Dave Trott’s Blind Brainstorm

In Dave Trott’s fantastic compendium of advertising lessons, ‘Predatory Thinking, A Masterclass in Out-Thinking the Competition’, Dave describes a method that his agency uses when they first win work with a new brand.

“Whenever I’m in charge of a pitch, the team always sits down together before we start finding things out. We always write down everything we know about the product, the brand and the market.

At the point we heard we were pitching.

Before we started researching.

Because that is the only time we’re ever actually in the same place as the consumer.”

I love this idea and have started using it myself. I call them blind brainstorms. The technique helps you capture perceptions of the brand before you become too immersed in it, before your thinking becomes swayed by knowledge.

When you’re close to a brand, your view of it is different to consumers’. Your frame of reference becomes skewed. Dave explains this difference of perspective using a telescope analogy.

“It’s like looking down different ends of a telescope. Clients, naturally, look down the end that magnifies the brand or the product. Until it takes up their whole world. But the consumer is looking down through the other end. Where the brand/product may be a tiny part, if it exists at all.”

Your ignorance is an asset. It’s something you have that brand teams don’t. But when it’s gone it’s gone. Capture it while you can.

Hey. I’m Alex Murrell. I'm a Planner at Epoch Design in Bristol where I help deliver highly creative, innovative and effective pack, instore and online communications for some of the world’s biggest FMCG brands. Want to know more? You can find me on Twitter or LinkedIn.


  1. rachelle corker

    Love it!
    Great bit of insight there Al…I may steal that one if I may 😉

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