I recently attended the Graphic Designers of Saskatchewan annual award show and conference, The Elevators, and had the pleasure of hearing from three notable creative directors discuss various aspects of the creative process. The speakers were Roy White from Vancouver's SubPlot, Chuck Phillips from Winnipeg's Clark Huot | Cocoon, and Todd Blevins from Calgary's Trigger Communications. All three had very different presentations but the theme that threaded throughout all of them was how they fostered the creative process.
I have always put a lot of priority on creativity and try to make it part of my life/business as much as possible. Hearing from the aforementioned speakers really affirmed my belief that the success of anything, be it an advertising campaign, product, service, communication, idea, event, corporate culture, you name it, really comes down to how creative it is and whether it resonates with the intended audience. The biggest challenge that many have to overcome is not believing they are creative.
The secret to being creative is that it comes from encouraging idea sharing, having multi-disciplinary teams and being inspired by things outside of your typical environment. Creativity is not born in a vacuum. It's the result of collaboration and digging deeper than what most others are willing to do.
Both you and I know the majority of advertising and marketing is weak. It's stuff that appeals to the lowest common denominator or is easiest to execute with minimal resources. It's the stale newsletter, a cheesy flyer, the impersonal email, a twitter account full of "special deals", a Facebook page that only has posts related to company events. This is because most marketers are forced to flow like water and they follow the path of least resistance.
The world is changing. Yeah, it's always changing, but never before have we been bombarded by so much shit. People are numb to marketing, bitter towards advertising, and distrustful of large organizations. If you want to cut through you need to be creative. You can't go with your first instinct to send another email blast, offer a new sale, or publish a press release. That's what everybody else is doing.
Being creative takes thought and more heads are better than one. If you work alone then look for inspiration by reading and learning from others. Marketing is not the domain of one department or individual, it needs to be fueled by other disciplines and perspectives in an environment that encourages ideas. Your first idea likely won't be your best, so force yourself to go deeper and really think. That's what most people aren't doing. Be creative and the rest will follow.
What are your thoughts? Do you have an experience where being creative made a big difference with the results of an initiative? If you're having trouble being creative I'm glad to bounce around some ideas. I've got too many ideas so I'm glad to share. Please leave a comment.