The creative process can be agony for business people. Here’s how you can enjoy what can be an uncomfortable time. And maybe develop something of a massive miracle.
Photo credit: Ryan McGuire | Gratisography.com
We understand when you’re not comfortable with the creative process.
In the creative process, creativity and business come together. And it’s a strange union.
Business has a place for everything and everything in its place. Business is about prices and items and timetables and deadlines. It’s about the sure thing. It’s time to work because it’s Monday at 8 a.m.
Creativity is about intuition and metaphor. It’s about neat things looking for a home — it remembers that the capital “Y” of a particular typeface looks like a palm tree and that “U-S-A” is in the middle of “Jerusalem”. It takes risks. It wants to work when it darn well feels like it — like 11:19 on a Saturday night.
Creativity likes complexity. Business tries to simplify. Or, as Henry Ford said, the Model T could come in any color — as long as it were black.
But creativity and business both need to solve problems.
For his lightning-fast assembly line, Henry Ford liked black for the Model T, not because he was a Goth, but because it solved a problem — black paint dried the fastest. And the best creative work solves problems, too. Problems like getting remembered. Problems like changing public opinion. And problems like talking to a new generation of customers without leaving the old ones behind.
I once went to brainstorm with a bunch of much younger creatives from another agency. These guys fell all over themselves presenting wacky solutions to the problem. But being creative isn’t about coming up with wacky solutions, unless the wacky solution solves the problem. And there is the core truth to this post: Defining the problem is the first step to coming up with the right creative solution.
How to not waste money using the creative process
Give us a problem
Not giving creatives a problem to solve is like removing the tracks from underneath a train. As a result, now the train is free to go … nowhere.
Giving creatives a problem to solve makes evaluation easier. It’s not about whether you like the solution. It doesn’t matter whether we like the solution. It about whether the solution solves the problem. This takes everyone out of the equation except the person who really counts: Your customer.
Get comfortable saying “Yes”
The creative process will lead to innovation, and innovation can be scary.
But innovation isn’t just “nice to have”.
Innovation is necessary for success! As Jason Hiner notes at TechRepublic.com, “If you’re standing still, you’re going backward.”
All kinds of things can derail your best intentions to innovate:
- Modern culture considers you smart if you have a problem with things. When you see a new idea asking yourself, “What’s wrong with this?” could kill a great idea. Instead, as Dr. Phil says, “Love every idea for 15 minutes.”
- Big committees kill. The bigger the committee, the bigger the minefield an idea has to travel.
- Innovation takes courage. That’s why Hollywood continues to delight us with sequels like The Hangover Part III. It’s easier on the nerves to do the same old, same old.
Realize that the creative process can often be last-minute
It’s the nature of creative work to keep searching for the big idea — and even after hours of searching and thinking and writing, creatives are convinced that the next idea will be the big idea.
So when you see your creative team hustling to present its ideas to you, it’s not a sign that they’ve wasted their time and your money. It’s really a confirmation that they’ve been working really hard on getting ideas, and delayed their commitment until the last possible moment.
One study shows that procrastinators’ ideas are likely to be rated as more creative than those of us who like to get things done with days to spare. Could it be that creative people are intuiting something that you aren’t?
The creative process laughs at your timetable
There’s the story of a workshop for managers of creative people. It bothered these managers that they were receiving work from their creative staffers at the very last minute.
The managers were given the task of writing a poem and given one hour to do it.
It’s simple enough, right? Put down some words and you’re done. But as the time grew short, they realized it wasn’t that simple. And most poems were handed in with seconds to spare.
At Pitchgreen, clients sometimes say no when we present ideas. That’s perfectly okay — in fact, we build it into our contracts. We don’t think you’re a bad person, or not creative, or a control freak if you don’t like our concepts. We recognize that sometimes you have to go through “no” to get to “yes”. It’s crazy to imagine that we’re going to come up with a great answer every time.
Could you benefit from our creative process? Contact us for a free 30-minute chat about your project.
This is the last part of Pitchgreen’s 10-part Marketing Course. Thanks for being with us this far. We look forward to being an inspirational growth resource.
We’ll keep in touch in the weeks ahead with new posts to help you take your enterprise where you want it to go.