The Key to Maintaining a Unique Brand
To increase the bottom line, creatives in our field are asked to focus on output. It has always been this way, and to some extent, always should be. But as the pace of business increases and deadlines approach, energy is devoted to just completing the marathon, rather than coming in first. The unfortunate result is mediocre work that packs the marketplace with abundant look-alike campaigns, products and services.
In this over-saturated environment, customers are forced to look for something, anything, that helps them separate winners from the clutter.
You want your brand to win. You need it to stand out as a means of survival.
The question is, how?
It starts with your creative team. If you’re struggling to differentiate yourself in the market, perhaps it’s time to take an honest inventory and consider whether your creatives work in an environment that’s conducive to creativity—or one that simply values throughput and focuses on the churning piece after piece.
Here’s what I mean.
In a setting in which deadlines are continuously approaching, it’s impossible to strive for innovation. People are battery operated creatures. Our tanks are not infinite, nor can they be expected to operate at full speed whenever the key is turned. While “working hard” is a cherished American value, the “grind” mentality may not be benefiting your brand strategy. Creatives require creative nutrition. The cool part is we can get it almost anywhere-- the things we read, watch and notice. But we need dedicated time to refuel, daydream, and yes-- develop messaging that resonates and rises above competing noise.
At Access Marketing Company, we strive to maintain a creatively lush work environment. We’re happy to share our method with you.
Three Steps to Fostering Creativity
1. Make Time for Important, Non-Urgent Tasks
Branding is a long-term strategy. It’s not a box we can check—it’s an ongoing refinement process that strives for precision and flare.
The problem with any long-term strategy is that people naturally privilege less-important, urgent assignments.1 To address this basic psychological preference, we employ an 80/20 project management model that encourages creatives to spend 20% (minimum) of their time on non-urgent tasks.
Important Non-Urgent Tasks
Important Urgent Tasks
Ideally, your creative team should spend more than 20% percent of their time on non-urgent, important tasks. 20% is a minimum to ensure there’s bandwidth to refuel and maintain focus on the long-term goal of elevating your brand voice.
How often does your team come together to critique work, share ideas or explore solutions? Do you have deliberate means of challenging your team to produce higher quality work?
Workshops can be tremendously beneficial and creatively infusing. At Access Marketing Company, we meet bi-monthly to purposefully evaluate our recent output. In an encouraging yet critical atmosphere, we collectively find solutions to produce stronger work.
3. Create a Fail-Safe Environment
“Fail-safe” is a design in which failure causes minimal to no harm. Your creative atmosphere should be engineered similarly.
So many leaders don’t realize that without risk there is no creativity or innovation. Work cultures in which vulnerability is framed as weakness are struggling to produce fresh ideas. By creating a fail-safe environment, you inherently encourage a creative mentality that isn’t afraid to zag when everyone else zigs.
Brand Definition Wins—Every Time
In a market that’s jam-packed with content, your approach shouldn’t be to fight clutter with more clutter. Instead, take an honest look at your creative team. Do you provide an environment that allows for creative refueling or vulnerability? Can your business afford to invest the resources to cultivate innovation?
If there are inherent shortcomings in your creative department, it may be time to outsource to an agency that specializes in creative development. But, be careful if you do. Not all agencies are alike. They come with varying degrees of expertise and experience across solution areas. If you’re interested in learning more about how to shop for the right creative agency, we encourage you to read our whitepaper: How to Gauge a Marketing Company’s Legitimacy.
We’d Love to Hear from You
If you’re ready to skip ahead and speak directly with a full-service creative agency, please give us a call at 720.536.8650. We’re happy to speak with you about expanding your creative resources and developing a long-term winning strategy.