Enough and more has been said about the ongoing era of digital disruption. So, I won’t go down that path. I am sure as you’re reading this, you must have received at least two notifications in your smartphone, a new hashtag must be trending on twitter, a brand campaign gone viral on social media and two of your friends on Facebook have already shared it on their timelines. Even the lines between C-suite is blurring and this has given rise to a new bracket of corporate ninja’s – the Chief Marketing Technologists. Brands are investing millions in data analysts and scientists, who are sitting neck-deep in data to figure out the answers that will resolve all their problems. Marketing gurus who once had a Midas touch, are now huddled, wondering how to re-position a certain brand, so it can be in the limelight again.
In a world so fast-paced that it can make gossip-vines in kitty-party circles seem sluggish, how does a communications professional ensure a brand’s voice is heard? And then not forgotten. As a professional myself, I think it’s a tall ask. And how.
While it is not the solution, creativity lies in the heart of it. As consultants, clients look at us for creative solutions that will push the envelope in their communication strategies. In today’s world, creativity is not just an ask, it is the life blood of communications consultancy. It is imperative for us to keep going back to the drawing-board to check how we can do things differently for our clients.
There are a few daunting questions for any PR novice: What will take to be a creative thinker? Am I creative enough? How do I learn to be a creative thinker?
Creative thinking lies in the roots of brand ideas and problem-solving. However, PR consultants largely, restrict themselves to just the ‘promotional’ aspect of their consultancy – product launches, promotional events, large-scale campaigns and of course new business pitches. If you don’t water the roots every day, how will the tree bear fruit?
If we are honest with ourselves, A-list celebs, top-Government professionals or God forbid! – a scandal is the quick-fire way to grab media-interest. In the absence of all of these, we come-up with innovative ideas to garner interest. As consultants, this is our skill to hone in every task that we do. Promotional activities or big-tickets events aside, consultants need to be constantly thinking on their feet to find innovative strategies, creative ways to nurture client-media relationships, the ever-so mundane reporting and even, crises management.
As a consultant, every morning, you step into the battlefield, where your client is pit against its competitors in the fight for higher recall or Share of Voice. It is critical, soldiers, to remember – great wars have been won by implementing strategies that weren’t previously imagined. Consultants need to break out of ‘the herd mentality’. While it is important to keep an eye-out at what the ‘other’ is doing. What got them here, may not get your client there.
Here are some quick points to keep in mind during the course of your creative journey:
- Don’t complicate it – In your attempt to come-up with ‘brilliant’ ideas, don’t over-think the challenges. Sometimes, it is smarter to keep it simple.
- Know your audience – What may be working for one audience, may completely fall flat with another. Ensure that your ideas are targeted toward the correct audience
- It’s not an ego-battle – It’s okay if another team member is coming-up with better ideas. That should not deter you from voicing your thoughts. Remember, it’s not about you. It’s a larger vision.
- Stay hungry, stay foolish – If you don’t constantly hone your creativity skills, you will stop growing. So think…think… THINK!
- Don’t stray far from the brief – You are after all thinking for your client.
- Voice it – Don’t let the idea keep growing and eventually die in your head. Speak to your seniors or peers. Believe me, everyone loves an innovative thinker. Maybe the other person will be able to help you polish your ideas. They may see a genius in what seems like a silly idea to you.
Cheers! To the little creative genius who lies in each one of us! Unleash the beast, I say!