One of the intrepid entrants on the APSOTW project asked a great question in response to this post and the thought starters on a KOS cultural strategy. Basically, when you have a number of potentially good ideas, how do you decide what to move forward with?
The most honest answer is instinct, just like a tennis player just knows what shot to choose after years and years of practise and competition, you find that your instincts are not far wrong.
But here are a few pointers I shared, just in case they're useful (I've changed an example for client confidentiality and the entrants own developing work):
In a real life situation, much depends in the client and the brief you received. Some clients will give you a very specific (usually too much so) brief with a target audience already selected from a segmentation study - usually with lots of information about what they care about within the category and some characteristics, along with a specific communications objective. In this case, the task is to get to know this audience, what they REALLY care about that could be exploited by the brand...and developing a proper role for communications. For example, I once saw a great, ironically shaving example, where the client brief was 'increase penetration amongst hard to reach, style conscious 18-24 years olds who think the shaving category is boring" and the strategy was 'make beards uncool' (at the time these young proto men were experimenting with goatees which they thought were really hip, while the women they wanted to pull thought it made them look like idiots)
Focused briefs don't come along too often, and you find many strategy presentations therefore have a couple of options, just like creative tends to have two or three 'routes'. Personally, I think this is lazy, but some clients actually expect this. But in any case, some kind of selection needs to made internally and a good planner will be presenting in a manner that helps client 'choose' an, already selected, preferred direction. There is a school of thought built around behavioural economics where you need to give people a choice if yo want them to buy something, just make sure you have two similar things where the one you want them to buy us a little bit better....
So.........first off what can happen when you look at your different ideas more closely, usually when you put them up on the wall together, is that there's something more fundamental that is driving them. You sometimes see that actually, your strategic routes are, or could be, different campaign ideas for a much deeper brand idea. So I tend to not look at what the best idea is out of the bunch, I look at what connects them.
Of course, this isn't always the case sometimes they are genuinely different ideas with disparate roots, and the ultimate criteria to apply to selection usually boils down to might be:
Is the problem we're solving something enough people could care about? Or could be made to care about? That doesn't mean for example, with my half formed 'assault on pleasure' thoughts that I'd be thinking just about that smallish, cool urban professional type (though I reckon the numbers would be pretty good) I'd be thinking about how many other men would want to be like him, which is quite a lot judging from the stable sales of GQ.
Is it provocative? Is it something you can imagine your audience not only agreeing with, but talking about and even debating?
Do you honestly think it's something your brand could do credibly? That wonderful Old Spice work is rooted in the truth that it's on old brand that's your Dad probably used buy for example. It doesn't have to be something no other brand could do (it helps though!) because once you own it, you OWN it, but it does need to be credible for YOUR brand to do it - Chrysler isn't the only brand built in Detroit but boy they make the most of the fact it is, it and the way its grit, those 'men of action' are something Americans need as a culture right now .
How many battles in the war you want to wage can you see coming from this? For example, that 'assault on pleasure' stuff I was on about could take a stand against the creep of work into our leisure time, it could have a pop at traditional competitive male culture that's all fitting in and pretending to like sport even if yo don't- it could parody men who think it's fun watching football in a freezing stadium while more interesting men are having sex with the kind of women they only dream of, it could make an enemy of Ben Sherman lager louts and the endless routine of the Saturday night out in the same bars and nightclubs, it could stand up for sexual freedom, it could tell 'the man' to get lost "I'll drink as much as I like" etc. I'm not saying this direction is good, but I am saying there are plenty if flashpoints to light.
And finally, which is simplest? Which can you explain in a sentence, but when you do, it feels like a compression of lots and lots of interesting stuff. A useful way of approaching this is to write 'movie log lines for it' - which are one sentence compressions of, hopefully, very interesting 90 minute films used in the initial pitch. For example, Rocky might have been pitched as ' A washed up boxer gets the chance to fight for the world title, but he must overcome his own demons before he can even think about his opponent". Levis Go Forth stuff could be pitched as "The story of America's youth rebuilding our country with the pioneering spirit that once made it great'
Hope this helps