As partners of Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC) Blue Star Direct recently sponsored their Future of Marketing Tour in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. For me the stand-out presentation was given by Andrew and Gaia Grant (who rotated presenting duties over the cities). Andrew and Gaia are the authors of “Who Killed Creativity?…And How Can We Get It Back?” The book is the culmination of the author’s 20 year journey to discover the potential road blocks to creative thinking and innovation.
Their presentation stood out because, in the marketing industry, creative thinking is absolutely vital. I’m not talking creativity for creativity’s sake. I’m talking creative, intelligent solutions to business problems that deliver a real return on investment. We’ve all been in the position where we’ve had budgets cut but targets increased. It’s the job of marketers, their creative agencies and partners to find creative solutions on tight budgets. But can you “force” creativity? Or is it a naturally evolving process? The answer is yes and yes. Drawing on experience, here are my six tips to help drive creativity in marketing:
1. Take notice
Have you ever purchased a car and then all of a sudden you notice all of the other cars of the same brand and model on the road? That’s your Reticular Activating System at work. It’s a handy creative tool. Say for example that you have a broad blog topic in mind but you haven’t started to flesh out the detail and when you do you get “writer’s block”. Simply having the broad topic defined serves as a mental prompt as you go about your day-to-day business. This is enough to kick start your RAS. It will scan the world around you and you will notice things that you ordinarily may not have.
2. Train your brain
It turns out that you can keep your brain fit just as you keep your body fit. Todd Sampson explored this extensively on his TV show “Redesign my Brain” of which the second series recently aired on the ABC. The show promotes mental training to build new neural connections in your brain, referred to as “neuroplasticity”. It’s the same premise as luminosity.com which provides users with personalised online training programs, allowing the brain to re-program itself based on the users training goals. You can re-train and re-wire your brain to be more creative.
3. Be childish
As the mum of two young children I can see their creative minds flourish on a daily basis. Their approach to problem solving intrigues me and they will often land at creative solutions, seemingly, effortlessly. As we grow older creative thinking can be programmed out of us. We learn the quick, easy, less creative solutions and rather than exploring alternatives our brain automatically reverts to what has worked in the past. Children don’t have this experience to draw on so their approach is refreshingly different. Next time you face a problem fight the urge to automatically revert to the easy solution and explore other perhaps silly, childish and less conventional options.
4. Flourish in a creative environment
Experiencing new and different things naturally drives innovative thinking. All of your experiences contribute to creative output. As Andrew and Gaia Grant explain in their aforementioned book, 40% of creativity comes from genetics while 60% comes from our environment. More enriched and playful environments expand our thinking. If you’re client side and work in a grey box take the opportunity to make Agency meetings at the Agency, they’re fun for a reason.
5. Don’t be a slave to routine
An extension of point 4, getting bogged down in day-to-day routine is an excellent way to stifle creativity as you won’t be experiencing new things. If you don’t have the opportunity to take a trip then at least make sure you’re not heading to the same sandwich shop every day to order your “usual”. Mix it up, break routine and be spontaneous.
6. Take risks
A wise Strategy Planner once told me “if it you makes you nervous it’s a good idea”. The third “out of the box” concept that your agency presents that peeks your interest but somehow makes you feel uncomfortable is absolutely worth progressing. The easy, comfortable option will mean you’re less likely to have to battle internal stakeholders but it won’t be the best marketing output. It’s never the easy route but getting behind an idea that you know will cut-through will pay off.
Finally, according to Andrew and Gaia Grant, research shows that creative thinkers “are more optimistic more confident, more flexible, able to cope with stress better, and healthier”. Sounds like a no-brainer to me!
See more at: http://www.whokilledcreativity.com/