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4: General Concept

🎯 Stage objective: choose a general concept for the campaign

This is the most creative stage of campaign development! The campaign strategy you worked out with your group in the previous stage will form the briefing for an agency to turn your ideas into a creative concept.

Normally this happens in two stages: the general and the fine concept. First, we look at the general concept stage. This is where you review rough ideas for a campaign to decide which to develop further, and how.

👇 Information about the design process 👇

This guide does not go into the creative process for making a general concept. If you are working with a creative agency, designing the campaign will be their role. Alternatively, if you are designing the materials yourself, you also have several options. You could form a small task force from participating organizations to come up with ideas. Or perhaps there are other creative specialists in the organizations that can do this for you.


This section explains:

1. What’s a general concept?
2. Why show several concepts?
3. How do we choose a concept?
4. What feedback is needed?
5. What happens next?


1. What’s a general concept?

A general concept is an early-stage campaign idea. This means that the basic idea for the campaign material is clear: how it looks, how it works, what the key messages, taglines or hashtags could be.

In a general concept, campaign materials will only be sketched, not fully finished. Only a few images are shown. Videos or animations are often shown in a storyboard rather than fully produced.  

Normally at general concept stage two to three ideas are presented. Reviewing more than one idea is helpful for you because:

  • It’s unlikely that everyone in the group will have the same preferences!
  • It’s easier to compare and contrast when you have several examples.
  • There might be elements from both concepts worth using.

Since each concept takes time to create and discuss, it’s best to have only two or three alternatives.


2. How do you choose a concept?

It’s important that all workshop participants have the campaign strategy in mind when discussing which general concept should be used for the campaign, and how it needs to be adapted and finalized.

Choosing the right general concept will almost certainly be a very lively discussion. Make time for this!  It’s best to reach a decision in the workshop. The consensus may already be quite clear; or you could have a vote.

In the very worst case where none of the general concepts appeal to you, find the aspects and the elements that worked from the different concepts to use this as a starting point for another round of creation.

If reaching a decision is difficult, take a few more days to pick your favourite concept.


3. What feedback is needed?

The workshop setting is great for gathering detailed feedback on the preferred general concept. One way is to get all participants to feed back in a structured way on different aspects of the general concept:

  • The overall concept of how it works
  • The words and language used
  • The visuals: colour, layout etc.
  • Roll-out: how and where the campaign will be launched

Below is an example of how you could collect feedback 👇

Once you have heard from everyone, it is important to decide together on exactly what changes are required for your chosen concept.


4. What happens next?

The feedback you give on the chosen general concept is incredibly valuable! It helps the creative team from your agency (or whoever is designing the campaign materials) take the idea from a general concept to a detailed fine concept after the workshop.

Take me to stage 5!