How to set up a creative concept for your organization

Creative marketing concept

A concept for your communication is, in short, a clear and powerful idea of what your organization or brand is and stands for. This concept can serve as the basis for your communication efforts.

A good (creative) concept is distinctive, has longevity, and is not initially focused on a specific communication medium. However, developing a distinctive concept requires a significant dose of creativity.

In this blog article, I will provide you with some guidelines for thinking outside the box to create a creative concept for your organization or brand.

Types of (creative) concepts

First of all, there are different types of concepts. These are not mutually exclusive and can overlap. Generally, there are four types of concepts:

  • Effect concept: This type of concept showcases the result that follows from purchasing the product or service.
  • Comparison concept: This type of concept positions your organization or brand opposite another organization or brand.
  • Explanation concept: This type of concept explains the benefits of a product, how it works, and its key elements. This type is ideal for products with a story.
  • Association concept: This type of concept establishes a connection between the brand and something else. It is particularly effective when aiming to appeal to the buyer's emotions and experiences with the product.

Generating concepts

When brainstorming creative concepts, it is important to explore different perspectives. Therefore, let us examine common viewpoints: what are the assumptions about this subject? By reversing these assumptions and questioning them, you can generate entirely new ideas. Here is an example:

Assumptions about the library

Reversal of assumption

The library is only open during the day

You can only borrow and return books

You're not allowed to buy the books

There are only books

We organize a special opening night

The library delivers books to your home

You can purchase books (with a discount)

We add a coffee corner


Example questions to develop a creative concept

A questionnaire can also serve as a starting point for developing a concept. Below are 44 questions that can guide and stimulate the thinking process for a creative concept. Some questions also include examples.

What is it?

  1. How does it look physically?
  2. How is it made?
  3. Where is it made? 
  4. What is the biggest misconception about it?
  5. What happens when you exaggerate its benefits enormously? 
  6. What if you turn a disadvantage into an advantage?
  7. What if you turn an advantage into a disadvantage?
  8. What is the history behind it?
  9. What is the secret that no one knows yet? 

Where, when and how do you use it?

  1. What do you taste, smell, feel, hear, experience when using it? 
  2. What other things do you use it with?
  3. Can you change the location or timing of its use?
  4. What if you use the product for a different purpose?
  5. What is the most bizarre application?

Why is it used?

  1. What problem does it solve, what need does it fulfill?
  2. Who are the biggest fans?
  3. Why don't people buy it?
  4. What is the difference with/without and before/after using it?
  5. When is it completely useless?
  6. What is a possible unexpected surprising side effect?

What if everything is different?

  1. What if you place it in a different time?
  2. What if you choose a different location or setting?
  3. What if you put the product in a completely different context?
  4. What if a baby, child, man, woman, dog, smurf etc., uses it?
  5. What if it could move, speak, or come to life?
  6. What if you reverse cause and effect?

What associations does it evoke?

  1. What can you compare it with in nature?
  2. Is there anything comparable in love or eroticism?
  3. What if you compare it to something completely different?
  4. What does it have (partial) similarities with?
  5. What is its opposite/reverse?

How can you visualize it?

  1. Can you visualize the essential benefit in one clear image?
  2. What if you emphasize only one aspect?
  3. What if someone else chooses the USP?
  4. What if it plays a role in a story, legend, fairy tale or movie?
  5. What if you change the form, use, or environment?
  6. What can you omit or add?
  7. What can you make smaller or bigger?

What can you do with language?

  1. What is the most essential key word?
  2. Can you give a proverb/phrase an unexpected twist?
  3. Can you create a pun with it?
  4. Can you take something literal figuratively, and vice versa?
  5. How would a child, a fan and a hater describe it?
  6. Can you think of a metaphor for it? 

Note that your concept should be both broad and deep: broad because it should be applicable to various communication expressions, and deep because it should give substance to the brand and be usable for an extended period. You can evaluate the concept based on the following criteria:

  • The concept should align with the communication objectives.
  • The concept should be clear and simple: you can explain it in two sentences.
  • The concept should be used consistently but still be surprising.
  • The concept should fit the identity, vibe and style of the brand.
  • The concept should be distinctive.


Michels, W. (2010). Communicatie handboek. Noordhoff Uitgevers: Groningen.