It’s amazing how many times we marketers have to conjure up new ideas and campaigns on a regular basis – sometimes in very little time, due to tight deadlines and last minute opportunities. Yet time after time, we come up with the goods, filling even the blankest of canvases. Is it a skill? A finely honed art? Divine intervention? I’m not sure there is a definitive answer, but I do know that creativity lies at the heart of all successful marketing activities.
Creativity is defined as: “The ability to produce or use original and unusual ideas.” That’s a pretty apt summary. Personally, I view creativity as more of a mindset and an attitude. A pet peeve is when I hear variations of the phrase “we need to think outside the box,” as the creative cogs should always be turning, especially in a marketing environment. You only put things in a box when you’re not using them, so our brains are always outside it in that respect.
So, how important is creative thinking to the digital marketing mix? Very. It is the spark that can help a brand stand out from its competitors, capture people’s imaginations and leave a long-lasting impression. Powerful stuff indeed. Adopting a creative mindset ensures you are always looking to explore new opportunities, as well as solve problems and embrace change.
Now, let’s consider how to harness this power and direct it into a creative marketing strategy.
Brand identity parade
Think about what really matters to your audience. Your messaging, your personality and your professionalism are all integral components of how you are perceived. But are all these things reflected in your website? Are they then mirrored in your social media channels? Is your content built upon these same foundations? Does everything come together as one easily identifiable whole? If there is synergy, you already have solid foundations to build upon.
Once you’ve gotten to grips with your audience’s personalities and motives, you can then channel your creativity into producing personalised and relevant content.
Remember, anything you publish – from blogs, new stories, case studies or thought leadership pieces – has the power to gain interest, create demand and strengthen your brand reputation and image. Infusing articles with personality and good storytelling will always connect with others on a human level, which is great for building an audience – and making them hungry for more.
Proceed with caution
While creativity is always encouraging, reign in your creative impulses and urges to post anywhere and everywhere all at once. It’s important to analyse and assess your content before it goes live – especially on social media.
Make sure you consult any data you have available and consider the impact your content could have on your audience. Don’t go posting off the cuff – and don’t put your latest creative campaign ahead of responding to any customer enquiries or feedback. Yes, it’s exciting to let your creativity run free, but don’t forget the basics!
Keep it fresh for business success
Creativity can be applied to every area of your business, helping you to identify new opportunities throughout your target market. Constantly thinking of fresh ideas keeps you on your toes and moving forwards, helping you keep up with the latest industry trends and developments.
It also allows you to see things from your customers’ perspective, allowing you to tailor your products and services to their needs – and ensuring you stay relevant. Regularly implementing new and creative digital marketing strategies will position you as a leader in your field, while keeping your content fresh and exciting.
Get your creative juices flowing
Looking to get into a more creative mindset? Small things such as a change of environment or going for a short walk can do wonders. Always have a notepad handy so when inspiration strikes, you can jot ideas down on the spot and then revisit them at a later date.
Plus, be sure to bat ideas around with colleagues in collaboration to expand and build upon them. Be playful and don’t fear mistakes. Be inspired. You never know what groundbreaking idea or campaign you’ll come up with.
Creativity is powerful and, in the digital marketing world, remains at the heart of everything we do. Effective campaigns require creative strategies, while content needs to be creatively adapted to suit its medium. After all, what works well in one context may not work in another (as memorably outlined in The Chairman’s Wife Syndrome). At the end of the day, creative campaigns are remembered for a long time – and play an essential role in helping brands retain their customer base. Or, to paraphrase, it pays to be creative.