Editor’s note: I started following Deanna on Twitter after she moderated a Help a PR Pro Out chat, and continue to be impressed by her PR smarts and fun, online persona. I recently named her to my top PR and marketing women to follow on Twitter list, and invited her to share some of her great insights here on my blog.
The other night, I was watching Bravo’s The Rachel Zoe Project. She was at Paris Fashion Week, and you could just tell she was in her element.
At one point during lunch with her husband, Rodger, she said to him that, no matter what, she has to keep coming back to Paris since it inspires her so much, especially now that she’s made the leap to designer. Like her or hate her, Rachel is one hard-working woman who knows what she’s doing.
And she has a point.
She knows what inspires her and sparks her creativity, so she needs to keep it in her life to keep creating fresh and on-trend designs and styling clients “majorly.”
In any career where you need to be creative, keeping those juices flowing can sometimes be tough. We want game-changing, out-of-the-box ideas, but with so many pieces of content being shared by the second through traditional and digital channels, it can be tough to stand out and be unique. From a simple Facebook status update to a full-fledged campaign, PR pros need to be more creative than ever to keep their clients on top. Let’s explore six news ways to spark creativity for your next task.
Change your work scenery.
Sometimes, all it takes is a change of scenery for things to click. If you’re stuck on a writing assignment, why not move your party of one to a nearby coffee shop or other place that has wifi access? (Caffeine helps, too!) If your job isn’t quite so liberal in your surroundings, move to a couch, an open conference room, even another coworker’s desk (who may be out of the office that day) for a change of pace. Maybe if you see something new (a different window to look out of or a pretty vase of flowers), you’ll think of new, inventive ideas.
Step away from the electronic device.
Today’s PR pros are attached to their laptops, phones and tablets just about 24/7. We’re all guilty of it. With all that’s available on the Internet, there’s a plethora of information we have access to that can help us get creative, so it’s no wonder we love these devices. But then there’s that other device we have 24/7 access to — our brains! Before you stop and Google something, close your screen and think about it first. It’s amazing what you can think of if you don’t rely on the interwebz. Oh, and I cannot tell you how many brilliant ideas I’ve had after a yoga class or during a shower. It’s true – some of my best ideas come in the shower. Weird, yes, but effective. So close your device and open up your mind.
See what other brands are doing, especially in other industries.
I get lots of inspirations from different brands when it comes to social media. I just love Kate Spade, Chobani, lululemon, Starbucks, Redbull… the list goes on. This can be helpful, but another idea is to step out of the “mainstream” box, and move to other industries.
Work on the consumer side? When’s the last time you checked out what a B2B brand is doing to generate buzz? And vice versa. If you work on X, see what Y is doing.
One current example of creativity at its finest, in my opinion, is American Eagle’s “Skinny Skinny Jeans.” Not on April Fool’s Day like so many brands will be, and making lots of people talk. Love it! So find inspiration, but just remember, “you will never influence the world by trying to be like it.” So get inspired, than make it your own.
Go on an adventure.
Rachel Zoe went all the way to Paris to find inspiration and spark creativity. All of us can’t be so lucky (or talk to our bestie Marc Jacobs), so the next best thing is to go on an adventure of your own. Maybe a weekend getaway to explore a new city, or just a Saturday afternoon in a part of your own city.
Set up camp at a local brunch spot by the window and sip bottomless mimosas and people watch, writing down whatever comes to mind in a little notebook. Or check out a new shop, museum or art gallery. Whatever it is, just make sure it sparks your imagination, and you can capture your thoughts. You’ll never know what you may come up with.
Visit new blogs and websites.
Just like my suggestion of checking out what other industries are doing in the PR and social media space, another is to visit new blogs and websites online. I am a sucker for fashion, healthy living and lifestyle blogs, among my trusted PR, social and business blogs and websites. But perhaps I can venture out of my favorites to something new.
I’ve never checked out the “architecture” category on Pinterest, so that can be a new place to go. Or even a science website. Whatever the case, if you don’t visit a website for personal reasons, or if your clients aren’t in that category, a good idea is to check out new things and see where you end up. A good place to start is stumbleupon for new recommendations.
Get fresh air.
This is an easy one, but one often neglected. Fresh air and Vitamin D from the sunshine (when it’s a sunny day), can work wonders for our minds, bodies and souls. You don’t need to go on a 10-mile run, either. Just walk outside for five minutes. Walk around your house or building. Take a deep breath. Do a little stretch. Implement a ready-set-pause a la Amy Jo Martin. It’s good for us to get away from meetings, emails, screens and never-ending to-dos, even for just a few moments.
I hope I sparked a few ideas for you to get out there and try something new so you can come away refreshed and with great new ideas. Being creative isn’t easy, so when you are on a roll – go with it! Oh, and if all else fails, go to happy hour.
Deanna Ferrari is a Pittsburgh-based PR and social media professional. Her experience lies in the agency world where she’s worked on consumer and B2B clients ranging from small, local companies to large, national brands. When she’s not tweeting or blogging at PRetty in Pittsburgh, you can find Deanna involved in local organizations, running marathons, doing yoga, hanging with friends at happy hour, or planning her upcoming wedding. Follow her on Twitter at @dferrari.