Many branding, marketing, advertising, and public relations functions rely on creativity.
In many advertising agencies, there are people in charge of coming up with Big Ideas for clients, and collectively these ideas are called “The Creative.” Companies pay big bucks for creative ways to feature their products and services in front of their clients and prospects.
“But I’m not creative!” is the synchronized wail of many business people.
Granted, while some people are naturally more creative than others, everyone can learn to be more creative. But you cannot learn to be more creative just by sitting in a white room, waiting for inspiration to strike you. The key principle that applies here is: learn and use different activities than you are used to.
Here are some practical ways to learn how you, too, can be more creative:
Look for the second right answer. There is never just one right answer; there are many answers.
It’s OK not to be logical. Be illogical. Get comfortable with it.
Challenge conventional rules. Why does it always have to be done a certain way?
Don’t be practical.
Play with ideas. Play word association.
Get out of your area. Anyone can look for fashion in a boutique or history in a museum. The creative person looks for history in a hardware store and fashion at the airport.
Think ambiguously. Much humour is based on ambiguity. Learn to leverage it to advantage.
Be silly. Children are frequently silly and creative at the same time.
Get comfortable with being wrong.
These are all techniques to generate ideas. Your first goal should be to generate a whole bunch of ideas. The second phase should be to evaluate these ideas based on your criteria for your marketing initiative or project.
One pitfall that many business people fall into is: they generate ideas based on a “go/no-go” decision. That impedes creativity.
For more on how to learn to be creative, look up the work of Roger von Oech