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Come Fly With Me

Come Fly With Me

A recent brainstorm with some of my colleagues got me thinking about creativity, and more specifically the creative process. Here at ABI, particularly when we are putting together a proposal for a new client or developing a campaign for existing clients, we'll get a team together to generate initial ideas and begin to build a strategy that meets their needs – the final result or idea we present may be very different to the concepts or thoughts we come up with in that first discussion, but I firmly believe that you would never have one without the other.

A recent brainstorm with some of my colleagues got me thinking about creativity, and more specifically the creative process. Here at ABI, particularly when we are putting together a proposal for a new client or developing a campaign for existing clients, we’ll get a team together to generate initial ideas and begin to build a strategy that meets their needs – the final result or idea we present may be very different to the concepts or thoughts we come up with in that first discussion, but I firmly believe that you would never have one without the other.

When I first started in PR and marketing, I remember brainstorms as one of the most terrifying aspects of the job – I was nervous to say something “silly” or “impractical”, and, of course, was still learning about the tools of this dynamic trade…so I tended to say very little. Very quickly I discovered that the best brainstorms take place between groups of people that aren’t afraid to speak up – no matter how kooky, out-there or different the ideas they share sound. If you think about it, what’s the worst that could happen?  Often the response is “not quite, but you have hit on one point that’s really interesting” and from there your idea takes shape in the direction best suited to the objectives of the business you’re working with at the time.

To shape a really strong, impactful campaign within the B2B sector, whether it’s a 2 month launch for a new product or a year-long programme of public relations and marketing activity, you need a number of things: an understanding of your client’s objectives and business aims, knowledge of the industry they operate it in, and an expert team of people that will work closely with you to achieve your aims. But equally as important, and sometimes ignored on the corporate and B2B side of communications, a debate I’ve read a lot about lately on industry hubs such as the Holmes Report (http://creativity.holmesreport.com/): you need creativity. 

Sometimes the old adage, “It’s not the destination but the journey” really does ring true. One method I have come across for getting a team to approach a campaign in a new way is “flying to the land of absurdity” – bear with me, it will make sense! The idea is simple: remove the constraints that we are usually held back by: remove budget considerations, any concern of people’s initial reactions, any thoughts of “Oh no, that client would never go with that idea”, remove corporate guidelines and any other elements that might impose restrictions before you have even started. And simply think: If I had unlimited budget, unlimited time, unlimited resources and a client with an open mind…what would I do? The results will range from the absurd, to the amusing, to the ridiculous. But more often than not, having spent ten minutes doing this at the start of the brainstorm, you will end up with one or two ideas that could be pared down and polished into something great that not only meets your client’s objectives, but wows them.

So pack your passport outside the box, load your luggage with original ideas, and jet off to the land of absurdity. You ever know what you might pick up in the crazy duty-free shop en route home. It may well be a better idea than if you’d never left the airport lounge in the first place.

Alexandra Harrod is a Manager at ABI marketing public relations.  You can reach her at +44 (0) 207 014 3317 and aharrod@abipr.com.

by Alexandra Harrod