As the end of the year approached, you may have found yourself taking the time to reflect on the year that has been, draw a line under it and start a fresh. Even if you have never been one for making resolutions it is worth taking time to consider how you might spend the next 12 months.
Work and life used to have clearly defined boundaries that would rarely mix. In today’s hyper-connected world, we experience personal and professional blurring more than ever.
When I did my personal look back over the year, I found that my life mirrored this – and I don’t mean checking emails out of hours. Many of my ‘ah ha’ moments or ‘big ideas’ have come from outside the office. Indeed, a Ted talk, a comedy sketch, a TV programme and a conference are just a few ways in which my work and personal life merged to inspire creative ideas.
“Creativity is just connecting things,” said Steve Jobs. However, ‘light bulb moments’, ‘blue sky thinking’ and ‘big ideas’ don’t just happen, they happen because we allow them to happen. Bringing things together and connecting in fresh ways can make a profound impact when brought into step with an existing framework or practice.
We grew up in a varied environment, an environment influenced by media, experiences and people. The challenge for marketers is to create a space where inspiration and creativity can flourish.
The B2B marketing industry is set to be an exciting place to be in 2015. The knotty and complex challenges we all love will remain. However, against a backdrop of long-buying cycles, squeezed profit margins and a need for campaigns to demonstrate greater measurable impact, campaigns will need to be even more creative, thought-provoking and memorable.
If like me, your resolution for 2015 is to unleash your creativity, these three tips might help:
1. Mind. Set. Go!
We’ve all been there, “we need an idea and we need it now” and one thing I know for sure is that ideas will come when they’re good and ready. Pressure is not always our friend in these situations, so it comes down to creating the right mindset.
Sometimes you just need to stop thinking about things to get ideas. I’m sure we can all remember a time when you’re cooking the dinner or about to drop off to sleep, only for an idea to hit at that exact moment.
Schedule times for serendipity, go for a lunchtime walk, take an evening class and allow your brain to be free of thoughts.
2. Feed your Mind (and the rest will follow)
Get good at noticing. Be a consumer of media, events and experiences and fill your head with brain food. We are often focused on business and work but ideas come from having peripheral vision. Be bold. When it comes to seeking out inspiration, anything goes.
3. Curiosity killed the cat (but not the dog)
Feed your curiosity. Ask questions but don’t be tempted to filter the answers and follow familiar routes – because you’ve always done it that way. Force yourself to do something different. Life is about movement and change. Embrace this. Be curious, and consider what’s possible.
Paws for thought
Man Bites Dog hosted a panel discussion in partnership ITN Productions to debate the question: Is B2B marketing facing a crisis of creativity?
Take a moment to watch a panel of inspiring thinkers from Google, Grant Thornton International and ?What If! on the set of ITV’s flagship news debate show – The Agenda. Our own agenda on the day was to get under the skin of the challenges facing CMOs at the world’s biggest and best known B2B brands.