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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.

Written by: Vickie Sullivan  |  February 02, 2016

How Ideas Catch Fire

Ideas that catch fire

What happens when good (and funny) friends get together? With me, I get loud and rowdy. And that’s exactly what transpired when BFF June Cline invited me on her and Sandy Weaver Carman’s show The Happiness Recipe.

They asked me a great question: how do I know what ideas catch fire? If I had enough time, this is the answer I would have given them:

Too many so-called strategists give what I call “30,000-foot insights.” That is, they predict trends by the decisions made. (Example: everybody is buying red hats. Therefore, red hats are popular. Duh.) Then they position these ideas as “exciting” by using a clever analogy or turn of phrase. The result: the same message in a different hat. The market yawns.


Related: Why Brilliant Thought Leaders Get Ignored


Instead of using different words to say what’s already out there, I look for the silence. What do folks believe but don’t discuss? That’s the elephant in the room. Any idea that taps into what is believed but not said will get attention.

The biggest mistake most influencers make is that they take advantage of the obvious. I can understand why: it’s easy, and these ideas already get attention. The problem is everyone else does that too, so you won’t stand out.

To find your best idea that will catch fire, you have to drill down a little. You have to find that silence in the nook or crannies of your experience. That’s where your best brand messages are found.

>> Click here to listen to the full interview.


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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.