In an age of digital transformation and digital transportation of ideas, creativity still matters. I would even argue that it matters more. According to Menmood Hanif, quoted in a Huffington Post article, the average internet user gets 11,150 ads per month. Another CBS News report stated that in the 1970s consumers were exposed to about 500 ads per day and now they are exposed to about 5,000 ads per day. So somewhere between 11,150 per month and 5,000 ads per day lies the opportunity to be seen and heard. But based on this quantity of exposures, it better be creative if you want it to be seen or heard.
Ads don’t come knocking on the door announcing that they are ads any longer (think TV commercials). They sometimes find their way into your online social community as YouTube videos you love to watch and celebrities that you follow. They are in your feeds and part of the shows you love to watch. They provide the landscape in the game you are playing and are probably in the songs on your playlist. In addition, the rapid rise of mobile as an advertising medium has challenged everything we have learned about how to capture attention and tell stories. Advertisers had decades to get familiar with and proficient on traditional mediums like TV, but mobile is presenting a whole new set of opportunities and challenges. Given the potential for consumers to see lots of ads, it is even more important that if we want to stand out in this crowd that we work at being creative. That is, being imaginative, original and emotionally compelling.
Facebook recently reported that in their analysis of over 800 video ads from 2015 and 2016 of major advertisers in North American and Europe, only 22% could be understood in the first 10 seconds without sound. That presents a huge missed opportunity as consumer’s attention spans are shrinking given the number of exposures and viewing options. I agree with Barbara Dyer, president and CEO of The Hitachi Foundation, when she said that creativity is rapidly shifting from a “nice to have” to a “must have” quality for all types of successful organizations – from delicatessens to design firms. A firm’s embrace of creativity in their workplace culture requires a disciplined approach to unleash the chaos of inventive ideas.
Here are some of the things we can do to cultivate a culture of creativity among our teams according to Inc. magazine to ensure that we are developing work that will be seen, heard and experienced.
1. Build a Diverse Team – Having everyone on the team look alike and come from the same background stifles creativity and presents a missed opportunity for your company and team. Seek to build a diverse team whose strength lies in its members' range of work experience, education and cultural backgrounds that play off of one another.
2. Surround Your team with Inspiration - Whenever you see something from the big wide world that captures your attention, put it on display. It can be any discovery: an awesome ad in a magazine, an unusually arranged menu, or even a well-written email that made you laugh. The more provocative, the better!
3. Flip Your Assumptions - Over the course of the day, identify all the tasks you do without thinking. Take a moment to talk about how you could do them differently. Sometimes it won’t work (spell check might always be the best way to proofread your work). However, it will often lead you to find a new way of doing the same old thing.
4. Bring it to Life - Put your thoughts into words, your words into pictures, and your pictures into prototypes. When people can see your idea, they’re less likely to forget it and much more likely to take it seriously and become involved in its development and bullet-proofing. Even a bad drawing is better than no drawing.
Happy New Year! We are all saying and receiving that greeting, a lot, these days. As it fades into the background amidst the noise of the work that awaits us, at Orbital Socket we are reminded of some key fundamentals that will help it indeed be a happy new year. We call them the "Three C Essentials" for a happy new year.
As we execute our plans to continue to help world-class companies win in the modern marketplace, we are reminded of these fundamentals that help keep us focused and inspired. It involves calibrating ourselves and our teams for impact as we help our partners see what’s possible. It is incumbent upon us to be very clear about what is working in the marketplace today and what our over 25-years of working with world-class, game-changing brands has taught us. Wisdom.
So, our simple but effective prescription for a prosperous new year calibrated for success is about Clarity, Conviction and Courage.
The Three C Essentials
Clarity – It is essential that we have a clear vision about why we do, what we do. We must pause for a moment to either remind ourselves of our vision or discover our vision; our reason for being. It is also critical to note, that before we can discover it for our teams, our company and our partners, that this must become a personal realization. Do I know why I do what I do? As we define or rediscover our “why” we become centered which helps us live our purpose and powers us to be more effective as we contribute to our team’s and our partner’s success.
Conviction – Now that I am clear on my “why,” the second step in calibrating for a new year is conviction. Conviction is about the quality of showing that one is firmly convinced of what one believes or says and the ensuing actions that result. If we have clarity, it is critical that we have conviction or actions that support and power our clarity. What am I doing that demonstrates my clarity? Based on what you stand for, how does that give energy to a platform that propels you forward? It is about being convinced that the plans you have made are right and allow them to fuel your platform. How do you show up? What are you communicating and what is the desired outcome?
Courage – Many dreams are being snuffed out simply because we lack the courage to pursue them. Three years ago my partner at Orbital Socket, who also happens to be my wife, and I set out to act on our convictions, with courage, that were based in our clarity that we could create a world-class marketing communications organization. An organization that would give an authentic opportunity for all people, especially people of color that have been by and large shunned from the advertising and marketing industry. It took us being clear about our purpose and putting action to plan with conviction, but it also took a lot of dag gum courage (in my Roy Williams, UNC Basketball coach voice). You got to be brave. With courage, you can stand when it gets hard and the doubt surfaces from both external and internal sources. The world is depending on you to succeed. SO, GO MAKE IT HAPPEN!
That’s it. Sweet and simple. I recommend at least a daily dose of the "Three C Essentials" for the first week and then a weekly dose for the remainder of the year. Monday’s preferably.
Oh, and Happy New Year!