Sometimes one of the most challenging aspects of a marketer’s job is to keep the creativity flowing to come up with new ideas and develop those ideas into an actionable plan. At Organically Interactive, we have a few strategies that we use in a pinch to get the creative juices flowing. Here are some examples from our team on how they come up with the best ideas and some strategies they use if they get “stuck.”
On how to get the creativity flowing…
“I do my best thinking after a strong pot of Caribou Morning Blend Coffee and a walk without my connected devices processing all of our campaigns. Next, I bounce those ideas off my wonderful partner and between the two of us, we connect the dots to make the idea whole.” — Nicholas Voyles
“Minimalism works for me. I write with a black pen on yellow legal pads on my Remington Quiet Riter. Creativity is a limitless fount; however, it takes some coaxing at times. If I’m stuck, I remove myself from the pages — maybe go for a run. Without fail, when I return, the words are there ready to jump onto the page.” — Josh Ownby
“I take some quiet time by myself, maybe listen to some music. Sometimes I seek out inspiration, but others it just comes to me.” — Alan Wilkison
“I get the creative juices flowing by cooking and crafting. When I am making something, my mind opens up doors to new places during that quiet time. I tend to get into the zone and my subconscious takes over, and that’s where my really great ideas come from.” — Blythe Helton
“I like to play with words, and there are two websites I use all the time to stimulate my thinking. Both have annual charges, but they’re totally worth it. Visual Thesaurus, www.visualthesaurus.com, is a site that displays definitions, synonyms and antonyms using a “thinkmap.” It’s a diagram that shows the relationship of the words and their definitions. Phrase Finder, www.phrasefinder.co.uk, lets you enter a word or pair of words to find phrases and sayings that are related in some way to the keyword. These sites are especially useful when you’re trying to write a headline.” — Jeanne Davant
“I sometimes write a song or poem about the concept. Poetry forces you to use a different vocabulary and think differently.” — Jeanne Davant
“I like to have the radio playing in the background. I like radio commercials a lot; they are very expressive. They give me a lot of ideas.” — Lisa Santora
On overcoming creative blocks…
“If I get stuck, I will probably use the stream of consciousness method where you just write for an allotted amount of time, whatever is on your mind, and after that time, usually an idea is formed. Then you can edit it and turn it into a story.” — Josh Ownby
“I almost always go outside when I can’t think of an idea. I usually walk or play with my dogs and that helps. I can always think of something when I am away from the task, then I come back to it later and sit down and write.” — Lisa Santora
“I’m not a fan of the word “creative block” or “writer’s block.” I’m still not convinced it truly exists. It’s all about perception, I think. Creativity is like a well-oiled machine. It teeters on the edge of collapse when unattended to, but if it’s cared for and utilized often, it runs like a dream.” — Josh Ownby
“Mostly I go outside and walk or play with the dogs; get my mind off it, then come back to it later, and I can write.” — Lisa Santora
“I take a break and try to clear my head. If I come to a block on something I’m working on, I’ll usually take a break from it for a minute but when I come back, I’ll go over what I’ve done so far and see if I can go over what I’ve been doing and pick back up the flow of the direction I was trying to take the project.” — Alan Wilkison
“Creativity is fluid, and it never really stops. I think what we call “writer’s block” is when someone is using creativity for the wrong application at the wrong time.” — Josh Ownby
“One trick I use when I wasn’t sure what to write is to READ the works of great writers. That usually sparks something.” — Josh Ownby
“I take a walk or do a 20-minute workout. If I can’t do either of those, I ask myself, how would a 6-year-old describe this?” — Jeanne Davant
“Because many of our client’s primary market is women and my fiance is a typical consumer, I paint her scenarios and she fills in the blanks. Once she provides the substance (most of the time without knowing why I am asking her the questions) of the idea, I can polish it up and turn it into an actionable plan for the client.” — Nicholas Voyles
On where the best ideas come from….
“I gain a lot of clarity when I’m in the shower or say outside when it’s raining. Maybe it’s something melancholy in the air or something that reminds me of my childhood, I’m not sure, but those strong emotional associations act as a catalyst for powerful ideas. I almost always write outside, too.” — Josh Ownby
“Travel. Whether I am traveling to new places or “traveling” around the Internet.” — Alan Wilkison
“At night. Often my best ideas come when I’m just about to fall asleep, or just waking up in the morning. That’s why I keep a voice-activated digital recorder beside my bed. I carry the recorder with me whenever I remember to, because you never know when you’re going to get a great idea!” — Jeanne Davant
“When I am playing Call of Duty — the endorphins are racing and after I lose myself in the game, ideas flow in.” — Nicholas Voyles
“Usually the best ideas happen upon waking. I wake up and think of stuff I have to go do, and then many problems get resolved rapidly. For some reason, just waking up seems to get my mind going on things I wasn’t able to figure out the day before.” — Lisa Santora
As for me, I find that my best ideas come when I am inspired by something. When I see something that is powerful or beautiful in its own right, it helps me open my mind to new possibilities. I will usually get into a creative block if I am trying too hard to accomplish a project, and the best ideas come to me when there’s no deadline. Many times I get the creativity flowing by reading, meditating, and generally getting away from distractions however that may be. I overcome a “creative block” by walking away from the project for a while, and then coming back to it after I’ve done something that is unrelated like play with my son or walk my dogs.
When I read the quotes from the team, I found myself identifying with many of their responses, which makes me think there may be similarities in the process for everyone. Looking for things to inspire you, walking away from the project when you become overwhelmed or frustrated, and then pursuing an activity that helps you focus or relax to cultivate the best ideas seems to be how we all keep the ideas flowing.
So now that you’ve heard how our team gets creative, what about you? What is your creative process? How do you come up with your best ideas? Sound off in the comments section, and let us know on Facebook, Twitter, or Google +!