When I present (which I have been doing at many media companies and conferences over the past few years), I always find myself focusing on the power of creativity.
As a “mobile evangelist,” I have come to realise the importance of using a creative approach to increasing the impact of your efforts in a world where “average” is awful.
Today, with rich media, HTML5, touch screens, and the Internet of Things, expectations are sky high from your readers and advertisers in mobile, where an increasingly creative world is being formed.
The question, therefore, is, are you changing your approach enough to match those expectations? In essence, does your approach reflect the environment around you?
General psycho-analytical research over many years has shown that traits and behaviours are actually extremely flexible, meaning you are able to develop, enhance, and improve on them to better serve your readers and advertisers. We just need to have the right attitude and belief in ourselves.
Here are five – perhaps stupid – errors we sometimes make by taking a fixed, “static mindset” approach, and some suggestions of ways in which you can become more creative:
- Believing you can’t think creatively.
If you want to become better creatively, research ways in which you could complete tasks differently. Hunt out the people in and around your organisation who reflect a more positive and alternative approach. Don’t surround yourself with negativity and negative people. They will bring you down.
John Hegarty, founding partner of worldwide advertising agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH), once said cynics destroy creativity. Don’t associate yourself with them. “A cynic,” he said, “is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks for a coffin!” How true! Avoid these people at all costs.
- Wanting to viewed in a specific way.
So many of us are guilty of adapting our behaviours and actions so that other people will think of us in a certain way. Usually those people are our bosses and peers.
Be your real self! You’ve been hired to deliver great results based on what you’ve brought to the scene previously. Believe in yourself. The people who appreciate your efforts most are the people with whom you should surround yourself (see point number one above).
As the Nike brand tag line says, “Just do it!”
- Avoiding challenges for fear of failure.
Challenges (and sometime failures) are crucial in helping us grow and learn. If you don’t fail at anything, you’re less likely to grow. Take a few risks, look for challenges, and try to do things a bit differently.
Too many media companies have cultures that don’t allow for failures on their mobile development road maps. You need to allow for this. Creativity then flourishes. Fail if need be, as part of an experiment culture (mobile is still a new environment, after all). But fail fast, learn, and move on!
- Giving up too easily.
Persist! Don’t let barriers stop you (usually internal politics, fear of failure, etc.). Rather, let them be your motivation. Remember that many creatively excellent examples never came easily!
Thomas Edison, who invented the lightbulb, once said that, in getting to the point of a truly functional, working lightbulb, he had to refine it many, many times. “I simply found 10,000 ways where it didn’t work, at first,” he said wryly. But he kept going ... and ultimately, changed the world.
- Ignoring useful negative feedback.
No matter how hard it can be to hear, negative feedback is helping progress. The people who give you the feedback usually want to help you. Really! Embrace this. To improve your efforts, ensure you listen to their feedback and consider adapting what you’re doing appropriately.
A good example: I was born in the great city of Liverpool, England, the birthplace of The Beatles. Sir Paul McCartney was once asked, just as he was about to take to the stage at the famous Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, amid intense noise and screaming from fans, “Aren’t you nervous?”
“No,” he said. “Everyone is here to see me do well, so I need to deliver that. If I thought about it too much, I would be, but ‘fearless’ is the key.”
I can honestly say, I have always remembered and taken inspiration from this in life.
Are you fearless?
Take inspiration from key people and learn from them. Ask how they got to where they are today and the secrets of their success.
Try and break the mould of how you think about your mobile efforts. In mobile advertising today, there are many ways to engage readers that weren’t possible a few years ago. Smartphones offer amazingly creative possibilities. The mobile environment will only get more complex as time elapses with all manner of smartwatches and other connected devices.
By thinking creatively, you will not only be capable of achieving better results, but you will also enjoy what you are doing more. I know this to be true.
Sometimes it can be hard to shift the “static mindset” thinking. But by learning to challenge this, you’ll be able to adapt the way you approach and think about how you best deliver creative excellence to your audiences.
Remember the words of The Beatles.