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.