Everyone is creative…

Everyone has created something. It’s part of the human story – to be curious and to want to make or improve something. It could be a better rib recipe or a time saving procedure for your grocery shopping or redesigning your house. All of us have had that moment of awakening when the answer just came to us.

That moment of clarity is an opportunity for change. Some people dig deeper and take it another step to complete the concept and some people are just satisfied by knowing that they solved the puzzle.

The best way to push the development of ideas is to allow yourself the time to think and be inspired. Everyone has a place or a method for inspiration and identifying that is key to continual success.


Dancing corn dogs in the night- coverWhere to find inspiration

My place for inspiration is to wander through a book store with a coffee and thumb through multiple magazines, which may or may not relate to the idea or project that I’m working on. One of my friends says his creative inspiration is late night listening to the crackle of a campfire. In Don Hahn’s book ‘Dancing Corn Dogs in the Night’ he states that a lot of the inspiration, when he was producing Disney’s The Lion King came from his weekly Saturday morning visits to small hardware stores where he would spend hours looking through the bins of plumbing and electrical parts. We all have a zone that works to awaken our creative side.


Our creative process

At Say What! Communications, we have a four step creative process when we are developing ideas for brand marketing concepts:

Step one: The deep dive

We do a deep dive to understand the product, the industry and the client. Research is king.

Step two: The Blue sky session

We do a round table, blue sky thought board, where no idea is a bad idea session – just a list of ideas and thinking.

Step three: The solo thinking time

It’s time for individual thinking and refining to take all the blue sky and hone them down into concepts that answer ‘the why’.

Step four: The debate

We regroup and listen and debate and refine the individual concepts and approaches and choose the directions that we will move forward.


The dream project

Out of the thousands of projects we have worked on over the past 20 years, one stands out as being the most fun. It was a new product development program for one of the world’s largest liquor companies, Hiram Walkers in Windsor Ontario.

The client brief was simple “Part One: develop 1,000 names for a new liqueur targeted at the 21-year-old, early adopters market, and the names should jump off the bar shelves throughout the USA. Part Two: then we’ll pick 10 names and have the Say What! team develop three label executions for each, and we need this in two weeks”.

We said “the studio is yours”. We started by using our 4 step process. It was so much fun and such an open creative experience. The most amazing part about the process was there was never any insight into the product, because the product and flavor would be created to match the name!


Here is the list of the top 10 names that we moved forward with:

  1. Rusty Zipper
  2. Texas Tea
  3. Mexican Afterburn
  4. Moscow Mud
  5. Toxic Waste
  6. Johnny Arson
  7. Moose Juice
  8. Boiling Point
  9. Death by Chocolate
  10. Double Vision


And the GIF animation at the top of this blog are some of the executions.

slush bucket marketing

Several of these concepts went into limited production, and the Mexican Afterburn concept, which was a frozen bucket concept, was put into full production and we rebranded it to “Slush Buckets” with a full point of purchase and radio campaign.



What is your problem solving process?


Where do you go to get inspired?


What is the favourite project that you’ve worked on?


let me know by sending me a note at grant@saywhat.com


To find out more about how we can help with your brand and social media marketing, please contact us.

cheers, grant ivens, rgd
brand surgeon |  rocket scientist  |  educator
say what! communications corp. grant@saywhat.com