Use the SCAMPER model to ideate on your brand story

Business benefits

Add layers and depth to your brand story through ideation to improve its long-term, intersectional impact.

Form a brainstorming group to ideate on your story outline using the SCAMPER model: substitute, combine, adapt, modify, put to another use, eliminate, reverse.

Meet with team members or other creative voices at your company to push your existing story outline and add layers to it. Use resources about the SCAMPER method to guide you through the brainstorming session.

For each letter in SCAMPER, ask questions and see if any answers are a viable idea that would improve your story or would work as an alternative story idea for testing.


Substitute story elements with a new idea to see how the story as a whole would change.

For example, ask:

  • What if this story took place in a different country? In a different time period?
  • What if the main character was a woman instead of a man?

Combine characters or other story elements to see if it improves the narrative.

For example, ask:

  • What if I combine a storyline or structure? Will this help make the conclusion more impactful, or will it make it more confusing?
  • What if I combine two characters into one?

Adapt the story for a different audience, format, setting, or purpose to see if it helps you better reach your story mission.

For example, ask:

  • What if we adapted this story into nonfiction by turning to someone who has the real lived experiences to tell the story?
  • What if we adapted this story to take place during a [specific event, like a global pandemic]?
  • What would happen if the main character was visually impaired?

Modify, magnify, or minimize story elements to see what this does to your larger story.

For example, ask:

  • What if the supporting character becomes the main character?
  • How would the story change if [a new event] happened?
  • How would the story change if we use a different story structure?

Put your story to another use, like by shifting its format, audience, or purpose.

For example, ask:

  • What if this story was only told through pictures?
  • What if the story was a children’s book?
  • What if the story had interactive elements, where the audience could choose their own adventure or contribute ideas?

Eliminate specific story elements or plot points to see if it produces a better result.

For example, ask:

  • What if we eliminate the explicit resolution to leave it more up for interpretation?
  • What if we remove the side character?

Reverse plot elements, emotions, or characters to explore the reversal’s consequences.

For example, ask:

  • What if the climax happens first?
  • What if the main character was hesitant instead of bold?
  • What if the story’s conclusion is not a happy ending?

Ask questions about your stories to explore the tone, mission, implications, and more.

To see if you’re on the same page and verify that your story fits the story mission, ask:

  • If our story was a color, what color would it be?
  • If our story was a sound, what sound would it be?
  • If our story had to be summed up in one word, what would that word be?

Create 1-3 more story outlines for prototyping using the best ideas from this brainstorming session.

The link in here needs to be worked into the explanation without directly wording to “check out the link”.

Link text fixed and other clarifying additions made

Thanks @lsmous – this looks good!