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Being creative 24/7 can be hard, so it stands to reason that your marketing team is not going to be able spin up amazing campaigns every time on demand. Creative wells run dry and often it requires a refill before the ideas start flowing again. Continued pressure and high expectations are not going to produce effective results if your team isn’t given the space to thrive. Here are nine effortless ways you can reignite that creative spark and take your team’s results from stale to stellar.
1. Try a new locale
It’s incredible how much a change of scenery can bring out new ideas. If your marketing team is housed in a small, windowless corner of your office, it might be time to mix it up. Why not treat the team to coffee or breakfast? That way the team can sit down together and brainstorm ideas to deliver on the strategy without the office distractions. Or, order in lunch and take over the boardroom. Whiteboards, smartboards or any kind of blank space allows for uninhibited scribbling and new ideas, accelerating the creative process.
2. Encourage new ideas
The fantastic thing about brainstorming sessions is that it only takes one good idea to spark the imagination of others. That approach can be nurtured and built upon in a brainstorming meeting through the collective minds of the department. Of course, not every idea that comes out of a brainstorming session will be put to good use. But, they can definitely be filed away until a more appropriate time. Create an environment that allows your team to flex their creative muscles and the ideas will come.
3. Put innovation into practice
Just because it hasn’t been done before doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t. Make sure your team understands that while there are boundaries, they shouldn’t necessarily limit their strategies. Whenever possible give the team autonomy to create outside the box. So whether they opt for a powerful video with a strong storytelling aspect, or launch a unique billboard campaign that drives engagement, be flexible as long as it fits within the confines of your budget and brings the desired results.
4. Spark joy in your space
Ever since Marie Kondo came into our lives, we’ve been letting go of the things that drag us down and holding on to the things that inspire us. The same strategy can be applied to your marketing office. Purge those old monitors that are collecting dust. Find a place for your post-its and HDMI cords. And finally hang up that whiteboard that’s been leaning against the wall. You can apply the same idea to your digital spaces, too. Tidy up your analytics dashboard by removing meaningless metrics. Purge old files you no longer need. Cleaning up your physical and virtual space can give your team the room they need to think and spark creativity.
5. Take it outside
If your team is facing a creative drought, a little Vitamin D and a dose of mother nature might be just what the doctor ordered. Unfamiliar surroundings paired with movement and free-flowing discussion will help your team think differently than in the confines of your office. It’s a bit of an unorthodox approach to meetings that can inspire your marketing team to come up with previously undiscussed propositions. And, if it doesn’t, you haven’t lost anything by trying. Your team may even benefit in ways you hadn’t planned.
6. Clear up your objectives
If your marketing team (or any team member for that matter) isn’t fully up to speed with the company objectives, their ideas will fall short of the organization’s aims. Make sure that everyone understands your business goals so that every project provides real value for the company as a whole. Having a clear understanding of the big picture, and the part each department plays, will clarify ideas, provide practical direction and give all of your employees a tangible purpose.
7. Encourage cross-pollination
Consider pairing the marketing department with another department in the organization so your team can hear ideas from a completely different perspective. Give everyone ample time to speak and allow them to learn from one another. Someone on the customer success team may be able to offer up an entirely different point of view that the marketing department fails to see because they are operating in different silos within the organization.
Related: How to Create a Marketing Plan
8. Change the context
Sometimes suggestions dry up because people are afraid to look silly. So, change the context. Ask everyone to come up with the most ridiculous ideas possible. Among the outrageous ideas will be some suggestions that just might work. Without pushing the boundaries just a little bit and allowing the team to dream up such ideas, it may never occur to them to speak up in the first place.
9. Give them a break
If the creativity is sparse, then step away. Do other tasks and come back to it. Thinking about a subject too much can put pressure on your brain and make it difficult to stay innovative. Allow your marketing team to move on to something else and revisit the project later in the day or week (deadline permitting). Or give them the afternoon off so they can come in fresh with ideas tomorrow. All work and no play can lead to stress and burnout! Author and creativity expert Kevin Carroll says it best: "For creativity to serve you well, you must exercise it daily." Make sure you give your team plenty of rest and opportunities to take five while focusing on difficult topics.
No one is an unabated source of innovative ideas. So next time your team is feeling uninspired, take a breather, change your surroundings and look for new ways to reignite that proverbial creative spark.
March 6, 2019 at 10:24AM