Public relations

How to spark creativity in virtual brainstorms

Written by Pippa Cranham

22 January 2021


Don’t let COVID curb your creativity. Follow our tips to help your creative ideas flow, while working in remote teams.

2020 showed all businesses that it’s important to be able to shift focus, think of alternative ways to meet planned goals, and help the businesses we represent navigate challenges nobody could have planned for.

I recently attended a training session about how to deliver creativity to a B2B audience – and it highlighted to me that, whether you are targeting a consumer or B2B audience, ultimately you are trying to reach people. Therefore, a human-centric creative will win through whomever your audience. This sits well alongside our six-step storytelling formula which we use to help our clients focus on customers’ needs.

At Berkeley, like most agencies, we like to work collaboratively with our client. The most successful relationships are those where both parties trust each other to be able to make suggestions and share thoughts – knowing that as a combined team we deliver great work.

While many people feel that the pandemic, and its resulting lockdown, has limited our creativity, we have been keen not to fall into that trap. While meeting face-to-face has its benefits, we are capable of adapting and just because things are virtual, we can still collaborate and be creative.

Follow our top tips for getting the best out of remote creative brainstorms and steps you may want to consider prior to setting up your virtual sessions.

Our tips to prepare for a virtual brainstorm

Prepare your attendees

Make sure people have been briefed before they attend so they know what they need to prepare before the brainstorm and what to expect from the session.

Set expectations

Let everyone know how the session will run. Either ahead of time, or at the start of the session, allow time to make sure everyone is aware of what needs to be achieved.

Break the ice

Consider how to get things rolling and get everyone into the right frame of thinking before creativity can start. We recently shared a corporate video that gave insight into the client, with their tone and key messaging to set us off really effectively.

Keep it short and to the point

Just as you would in person, make sure you adhere to these rules virtually. Your team will approach the session more positively if they understand the time investment and outcomes.

Don’t expect to get the big idea first time

Many people incubate ideas in different ways, so be prepared not to nail the creative idea in the first session. You may need to book in a follow-up. Many may go away and muse before the perfect idea comes later.

Get moving

Movement encourages thinking. Steve Jobs is famously remembered for conducting many of his meetings whilst walking, so try encouraging your team to stand up or even pace while brainstorming.

Share your invite widely

A virtual event actually makes it easier to get a wide range of teams in the same room, so it is worth inviting people from other disciplines in the company. We regularly invite people from our design and content teams to attend our sessions, which brings wider perspectives and a broader set of ideas to the table.

Keep a record

You may not be able to use a whiteboard so effectively, but still, make sure there is a dedicated note-taker so you can follow up on thinking and capture all the ideas for later.

Thank your attendees

Finally, make sure everyone is thanked for their contribution. It’s a small step but an important one to encourage their goodwill and involvement in future brainstorms.

Do you need help kickstarting a creative campaign?

Our PR team can help. Get in touch.