Here are 8 ideas—plus a bonus idea in the “Silent” paragraph—that will help our creative be more successful:
Argue More: I love a good creative argument. I love the passion of a small team of people succinctly and professionally tearing ideas up and punching holes in every possible direction, seeing if the idea is 100% on strategy, and if not, having the guts to kill it. Presenting mushy ideas is easy; having the courage to kill the really good ones that are just slightly wrong for whatever reason is truly creative.
Be More Uncomfortable: We all get into comfort zones. One platform tends to look like the last one you worked on. Similarly, you tend to filter the ideas you bring clients because you know what they like. Make yourself uncomfortable by doing learning and executing new ways to communicate. Create something really new. Bring clients the risky stuff. You will occasionally fail, but you will grow
Be More Silent: Can we all shut up for a while and just listen? There’s such an outpouring of opinions and shared content and posts and tweets that I wonder who is putting their feet up, staring out the window, and just thinking about the assignment and waiting for the idea to come. Parallel to this thought, can we also work a bit Slower? Why are ideas needed tomorrow? Why do we get the brief and jump to ideation? When are we listening? When are we doodling? When are we going down wrong paths and coming up with the really bad ideas that will lead to the good ones?
Start More Conversations: If you didn’t get the memo, the top-down business funnel has been tipped on its side and consumers are dying to participate. So let them and their smartphones into the game. Ask for their thoughts. Ask for their content. Mostly, ask for their criticisms. Better they tell us, the marketers and clients—than tell their friends.
Create More Advocates—if I see one more brief that says “to create awareness,” my head will explode. In 2011, let’s see more briefs that challenge creative to convert consumers into passionate, wild-eyed fans. Let’s walk the word “target audience” behind the barn and start talking in terms of “rabid brandinistas.” Create advocacy, not awareness.
Have More Fun: I don’t care how many people are three-screening, people still like to smile, laugh, and pass it along. If you’re not generating a smile and causing a think, you need to walk around the block, watch something funny and start over.
Work More: While running. In the shower. At 3am. All the best ideas never come at your desk. But if you’re not totally obsesses with coming up with better ideas, you won’t have ideas come to you at all. At your desk, or any of the other famous places where the good ideas live. Working harder means total immersion in every assignment. Not being satisfied with lazy briefs. Doing as much research as the researchers. Scribbling every random thought and a few weeks later, seeing if you can connect one or two or three random thoughts. Of the best ideas, people always say: “I could have thought of that.” But they never do. Because you did the hard work and got there first.
Use Spokespeople Less: the lesson of 2010 is, why use a spokesperson if you can create one? If you’re not sure what I mean, see: Old Spice.