“Creativity is the variable that multiplies”
The headline above is a favourite quote from Gary Vaynerchuk (marketing legend) about the power of creativity to make a huge difference in your marketing comms. Here are a few more thoughts that I find helpful when it comes to creativity and marketing.
Rely on your uncertainty.
I’m not sure who said it, but my favourite quote that describes the creative process is:
“Build your bridge as you walk over it”.
Keep your options open to start with. Prepare for the feeling of uncertainty and going into the unknown. Believe that you will get to the other side with an idea that works.
Ideas don’t often come in a flash of blinding light. They start as a murky impression of unformed creative sludge. Ideas need to be nurtured and refined, pulled apart and knocked into shape. Then they need to be added to and built upon before they see the light of day and shown to others. In these early stages, there is a great deal of vulnerability and uncertainty but that is ok. When you are in the business of coming up with creative ideas for a living it is better to move from uncertainty to certainty, keeping your options open. If you start in certainty, you will often end up in uncertainty because you have not been open to all your options at the beginning.
Relevance is better than Originality.
When it comes to creative communication, trying to be original can be one of the biggest hindrances to creativity. It’s better to be relevant and connect effectively with your audience rather than trying to be original because most of us will never be truly original. Pablo Picasso is often quoted as saying:
“Good artists copy, great artists steal.”
I don’t think he was promoting stealing ideas. That can get you into all sorts of trouble. He was exaggerating to make a point. We all rely on influences and inspiration from others to come up with our ideas. Our job is to add our own twists and inflections to make the ideas relevant to the audience we are talking to.
Being curious and open to new ideas is important to keep your creativity fresh. Make a regular habit of looking for new ideas. Keep up to date with what is at the forefront of your industry. I am interested in a variety of magazines and websites across a few industries not just in my category. I am constantly grazing for fresh ideas or something I can include in my world to make my ideas the best they can be.
The more you create the more creative you get.
Creativity without action is a waste of brainpower. Someone once said that ‘Success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration’. I still think that is true. When it comes to creativity ‘Use it or lose it’. That is why I love this quote from John Steinbeck:
“Creativity doesn’t come out of thin air. It comes from practice. The more you do something, the better you get at doing it. If you sit around wishing you could paint or play music, you’ll never make much progress.”
There are no shortcuts when it comes to creativity. Be prepared to do the hard work to bring your inspiration to life.
To finish, here is one of my favourite quotes from Bob Dylan:
“Life isn’t about finding yourself or finding anything. Life is about creating yourself and creating things.”
So just do it!