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Are you struggling to find a new twist for your advertising or marketing campaigns? Tired of sounding like everyone else and want something new and fresh? Never fear. Here are 3 ways to get those creative juices (and new ideas) flowing.
But before I get to those, there are a few things you should do to prime the pump, so to speak. What this does is clear your “conscious” mind so your muse will have an easier time sending messages to it.
First, review all the information about your product or service. Then, write down all the benefits (why customers would buy those products or services).
Now write down all the concepts you have used before or you’ve seen other people use before. This is an important step. You need to move the old stuff out of the way to make room for the new. Writing those concepts down helps do this.
Okay, now you’re ready to start generating some fresh ideas.
1. Take another look at testimonials. Testimonials are always great selling tools, but that’s not why I want you to do this. Customers may come up with a key benefit you never thought about before, and that may become the foundation for a new campaign. Scour every testimonial you can get your hands on and see if you can find something new. You might want to even try calling a few customers for quick interviews. (Don’t have testimonials? Now might be a good time to solicit some.)
2. Study other ads. Flip through a magazine or turn on the television — except this time focus on the ads and not the content. (I know, I know, this is counter to what you usually do.) Which ads do you like? Why do you like them? Are those ads doing something you can modify for your own campaign?
The key word is modify, not copy. I don’t want anyone committing copyright infringement. What I’m talking about is using an existing ad to jump-start your own ideas. Maybe you really like the use of an evocative photo with a single caption. Or the use of repetition in Mastercard’s “Priceless” campaign. Or the idea of turning the “money can’t buy everything” on its head (which is essence of that campaign). Can you use that concept in your campaign?
Another resource for great ads is Communication Arts Magazine. Each issue showcases some of the most creative and beautiful ads found anywhere.
3. Check out what a completely different industry is doing. For instance, let’s say you sell software products to computer professionals. Techy market, right? So, pick up a yoga magazine. See how that industry communicates with its audience. Now try selling your product using the same language and concepts. Take it a step further and brainstorm ways your software product is similar to doing yoga.
Why this works: One definition of creativity is taking two everyday ideas and combing them so they become something original.
This is a very powerful way to jolt your own thinking and start your muse down a completely different path, one you might never have discovered before.
A variation on this idea is to force a connection with a random object rather than an entire industry. You ask yourself, how is your software program similar to a stuffed dog? Write down everything you can think of, no matter how silly or foolish. Sometimes the foolish ideas are the ones that lead to the great ones.
A final note: If at all possible, don’t rush this process. Give your muse some time to ponder and play with these techniques. I know it often seems like ideas pop out into your head out of thin air, but usually that only happens because you’ve given your muse the necessary tools and “incubation time” to make it happen.