By Penny Glass Boag - Vice President of Stone Soup Marketing

Cleaning your closets ranks up there with doing your taxes. You can try putting it off, but eventually it has to get done. When you do finally get around to tackling the dreaded task, the sense of accomplishment is incredibly satisfying. Experts in the art of feng-shui, (the ancient Chinese system of creating harmonious surroundings in your environment, which in turn brings prosperity, happiness, good health and well-being) purport that the act of "space clearing" actually moves and creates energy …good energy, healthy energy, dynamic energy.

Consider the implications for your brand. What would happen if you actually had the time to plod through all those new product concepts buried in filing cabinets, binders and old reports from years past? Times change…and what was old is often new again. Technology that was once blue sky is now doable. Sometimes ideas are ahead of their time. Concepts that didn't get actionable scores a few years ago may be perfectly poised for today's market with just a few minor tweaks. Maybe some of those concepts that have been collecting dust need to be revisited. Maybe…they hold the key to reinvigorating your brand.

At Stone Soup, we've had the opportunity to rifle through some of our client's filing cabinets and there truly is buried treasure in every drawer. It has been our experience that all those company mergers and acquisitions, understaffed and overworked marketing departments, have often led to valuable, insightful research getting misplaced, overlooked and ignored.

If you're new to a brand, one of the fastest and easiest ways to familiarize yourself with its equity is to review previous new product work. Grab a few files, review old brainstorming notes and concept lists. Highlight ideas that spark your interest and have someone else do the same. This exercise can generate dozens of concepts for a quantitative field without much effort at all.

So, before you start the new product process from scratch, try cleaning out your brand's closet. Often the work is already done for you. You just need to know where to look. Lots of times product winners are hiding in old files. Danimals Kids 6-pack was an idea explored more than once before being ultimately launched. Concepts put on the back burner due to technical limitations are often forgotten about until a competitor comes to market with the product first.

The next time you need some quick ideas to get started, go on a treasure hunt in your brand's filing cabinets. Motivate, stimulate your team's creative juices, gain new insight on your brand's equity…where it's been, where it could go…how it can get there. Move the energy. And according to Feng Shui tradition, once you sort through all the clutter and prioritize opportunities you'll bring new prosperity and well-being to your brand.

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