Last month I finished a bootcamp at the School of Communication Arts 2.0 in Brixton to learn about creativity from the school’s dean, Marc Lewis, and I thought I’d share the things that resonated most with me as a PR.
There are some great strategies here we should be unlocking to reach brighter, more vivid places within our campaigns. B2B is no longer consumers’ poor cousin – there are massive opportunities for brands who embrace creativity as our working and personal lives become even more deeply entrenched. The below just might help you find – and capitalise on – them!
- You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs
In other words – you have to make a mess in order to have something to clean up. Or you need to have a real problem, to find a solution.
The route to creative that feels real and authentic is to find a problem that people genuinely care about. It might not necessarily be the one your business wants to solve, (for instance driving sales for a new product or raising awareness of your brand), but when you start thinking about the things that are real issues or worries in your life, you’ll get much closer to helping your customers.
- Dig a little (or a lot) deeper to find the interesting
Kids ask on average over 70 questions a day. Somewhere along the way, we lose that curiosity and the habit of asking questions. When faced with a brief, we need to try and tap into our inner child. Ask everything we can around a single problem: the who, what, when, where, why and how, to make sure we get to a previously unexplored place.
And the same goes for when we are crafting a brief. Rather than thinking of the product benefit, see if you can get under the skin of what challenge it’s solving for a customer. For instance, “my product protects against ransomware 24/7”. Well, what’s the benefit of that? It means you don’t have to worry about your business’ security after hours. And the benefit of less worry out-of-hours, might just be a better night’s sleep.
Suddenly you aren’t dealing in anti-ransomware, you are dealing in a good night’s sleep and all the possibilities that offers to your customers.
For B2B, this has the potential to unlock far richer areas for creativity.
- I’m every woman, it’s all in me
I’m not sure this is what Chaka Khan originally meant when she was singing the song – but it applies to creativity too. When you are looking at ways to solve your problem, all the answers you’ll ever need are either within you or in front of you.
I don’t just mean your ability to Google! We need a mix of lived and received knowledge from different fields to come up with new and unexpected answers.
But to make that a reality, you have to be curious and go out hunting for the answers. Everything you read, listen to, see or discuss with your friends and family becomes the basis of knowledge and insight.
Every walk you take down the street or morning spent drinking coffee and eavesdropping on the people around you is another nugget of information you can later mine. So, don’t underestimate the value of rewarding curiosity and individuals that actively seek knowledge during the working day.
- A well behaved creative seldom makes history
The free flowing state of creativity we all desperately want to achieve rarely comes when we are sitting in front of our laptops. But that’s about as far as I can go in describing how you unlock the state of ‘free child’ – that playful, curious energy where great ideas live. My advice to you is to tune in to what makes you feel that way, whether it’s a cold shower, doodling on a notepad or blasting Taylor Swift.
For those leading teams on a creative brief, also think about how you can inspire that feeling of playtime when brainstorming. Bring sweets, take them on a field trip, or tell a stupid joke.
The other important lesson here is around rules. We have to know them to break them. Every industry or category will have a series of rules – whether that’s stylistically or in how they speak to customers. Find those rules and think of the opposites. These will be the key to standing out amongst competitors.
Huge thank you to Marc Lewis and the team at SCA 2.0! If you are an aspiring creative, I would definitely recommend having a look at the courses they offer.