Crafting a big idea that breaks through

In a data driven world, measurement and performance reign supreme. And that shouldn’t change. But in an increasingly fragmented communications landscape where it’s harder and harder for brands to break through the clutter, the “big idea” is more important the ever.

For brands, the big idea can unify and become the roadmap for more powerful storytelling and consumer engagement.

– Tracey Santilli,
President of Tierney

And when executed well, the big idea can help a brand cut through the clutter, engage consumers, and inspire brand loyalty. So, while performance media, AI, and other data will continue to be important in helping brand marketing teams show how they are driving results, they also need to double down on the big idea. But where does the big idea come from and what makes it successful? Consider these five key factors as you craft your strategy.
Connected to culture
According to a 2019 Magna and Twitter study on “The Impact of Culture,” 1 a brand’s cultural involvement makes up a full 25% of a consumer’s purchase decision—so for any consumer brand, it’s ideal if the big idea is connected to culture.
Think about Major League Baseball’s Field of Dream’s game inspired by the film, how the movie Black Panther ignited conversations about Black culture and heroes. On the business side, consider REI’s decision to close stores on Black Friday to encourage consumers to #OptOutside. Culturally relevant brands are more relevant to consumers, and the big idea is how you inspire and engage them.

Grounded in a commitment to do good

While quality products and quality of service remain key drivers of consumer satisfaction, the impact of “doing good” as a brand cannot be understated. A 2021 Harvard Business Review study2 confirms that 71% of U.S customers want to buy from socially responsible companies.

Think about powerful consumer brands like Patagonia or Tom’s whose products are inextricably linked to their brand mission of doing good in the world around them, or Comcast CEO Brian Roberts’ $5 million commitment to help Philadelphia students close the digital divide during the pandemic.


Authentic to the brand

Of course, when you look at those brands you can see that the big idea is successful and connects with consumers because it is rooted in brand purpose and authentic to who they are as organizations. A 2018 Gartner survey3 supports this notion:
of consumers say brands should only take a stand on issues that are consistent with the values of the company.

of consumers say brands should only take a stand on issues that are directly related to their business, products, or services.


Grounded in strong brand messaging

If the big idea is authentic to the brand, then it should be easy to develop strong brand messaging or a brand narrative. This isn’t traditional corporate messaging or talking points about the business. Brand messaging today is centered around powerful storytelling and it should aid a brand in differentiating itself from competitors.
It also must be understandable, inclusive, accessible, and easy for anyone who touches the brand or talks about it—be it the CEO, customer service rep or TikTok creator. The development of a strong brand narrative should involve internal, and whenever possible external stakeholders, and brands should tap their agencies, strategists, internal and external communicators, channel experts, and creative voices from across the organization.

Fully integrated

Once the brand narrative is established and fully embraced across an organization, it must then be threaded throughout all channels, reaching consumers at every touchpoint in an integrated and interconnected way.
On average, consumers are spending more than 7 hours per day consuming content.4 And brands are challenged to feed that content machine, meaningfully and empathetically, every day. They’re turning away from expensive campaigns and polished productions, increasingly sharing content that feels more real and authentic to consumers. More and more brands and agencies are creating these materials via in-house content studios to meet the 24/7 nature of content marketing today—quickly and efficiently. They are also turning to influencers.


Marketing teams shouldn’t be intimidated by finding the big idea that will break through the clutter and fully engage consumers.


  • Embrace the opportunity that comes with the big idea.
  • Connect it to culture or doing good.
  • And most importantly, make it authentic to the brand, grounded in strong messaging and fully integrated across all channels.

1700 Market St. Suite 29, Philadelphia, PA 19103

100 W 33rd St. 5th Floor, New York, NY 10001

212 Locust St. Suite 400, Harrisburg, PA 17101


Site by Tierney

©2024 Copyright

Site by Tierney

©2024 Copyright



Can’t get enough of Tierney?
No problem.

Just fill out the form below and you’ll be added to our email list.