“You keep talking about ideas. You say you have helped clients get new ideas. Solve problems. You also say you have facilitated more than 400 Creative Block Busting workshops. It is too vague. What exactly did clients need ideas for? What exactly have you done? ” **Prasna asked me this as I sat down to my laptop.

“It is a long list, Prasna.”

“Never mind the length of the list. I am keen to know what exactly have you been upto. I also don’t like the way you mumble when clients ask you this question.”

“Ok – here is a list. Something I had written down when a client had asked me this question.

1. Ideas for building a product/ brand or service
2. Ideas for making money in new ways
3. Ideas that open up new opportunities, new segments
4. Ideas that solve business problems/specific challenges
5. Ideas that make people say ‘wow’!
6. Ideas to persuade people to try
7. Ideas to persuade people to buy
8. Ideas to persuade people buy more
9. Ideas to persuade to change habits
10. Ideas to woo people
11. Ideas to build and cement relationships
12. Ideas to improve margins
13. Ideas to speed up growth
14. Ideas to revive/rejuvenate a stagnant brand/business
15. Ideas to exploit full growth potential
16. Ideas to make the most out of local opportunities
17. Ideas to reduce costs
18. Ideas to squeeze the waste and stretch the value
19. Ideas to exploit brand/business strength vis-a-vis competition
20. Ideas to create/exploit brand/business differentiation
21. Ideas to create tailored, custom made, localised programmes for specific markets. And improve competitiveness
22. Ideas to improve brand/business volumes significantly
23. Ideas to stimulate category growth
24. Ideas to create more effective brand/marketing mixes
25. Ideas to unearth new consumer need gaps and how to meet them
26. Ideas to link brands to consumer insights in a compelling manner
27. Ideas to improve effectiveness of consumer promotions
28. Ideas to create new propositions
28. Ideas to explore new positioning options
29. Ideas for building sustainable competitive advantage
30. Ideas to locate new marketing opportunities based on consumer understanding, insights
31. Ideas to adapt global trends, developments, mixes for local markets
32. Ideas to steal a march over competition
33. Ideas to catch new trends early on for the benefit of the brand/consumer
34. Ideas to create word-of-mouth advertising for brands/businesses
35. Ideas to get media attention/coverage for brands/business
36. Ideas for creating new brand properties
37. Ideas for stretching brand/category boundaries
38. Ideas for increasing speed to market
39. Ideas for new products/services
40. Ideas for new formulations
41. Ideas for new processes
42. Ideas for new product forms/formulations
43. Ideas for new packaging
44. Ideas for new channels of communication
45. Ideas for new channels of distribution
46. Ideas for new points of sale
47. Ideas for improving relationships with retail trade
48. Ideas to tackle new challenges facing the brand
49. Ideas to meet challenge facing the category
50. Ideas for getting referrals/recommendations

“That is a huge list. Have you done all this?”

“I have worked on these challenges for various clients. I can’t claim that I have done all these on my own. Yes I have worked on all these challenges for different clients.”

“So what is your point?”

“My point is this. What I have to offer clients is like software for the mind. Like a word processor or a spread sheet. You can use them in whichever way you want.”

“Why are you sharing this list today?”

“I was talking to a friend yesterday who asked me for a list. List of challenges I have worked on with clients over the last 20 years. I want to share these with my LinkedIn & Blog friends too.”

**Prasna Rao is an unusual friend. He appears often when I start writing something. He asks questions that are razor sharp and often makes me uncomfortable. He is relentless till I answer his questions in simple, clear terms. You might find that he is almost always asking questions that you want to. So he is on your side, while he is putting me in the dock.