Creativity in finding elegant solutions to a brand’s marketing problems can feel like magic when you get it right the first time. In the thick of a 2-minute brainstorming session, you pitch a somewhat weird concept, and after cleaning it up, the idea fits perfectly and receives the nod. It can feel magical.
But if you have been around creative teams for any stretch of time, you can tell that these ‘aha’ moments are not an expected part of a regular day at work. Creativity demands deep thinking, and often looking at the problem from many different angles, to find a solution that works and ticks all the right boxes. To add to this complexity is that sometimes, the marketing team needs to deliver a winning idea within a short period of time. IN such situations, the extra pressure could either produce a strikingly brilliant idea or, on the other end of the spectrum, a poor offering that can hardly be considered a solution.
Creative output is wonderful, and a delight for all who see the end product, but what happens on the back end? How can marketers learn to think about marketing problems, and trick their inner genius into producing brilliant creativity over and over again? What is the secret sauce?
Here are some tips to help you in your next brainstorming session:
In most other practises, thinking is usually done within the parameters of the practice. Doctors work within parameters of the field, and mathematicians understand that their exploration of the world is based on the fundamental principles and formulas of the discipline. In creative thinking for marketing, the only rule to remember is that there is no rule. As soon as you read and understand the problem statement, free your mind and give it the permission to wander.
Once you’ve accepted these parameters, you must identify the variables of the brainstorm, the main ones being a subject matter, the objectives, the target audience. Conducting research on these three main variables including a comprehensive look at the status of competitors or recent similar works should put anyone in a prime position to create magic.
Once you have equipped yourself with the required level of knowledge, it is time to apply the aforementioned formula to the variables to find what we like to call ‘laser-thin lines’ that connect them. Consider precedents but ignore them. Apply common sense but feel free to ignore it too. Flip any thought that comes to mind backwards, forwards or sideways. Question the status quo, even when you know the answer is impossible. You’ll be surprised at what you might find at the end of that journey.
Creativity, in a lot of ways, can start as a horror show. But by using a formula and then (albeit counter-intuitively) not using a formula, it can end up as an epic fairytale.