Although strongly associated with marketing and product development functions, creativity leads to innovation and is therefore important in all aspects of business, including areas which are traditionally more process-orientated such as research, finance and operations.
Creativity helps businesses create competitive advantage, but it can be difficult to harness in a corporate environment where there are increasing pressures to be time-efficient and drive results.
Creativity takes time, effort and resource, and it’s incredibly difficult for managers to define and measure in terms of input versus output, so the process itself is often overlooked.
With the level of marketing noise that now bombards your target customers senses, what does it take to penetrate their awareness?
Innovation in your product design or service offering, a strong and relevant campaign concept, and eye-catching creative all give you a significantly better chance of cutting through the noise and getting noticed.
The not-so-secret ingredient to this recipe is creativity. So how can you unlock yours?
I’ve put together a few simple little practices that I wanted to share with you that help us here at Concept Communications. These practices focus on things you can control regardless of your working environment.
Quieten your mind
It’s inevitable that you will have multiple projects running alongside each other, and most days your attention will be being pulled from pillar to post. The result is a busy but chaotic mind that makes it difficult to relax and give your creative project the attention it deserves. There are a few things you can do to help clear your mind and allow you to focus, such as going for a short walk in nature, doing some exercise or even just a ten minute meditation can work wonders.
Pick your timing with this so that you do your practice just before you are at your best for work. Personally, I find that I’m at my most productive in the morning, however I’m actually most creative when I’m relaxed in the late afternoon or early evening. I often break to do some exercise and then come back to work once I have relaxed knowing the more administrative aspects of my role are done and dusted.
Stimulate your senses
Once you’ve successfully quietened your mind down, you might find that stimulating one of your senses helps you get into your “creative zone”. You might incorporate some house plants into your desk set up or change the background screen on your computer to a natural landscape.
If you are working from home, dimming your lighting slightly can help encourage creativity as “darkness elicits a feeling of being free from constraints and triggers a risky, explorative processing style” according to a study in the Journal of Environmental Psychology.
Putting some laid-back music on can also help of course and if you are in an office environment you might benefit from plugging in and removing some of the distracting background noise and chatter at the same time.
I tend to burn incense when I’m trying to relax, so with this becoming a routine, my mind seems to recognise that it’s time to relax when that familiar scent fills my office. It helps me get into a different frame of mind and separate this time from the rest of my day.
Search for inspiration
Sometimes an idea or concept might just pop into your head if you are lucky, but most of the time you will have to search for it.
Start by mind-mapping what problems you solve for your customers and empathise with them. How do they feel? Can you draw any parallels between the solution you are offering, its benefits, and something that your target audience can instantly recognise and understand and that resonates with them on a personal level?
Use this as a basis for your research, keep a track of your ideas and try to let them flow freely. You might disregard something at first, and then come back to it later and develop it into your winning idea.
Draw it out
Starting with a blank piece of paper and a pen, start to mind-map your ideas. Getting them out of your mind and onto paper helps you to visualise how they might relate better and spot any patterns in your thought processes.
Give yourself time and space
Don’t pressure yourself for ideas. Start the ideation process long before you need to present your concepts as you will find your ideas develop and become more refined over time. The more times you can revisit them the better a chance they have at being the strongest they can possibly be and the better a chance they have in the competition for your customers attention.
Surround yourself with people who think differently to you if you can and bounce your ideas off of each other. You might find that if you have a seedling of an idea, other people can help develop it into a ripe and juicy fruit.
Make sure that whatever you end up with is simple and clear in its messaging and aligns with your brand identity. You have to be able to harness that creativity, but then reign it back in enough that is it suitable to represent your brand. Don’t go so “out there” that you risk being misunderstood. Like all things, it’s a delicate balance.
If you’ve had a good go at all this but are still struggling with that next big idea for your campaigns, get in touch and we can help you with creative concepts that are extendable for full omni-channel campaign execution.