08 Dec How Should Companies Exercise Creativity Productively?
Fostering a creative culture at work always has its pros and cons. In an environment that encourages experimentation and tolerating mistakes, people are more inclined to contribute value-adding solutions and think out of the box. This is especially true in the world of traditional and digital marketing where campaigns require a high degree of creative thinking and implementation requires strategic approach on the mediums to be used. Tapping into the creative minds of our employees provides so many opportunities for progress in a company, but it can come with drawbacks if not done efficiently.
Creativity, if not managed properly, becomes a messy process that may or may not be value-adding to the company. Unclear objectives, poor time management, and lack of structure when ideating can lead to more problems than solutions. The last thing we want to have is to stay stuck in the creative process of ideating, and not moving on to the execution phase. Here are some tips on how companies can manage the chaos that comes with creativity, while reaping its benefits.
Spatial Cues for Creativity and Exclusivity
A brainstorming session can feel like it is never- ending. With more people bouncing off ideas with each other and as more creative proposals are churned out, it will be hard to hit on the brakes on a marketing meeting. And while it can get exciting to come up with more ideas and not break the momentum, certain boundaries must be set in order to not drain someone and affect his/her creative thinking. Companies can consider a booking system to use creative spaces at work under a limited time period. In these creative spaces, groups of people can ideate together in an environment that encourages creativity. From post-it notes, white boards and blank canvases for employees to put up their ideas, to trigger cards with probing questions can be scattered around the room to inspire solutions, to conducive lighting and sounds to stimulate creativity, the space creates a cue that it is time for ideating. During this time, there are no disruptions or distractions as employees have a space to focus fully on ideating under a limited time period.
Training Employees to be Creative
Encouraging a culture of participation and inclusivity always helps to gather ideas, but it should be carried out efficiently as well. Training our employees to be creative at designated timings helps. We can create an expectation for employees to ideate during specific times of the day on a weekly or monthly basis. For example, e-storming and text-storming can be done, where a probing question can be sent out to all employees in the office through text or email for them to ideate content within ten to fifteen minutes. Incentives like a Starbucks drink or a pair of movie tickets can be used to reward the employee with the best answer. This way, the creative process is better structured and employees are able to think quickly and nimbly on their feet in the long run. It doesn’t necessarily need to be project specific, random questions on ideas for office celebrations and bonding activities can be posed as well just as a way to stimulate the mind.
On top of quick discussions on email and through text, resources can be provided to employees to stimulate their creative juices. For example, talks and workshop events inviting guest speakers from creative agencies can also be held. With these implementations, employees will also stay inspired and updated on the latest marketing trends.
Structured Briefs with Clear Goals
While brainstorming, it can be easy to have conversations carried away and ideas can become irrelevant to the main topic of discussion. When coming up with a marketing campaign and seeking employees to pitch proposals, a good idea would be to introduce briefs with clear instructions and objectives. This will help structure creative processes and idea generation.
While coming up with a marketing brief, consider the marketing objectives involved. For example, the objective for ad campaigns with high traffic to websites would be to achieve lowest cost-per-click for the ads and high click-through rates when measuring the effectiveness of an ad design. Ideating the design of the ads, the copies, and the main message would all work towards fulfilling these goals, in order to spread awareness of products and services on the company website. If objectives are not clear, there might be a risk of having no limits to the kind of creative ideas a campaign should have. Time and effort would be needed in clarifying and refining proposals if objectives are misaligned.
Organising Creative Output
Before a session of brainstorming for a marketing campaign, it is always good to come prepared with references of past works. A useful idea would be to keep track of past marketing campaigns that were successful on a database for easy reference. Whenever a similar theme, topic or product type has to be marketed again, turning to this compilation of campaigns would be an efficient way to kickstart the brainstorming process. Additionally, a data bank of good ad campaigns from competitors might be a good reference as well when a company wants to establish unique selling points different from competitors. With these in hand, the brainstorming processes can be sped up and time is saved in conceptualising a marketing project or campaign. They act as manuals to guide the creative thinking process and help employees to produce something in line with marketing goals.
In a fast-paced business environment where key performance indicators need to be met constantly, it is important to stay efficient and productive. Being creative doesn’t necessarily mean being chaotic, there can be structure even in the chaos of ideating innovative solutions. Finally, cultivating a culture of creativity requires an encouraging environment that embraces the opinions of everyone. Throughout the brainstorming meetings, e-storming, and text-storming discussions, remember to stay supportive and guide your employees on the path towards creative actualisation.