The 'Break Through' Five

One of the “Campers” last night at Camp Ketchum, my company’s learning boot camp, shared a revelation with me. In the compressed and sometimes tense 24 hours that she and her teammates had to digest, analyze, debate, strategize and ultimately craft a solution for an important client, she began to doubt the process I’d been partly responsible for teaching the day before.
The “Break Through” 5 — five steps my colleague Tera Miller and I recommended for getting from problem to solution quickly and intelligently — seemed logical in theory, but tricky in practice with a team of people with wildly different views and styles.
As this Camper explained it, there was an urge to just jump into tactics, while the process strongly argued for nailing a strategy first. Happily, the camper admitted, she grew to “trust the process,” and seemed grateful to have had it as a guide. So here it is:

The Break Through Five

  1. Objectives as Opportunities – We will target (whom) to help them understand/believe/or do (what)?

  2. Observations as Insights – Look at how people use and talk about the product to glean what’s interesting or significant.

  3. Options as Possibilities – Build off insights to generate many possible ways to meet objectives.

  4. One Idea – Choose one powerful, “break through” idea that meets success criteria.

  5. Outline – Name, frame and explain the main idea and supporting tactics in an organized, outlined format, preferably using visuals.

So next time the prospect of an all-nighter looms, try this out. Judging by the high caliber of the presentations I just watched, it really works.

Karen loves winning trophies for clients, believing awards affirm how much strategy and creativity matter. As Ketchum’s chief strategy and creativity officer, as well as co-lead of Ketchum’s 50+ specialty, she is an evangelist for courage and creativity in communication, and she ensures strategic discipline and creative liberation for the firm’s global network of planners. Her devotion to studying human behavior, crowdsourcing creative ideas and working across silos have contributed to Ketchum winning more awards for clients than any other PR firm. Some of her initiatives include the creation of Mindfire, Ketchum’s crowdsourcing site for fueling creative ideas; the Ketchum Creative Community and related Passion Panels to solve client challenges; and the Ketchum Media Optimizer, the first media planning discipline in the public relations business. As a member of the small minority of female agency creative chiefs, Karen is on a mission to inspire and empower more women to take on lead creative roles.