responses. It is also a useful mnemonic device for this stage of the process. Documenting the need After identifying the root cause of the problem, I find it useful to articulate and document it, in a formal problem statement. I recommend that an individual write the state- ment and propose it to the rest of the group, because writing by committee can be slow and often leads to verbose and fatuous statements. Ideally the problem is stated in a single sentence that way it has some hope of being clear and memorable. The form of the problem statement varies depending on the type of problem. I will describe three types of problem statements: cause-and- effect; creative brief and positioning. Cause-and-effect statements When working on new or very general types of problems, or problems that seem especially unclear, I resort to a
Image of page 3

Subscribe to view the full document.

somewhat theoretical but rigorous approach. I review Malinowski's basic needs and organize the problem state- ment in terms of cause-and-effect. For more familiar or routine problems, I use more specialized forms. Creative briefs When working on promotional communications, I organize the problem statement into a slightly longer document called a creative brief. Most advertising agencies use formal creative briefs. Many design firms do not. By the way, you may find it helpful to collect creative briefs from agencies you work with or visit. Some creative briefs are quite long. My favorite is a very short one introduced to me by Wunderman. I remember it as the who-what-what- why brief because it asks those four questions: Who is your audience? What do they believe about your product today? What do you want them to believe about your pro- duct after they receive your message? Why will they believe you? When the audience contains identifiable com- ponents, the who-what-what-why creative brief becomes a message matrix. Each audience suggests separate whats
Image of page 4
Image of page 5
  • Fall '19

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern

Ask Expert Tutors You can ask 0 bonus questions You can ask 0 questions (0 expire soon) You can ask 0 questions (will expire )
Answers in as fast as 15 minutes