Every public relations professional is stumped sometimes. It may be a department whose work you have handled so long that you're burned out. It may be a challenge that looks so difficult you don't know where to start.
When this happens to me, I turn to a software program that has been on the market for several years called IdeaFisher. You can find IdeaFisher in most software stores and major catalogs, and it comes in PC and Macintosh versions. It's hard to describe the program, but it's both a consultant in a box and an idea generator.
IdeaFisher is for practitioners who approach challenges with an open mind and desire to find workable and powerful answers. The program is a disciplined way to work through knotty problems and arrive at answers you might not have reached on your own. IdeaFisher does not give you five easy solutions after asking 10 questions. It is not "PR in a box." It is a systematic way to think through problems from many different angles.
You might only use IdeaFisher once a month or a quarter, but even one successful journey into its heart may reward you with new business or save an old program from the scrap heap.
IdeaFisher is not easy to use. When it first appears on screen, you get a box called an Idea Notepad and a series of words on a command bar across the top of the screen. None make much sense. If you click through the program with your mouse, it is even less clear what IdeaFisher does. This is a program in which you practice the tutorials and stay at it. It is not for the impatient.
The best way to understand IdeaFisher is to use an example. I chose an exercise which has stumped me time and again: how to do something new and creative with a parity product.
XYZ Bank provides all-in-one personal financial services, including a credit card, home banking, single-statement monthly reports, mutual funds, insurance, retirement planning and portfolio analysis. XYZ wants a new campaign to help it gain market share against 10 other banks which offer the same basic …