Ideas Generating Process

Our ‘Ideas’ brief was my team were part of a creative agency who were working to a brief set by our client, the key department store of Harrods. We worked with the same trend story from the Contexts brief; ‘Rebel’ and we worked together to generate ideas on how we could use this in conjunction with the end outcome of ‘space’.

Our initial ideas:

From our research in the context stage, we all decided that our strongest concept was the story of the ‘genderless future’.

From this we started to brainstorm and throw out some initial thoughts. This included working with projections, slogans, the architecture of the traditional building, as well as altering the window displays. On thought that floated around was the fact the type doormen are traditionally male and we were considering focusing on the staff uniform for male and females. We did not know which aspect of ‘space’ we were going to look at; one idea was to transform one whole floor to become gender neutral.

We wanted to challenge opinions of the store and reinvigorate the traditional brand that may be falling out of popularity. We wanted to rethink the brand, maybe to resonate more with a younger consumer or even parents.


Our process of idea generation involved group discussion, idea development and creative thinking. We strove for and hopefully developed risky, exciting, original ideas.

Key questions that I kept in mind were: Are department stores still relevant? What is the future of department store? What is happening with department stores? We wanted to challenge what it can be by thinking outside the box with the trend story.

We ensured that we kept three words at the forefront of our minds: consequence, impact and results. We needed to ensure that our ideas had an intention, whether it be to spark excitement back into the brand or to entice more consumers into the store; we made sure we had a value.

To start, we looked over all of the ‘rebel’ mood-boards that were created by each group, as well as our own. This helped us to think about other interpretations of the trend story and refreshed our thoughts around the trend and its history. The boards helped to spark some initial thoughts that we could apply to Harrods; there was a common theme of gender neutral and androgyny.

I did some independent research and I looked into Harrods as a brand and its history, the uses of space, visual and conceptual contrast and also the current and developing use of genderless in the fashion industry.

As a collective, we came up with a summary of what we had completed and what we still needed to look into. This helped us to focus on key areas of research that would be useful and maybe inform our ideas.

Once we had all of our information collected, we sat down and decided how we wanted our ideas to look and chose our favourite concept that we had come up with so far. We focused on looking beyond the cliche, but we also realised that ideas can be simple yet still be affective and have an impact.

Although we stuck to our original idea of the first ‘Genderless’ Christmas, we made sure we challenged this by coming up with others that were completely different. This gave us something to compare our initial thoughts to; however we kept returning to a range of ideas surrounding the genderless Christmas theme so we stuck with this eventually. We felt that this was our strongest concept and the one we all felt most passionately about.

Next we created a mock presentation to show our research and thoughts so far. We included our previous research on the ‘rebel’, our Harrods consumer profile, Harrods information and USP and looked at the store’s architecture, interiors and recognisable merchandise. We found some inspirational images for Harrods at Christmas and looked at example of how we could promote our genderless message through space. Lastly, we put together an example of how we are going to put our slides together; we selected a range of images and annotated them to demonstrate our idea.

Following this, we had another brainstorming session where we came up with and refined our three strongest ideas. We wanted to keep all of our ideas fun and uplifting as Christmas is a time of celebration, not a time for campaigns to leave a miserable feeling for the consumers. We wanted to portray the serious message of the gender divide, but in a high-spirit way.

Our first idea was to drape material or get an artist, such as John Christo, to wrap one side of the building. This would juxtapose the traditional building with a modern twist, rebelling against the historic norms of the architecture. On the material we were thinking of printing or projecting #giftsforthem onto it. This shows that Harrods are removing the gender stereotypes of Christmas being #giftsforher and #giftsforhim. The massive hashtag moving image would hopefully be shared across social media which in turn would help promote awareness. Selfies may even be taken with the building and posted for followers to see. Like Harrods window displays at Christmas, I feel that this unique use of Harrods building could become a destination in itself for people to come and visit.

Our second idea used the empty, wasted space on the rooftop of the building. We considered that we would have Santa and many elves on the roof, dropping genderless gifts to the public gathered around the building. We were thinking either a small Harrods teddy or even tokens for customers to claim a free sample-size gift in the store. This not only would attract more people in to the store, but would also generate media attention. The impact would hopefully be the same as the flash mob Green Men dance in 2013 that was done to open the summer sale. As a result of Harrods windows being a major attraction, especially at Christmas, we would utilise this window space to show what was happening on the roof, encouraging people to step back and look up; we would livestream the actions on the rooftop into the windows.

Our final idea was to take over the whole of the ground floor with general neutral Christmas gifting. We chose this floor in particular as this is the floor in which customers first enter from the streets and the one that would therefore attract the most visitors. The departments on this floor would be temporarily moved to other sections of the store; these ground floor sections include Menswear, luxury and designer accessories and jewellery, food halls and beauty and perfumes. Although this is a very large space to empty, some of the products from each department would be included in the capsule gift selection. The genderless gifts would include clothing, jewellery and watches, perfumes, toys, food and drink, clothes and accessories. We would have no set departments in the space so people are free to shop without having the restrictions of ‘menswear’ and ‘womenswear.’ We would promote this using the popular window displays. We would have electronic signs in the windows showing the hashtag #giftsforthem, rather than the stereotypical ‘for him’ and ‘for her’. We would have swing tags on each item in the range with the same hashtag and all gifts would be wrapped the same, in Harrods transitional green colour scheme to avoid the typical gender colours of blue and pink. We wanted to essentially create a whole shopping experience dedicated to unisex gifting. I feel that this would make a statement and show that there are so many gifts that are gender neutral and therefore would move Harrods to a more modern way of thinking, listening to the demands and changes in society. Again, we feel that this would capture great media coverage as it is something that Harrods has never done before and is quite out of their character to take such a risk regarding the controversial issue of gender. We also hope that the hashtag will be shared on social media and will therefore spread awareness of the campaign.

If you were given the words ‘rebel’, ‘Harrods’ and space what would your initial thoughts be?


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