In a world with so many creative minds, news that travels faster than we can type it out and brands that are always pushing the marketing envelope – how can we stay ahead of the game? What can we do to be creative? How can we be the ones who think of the big ideas, the game changers, the Just Do Its? Here are just a few ideas to help get you started on a fresh, creative path:
Review Your Inspirations
Get inspired! They do say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. So, if we like what you do and what you have to say, then we’re going to look at what you do and how you do it and then transform it into our style. Or maybe you left out a key idea or didn’t expand upon a thought – that’s what we hone in on and try to create something new and refreshing.
Look at Your Competitors
They said it one way, we can say it better! Looking at your competitors is a great way to add some fuel to your brainstorming fire and come up with something great. What is their main message or key differentiator? What is ours? How can we make ours better? How will we stand out against them? These are all key questions that will get you thinking outside the box. Take a look at their overall strategy – look at the content that they are producing on their website and on social. What is their plan? And how can you leverage that knowledge to better craft your own strategy.
Step away from your computer. I repeat, step away from your computer! Get inspired by what is around you. Walk around or drive around and take in all the sights, sounds and smells (well, maybe not the last one). See what billboards are saying, read the newspaper, pick up a magazine and look at what ads are there – what catches your attention – is the image? Or is it the copy? What can you pull from your surroundings for inspiration? For me, a good cup of coffee to-go and a walk around my neighborhood can help inspire me.
Yes, I know – it seems counter-intuitive. But, it’s not! If your muse is music or a podcast or a really scintillating audio book, then plug in and listen up. For me, it’s One Direction when I can’t focus (just kidding, sort of). But, I plug in to some of my favorite music and let everything fade out until I’m in the creative mood.
If you’re fortunate enough to be able to travel, whether it’s across the country, across the world or even to the town next to yours – go! Looking at the way other businesses, locations and even other international brands market themselves can really open you up to new ideas.
Be a Kid
If your favorite activity as a kid was playing with LEGOs or coloring – then break out the blocks and crayons and get to work. Kids have this unbelievable imagination and if you can tap into your inner child, your boundaries and boxes are released. (Side note: it’s actually called embodied cognition: how physical movement and the environment may shape cognitive functioning) The ideas that you are capable of thinking expand and you are open to new ideas and new creative paths that may be your big break.
Whenever I experience a ‘creative block’ – I take to social media. Yep! What better way to poll a variety of people from different locations, backgrounds, experiences, etc. than my varied group of Facebook friends. I pose a general question about what kind of inspiration I need, or pick their brains for ideas for clients (without disclosing them, of course) and then see what I get back. Not going to lie – some ideas are brilliant and others are well, not so brilliant. But, the best thing of all – it sparks a conversation that gets my creative juices flowing.
Host a Brainstorm
Gather around with your teammates and host a brainstorm. Pick up your favorite snack foods and beverages, give out Post-It notes, have a whiteboard and markers ready to go. And start the discussion. Outline what the goals are, explain the brand, and just keep it open. Don’t refuse any idea and write everything down – you’ll be shocked to find out what ideas may come or how a random tangent can lead you to the best idea you have ever had!
Go for a Drink
This is advised for the 21+ crowd. It’s another way to unplug and get away from work. Sometimes, you come up with the best ideas when you’re not trying. Go out for a drink with your co-workers and just talk and see where the conversation leads you. When the pressure or stress of the office is gone, then the creative can just flow.
Meet with the Client
If you’re fortunate enough to meet with the client in-person, then do it! There is nothing like speaking with the brand team in-person and getting to pick their brain without a conference call or video chat. It’s a real dialogue with real-time feedback. It can open your eyes to a new direction that they are hoping to go with or reinforce the messaging that you’ve been fine-tuning over the past year. Either way, meeting with the client is a great way to get inspiration. And, if they sell an actual product – getting to experience it, play with it, or interact with it can help you understand how to better communicate the value to your customers.
Overall, there are so many opportunities to get creative. Whatever works for you, do it and perfect it (and share it in the comments below).