Category Archives: How to – Tips & Tricks

Sharing is caring – why keeping your ideas to yourself is killing your creativity (and your job)

bartenderI have had my share of creative paranoia in the workplace; you know, when you are afraid to share with others for fear they will steal your idea and claim it as their own. I have even experienced having my designs replicated (design plagiarism). That said, collaboration is the only way to develop meaningful marketing solutions. So why do I still run into those who consider collaboration like looking at their paper for their answers during a quiz? While I really have no answer to why, I do have some thoughts on why it is important to collaborate with others.

Over the years, I’ve been in situations where I’ve worked with teams of designers and on my own. I’ve found that working with a team always spurs more creativity because you get different points of view for the same subject matter. In any conversation you have with someone else, you will get a different perspective from your own, even in the case where you both agree on the topic and the outcome. Everyone has their own thought process and their own way of reaching conclusions. This way of reaching conclusions is a huge part of the creative process as each thought takes you down a new path. Now, when you are working by yourself, it’s easy to halt to the process as you immediately agree with everything you are saying. This can stifle the creative juices and will, in the end, hurt your final product.

Think about it, some of the best ideas came about when a couple, or three, people were sitting at a bar with nothing but a napkin, a pen and a good bartender. It may have started as some political argument, or a discussion about an issue they faced in their life, but that discussion got the creative juices flowing and BOOM, the next great idea happens. I find, in my creative process, that even when I work alone, I need others to help with my inspiration. It may be a phone call to a friend, talking to my family or looking at some other great work someone has done.

All-in-all as long as you are honest, give credit where credit is due and work with integrity, you will always come out better when you share.

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Your Employees are Your Best Brand Champions

You’ve completely revamped your brand, from voice to colors to graphics. You have repositioned your company, but how do you get people to like you, really like you. Well, the best way to sell your brand is through your own people. With social media becoming an integral part of everyone’s life you have the ability to make your people your biggest brand champions and it’s important to ensure your employees are with you on this venture, because if your employees aren’t singing your praises, then no amount of PR is going to make your brand stick.

Jason Falls wrote a great article on this entitled Will Your Company Introduce Your Baristas that talks about the importance of allowing your employees to talk about you online, and the real need to have your employees believe in your brand and product with the line: “If you are afraid of what your employees will say about you online, then your problem is not your employees, it’s you. Hire smarter.” The funny thing about this, is that he wrote this article back in 2010 but it has really been just the last year or so that companies have really embraced this idea of empowering their employees through social media.

The key to this being a success is to incorporate it into your brand strategy. You need to create guidelines about how they represent your brand and ensure that the employees understand, not only the importance of how they present you online, but that they also ambassadors for their company. If you do this in a creative and fun matter you will find that your employees will jump at the chance to be part of it and many times will come up with creative ideas that your marketing team may not have tapped into.

So let the empowerment flow, but be sure that you keep an eye to ensure that your message is getting through.

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Pop Quiz – Are you a Jay Prichett dealership or a Phil Dunphy dealership?

That’s the question your dealership needs to answer after Wednesday’s episode of ABC’s Modern Family that took on the (seemingly) arduous task of buying a car. Phil Dunphy, notorious nice guy, researched, planned and decided on the perfect car for his daughter all before he ever hit the Dealer’s lot. When it came time to sign on the dotted line, Jay, Phil’s ornery father-in-law, jumped in as the old pro in negotiating to save Phil from making a huge mistake by trusting the dealer and his price. Turns out, the dealer was a straight-forward, honest guy who gave Phil the best price on the car. We find this out as Jay insists they “walk away,” thinking the dealer will stop them to negotiate further, which does not happen. Jay then convinces Phil to jump to another dealer in town with the assurance they would give them a better deal. Sadly for Jay, but great for the reputation of dealers, the offer from the other dealer was the real deal, and couldn’t be beat. The dealer wasn’t looking to “sucker” Phil, but looked at him as the new type of shopper who has done the research, knows what the car’s worth and expects a fair price without a hard sell.

See the full article here

Life of an Artist – Pointers from the past.

IMG_3523When you begin any writing project, it is a good idea to clear your head, define your space, and give yourself a break when you hit a wall. Whether it starts in school, or in the real world, artists (yes, that includes writers, too) are taught to be hard on ourselves. We have all been subject to a brutal critique, or a war-torn bleeding draft; whichever the case, the ego is bound to take a few punches on our way to producing our best work. After recently completing a grueling writing project, I thought I would provide those just starting out with some tips on how to keep going:

  1. Create a creative space – Nothing gets the juices flowing better than creating a space that evokes creativity. Artists thrive in the presence of other great art. Put some prints on the wall of your favorite artists, grab some cool sculptures for your desk and make sure there are lots of colorful playful things around.
  2. Clear your mind and schedule – Dedicate some time to what you are doing. It’s hard to be creative on the spot, you need time to relax and let yourself go. This means that you need to set aside blocks of time where you are dedicated just to your creative process. Make sure it is enough time to get you started as you may find the first hour is nothin but clearing the mind.
  3. Take a break from writer’s block – Writer’s block isn’t just for writers, it’s for any creative. If you find yourself just not feeling it, then take a break, go for a walk, listen to some music or maybe just jump up and down and scream.

These are just a few tips to get you started. Remember, everyone’s creative process is different. There is no one way. Also, here’s a great article on How to Be Creative from Real Simple. Good luck and have fun.

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