If your job requires you to think creatively, for example if you are working in advertising or sales, the chances are that there will be times when you feel stuck – the ideas aren’t flowing as they should be. It happens to all of us. Here are some techniques - tricks of the trade - to get your creative juices flowing again:
Determine the logical conclusion
Consider changing your original focus: if you are trying to sell a car that is more fuel-efficient than other similar cars, change your proposition to the fact that it will save the customer money (the benefit of fuel-efficiency). Then think about the opportunities that having more money will open up for the customer – for example, the chance to buy ‘optional extras’ they might not have otherwise considered.
Turn a negative into a positive
For example, if you are selling a sports car, how could it be the most expensive sports car on the road and still be a benefit? The Stella Artois’ advertising campaign was hugely successful in making high price an attractive benefit. This exercise is a good one to practice because it will provoke you to think differently.
Ask yourself: “What doesn’t the product do?”
Who would find no benefit from the product – no use for it? What doesn’t your product do? Again this exercise will help you think differently – which is the point of creative thinking.
What metaphors or similes could you use to describe the product?
What metaphors could you use to describe your product? A metaphor is a figure of speech in which two dissimilar things are compared in order to highlight their similarities. Is your product a delicate, fluttering butterfly? A glittering jewel? Is it a spice; an electrifying array of textures and tastes? Is it a Harley Davidson? Metaphors aid creativity by giving you a fresh and interesting way of looking at the thing you are describing.
How does your product compare with other similar products?
If your product has distinctive features and benefits, which are better than others, one way to be creative is to demonstrate the superiority of your product in a surprising way. Although this isn’t a particularly revolutionary technique, it’s one that can work very well. An example of a company that used humorous comparisons successfully is Blendtec, with its “Will it blend” campaign. You can watch the video here:
Turn the positive aspects into ‘negatives’
How could you present the positive aspects of your proposition into negatives? For example, what is the downside of your award-winning video game? Could relationships suffer as a result? What’s the downside of your wonderful prices? Again, an exercise such as this will help your creative juices flow.
Embrace the problem your product solves
What problem does your product solve? Perhaps your product enables people to freely indulge in the problem - a good example of a brand that did this successfully is Persil, with its “dirt is good” campaign; dirt is fun if you’re a seven-year-old, Persil will do all the hard work. This technique could be applied to a range of areas, particularly those where the ‘problem’ is one that people would ideally like to enjoy more.
Some are born creative; others have to work at it. I hope these techniques provoke you to think differently so you can find new and surprising ways to move forward whenever you feel ‘stuck’ working on a proposition. Good luck!