Once you’ve determined the best position for your brand, the next step is figuring out how you’re going to occupy that position in the minds of your target audience. Hence the “next big marketing idea”. You’ll need a strong message that ties you to your position in the market, as well as effective, creative ways to deliver that message to consumers. You also have to make sure the message sticks. An idea that combines a strong message, effective delivery, and lasting power is called the “big idea” in advertising. Having a big marketing idea can be all the difference for your company, and can take your marketing efforts from good to great.

Arens, Schaefer, and Weigold (2015) define a big idea as “…a bold, creative initiative that builds on the strategy, joins the product benefit with consumer desire in a fresh, involving way, brings the subject to life and makes the audience stop, look and listen.” If that’s not clear enough, here’s my definition:

A devised theme or idea that creatively implements the positioning of the company in the consumer’s mind when compared with the competition.

What are some examples of big ideas? You’re probably familiar with the Chick-fil-A cows who advocate for people to “eat mor chikin”, or All State Insurance’s Mayhem character, representing all the strange accidents “cut-rate” insurance companies don’t cover. The Pillsbury Doughboy and the Geico Gecko have been big ideas for their companies as well. Celebrity spokespersons and memorable slogans can also be big ideas, like Samuel L. Jackson asking “What’s in your wallet?” for Capitol One.

Your big idea doesn’t have to be a new spokesperson or a clever mascot. Some companies use a repeated storyline with different characters and situations to make a series of ads. This can be a good way to secure your market position through repetition without getting stale. A good example is Ameriquest Mortgage’s “Don’t Judge Too Quickly” ad campaign. The campaign showed a series of situations where it would be easy to judge someone if you didn’t know the full context. You can see some of the ads here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHG9-of_WtQ .

Ameriquest’s campaign helped secure their position as the mortgage company that won’t judge you for a loan based simply on your credit score. Anything can be a big idea, as long as it helps you secure your market position in a creative and effective way.

How important is it to have a big idea in your advertising? According to David Ogilvy, one of the 20th century’s greatest advertising minds, “unless your advertising contains a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night.” But not all ideas are big, and not all big ideas are good. Ogilvy had five questions to help identify a (good) big idea. Here they are:

  1. Did it make me gasp when I first saw it?
  2. Do I wish I had thought of it myself?
  3. Is it unique?
  4. Does it fit the strategy to perfection?
  5. Could it be used for 30 years?

Hopefully, you’re starting to see how valuable a big idea can be for your business. You may even be wondering how to get started finding your big idea. A good place to begin is with a team of professionals like the people at Highstreet Advertising. Not only will they help you develop your big idea, they also have the experience and skills to put it into action.