It’s crazy the number of times I’ve heard someone say “I’m not a creative person”. People can be afraid of creativity due to the fear of the unknown and failure.
Creativity is important and is in us all, we’ve just got to harness the right approach.
Creativity is a state of mind
Allow yourself space to let your creativity flow. It’s about experiencing new things and seeing the world through fresh eyes.
Surround yourself with things that can evoke inspiration, whether it’s through nature, friends, family or other situations like reading a book or enjoying a hot soak in the bath.
At work, consider taking your laptop outside to breathe in the fresh air and surround yourself with the outdoors.
Consider what sparks creativity in the office, whether it’s a whiteboard where people can add their ideas throughout the week, a comfy informal space for ideation sessions or a library full of books that make you think differently.
Accepting different personalities
Some creative people have lots of enthusiasm and can often get led astray, getting excited about an idea but struggling to follow through with it before jumping on to something new. If you think you fall into this category, consider giving yourself a deadline for each part of the creative process.
Remember, not everyone’s creativity is the same. The quiet people aren’t necessarily the ones that aren’t creative. Some people like to go away and think of their ideas on their own before or after a creative session. Adopt a questioning attitude to build on people’s ideas and be aware of idea killers – every idea needs to be respected
The post-it note method is another good way of bringing together different personalities. Set timers and ask the people in your ideation session to write one idea per post-it note.
It’s about not allowing time for over-analysing and creating a collection of ideas that have come naturally. You can then organise them per topic and talk about everyone’s ideas together, considering whether you can combine ideas together or ways you can further develop an idea.
Build yourself a creative network, whether it’s surrounding yourself with a positive community or following industries, brands or companies to see what campaigns they’ve launched.
Understanding the concept of ‘sticky ideas’
Chip and Dan Heath wrote a book called ‘Made to Stick’ that provides insight in to why some ideas take hold and others come unstuck. In the book, the brothers talk about the six principles that make ideas stick. These principles form the acronym SUCCES – a Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible and Emotional Story.
This acronym provides the template to creativity. When you come up with a new idea, ask yourself these questions:
1. Is the idea simple enough to explain in one sentence?
2. Is it unexpected enough to generate interest and curiosity?
3. Is it a concrete idea that people will understand and remember?
4. Is it credible with authoritative sources and examples that help people believe?
5. Will it spark emotion and make people care about what you’re saying?
6. Does it tell a story and make people act?
In the book, they talk about John F Kennedy’s call to “put a man on the moon and return him safely by the end of the decade”. This call holds all the attributes laid out in the six principles with a goal to inspire people.
That very idea then motivated the actions of millions of people.
Creating sticky ideas is something that can be learnt and it’s interesting to think about what ideas we remember, how we remember them and why we remember them. It’s about ideas that create an image in your head, showcase something unexpected and evoke some sort of emotion.
For example, everyone can tell the story of Isaac Newton discovering gravity when an apple landed on his head.
Testing your ideas
Don’t just take your word for it that you have a good idea. Explain your idea in on sentence to others and ask if they would be interested in this. Would this idea spark an emotion and if so, what emotion would it spark?
Consider the trends you’re targeting. Are they reactive short-term trends that you’d need to act fast with, or is the trend something that’s more long-term? In essence, is it a trend that’s going to be around for a while?
Steal and build on old ideas
Did you know, many successful campaigns are often not fresh new ideas, they are old ideas that have been made better?
If you were to reverse engineer an old campaign you’ll find at the heart of the idea will either be data, format, or a specific topic.
Keep a spreadsheet of ideas and a log of the creative things you’ve seen – campaigns, coverage, articles or surveys. Every time it comes round to thinking of a new campaign, visit this spreadsheet and see if you can spin anything in to a bigger and better campaign.
So when you’re thinking of your next campaign idea, consider your message and how you can make it stick. Think about what’s resonated with you in the past, what campaigns do you remember, what ideas have you mentioned to others. What was it that sparked that idea sticking with you?
At Herd, we love being creative and keeping on top of all the latest trends and viral campaigns everyone is talking about. If you want to know more about how we can help with your next digital PR campaign, then get in touch today.