Every marketer faces a creativity block at some point in their career. But, how do they overcome it?
People spend hours reading articles online and going through endless social media feeds, trying to find some source of inspiration without realizing that sometimes, to truly unlock our creativity as marketers, what we need is exactly the opposite: a break.
Here are a few ideas of what marketers can do when in need of a creativity boost.
Commit to creating space for new brain connections
Creativity is all about new brain connections. Assuming creativity is something we can chase is wrong. Rather, we can find the space to allow it to occur.
“Creativity is truly just curious problem solving. It’s about getting curious enough about something that we put ourselves in the conditions of being able to make different connections in our brains, in order to create something that had never been created before.” – Courtney Smith Kramer – Co-founder, H2H Companies
Maybe we need to take a walk, maybe a whole road-trip. Some people enjoy taking showers while others will try meditation. Often, our biggest block is not that we lack creativity, it is that so much is going on with our lives that we do not have the headspace to create something new.
The goal is to create this space and find perspective. Albert Einstein himself said: “I am not really smart, I just sit with problems longer.” The guy knew what he was talking about.
And what about our egos?
Thinking that we can have the answers to everything is one of the greatest enemies of creativity. In Smith Kramer’s words, “Ego is a creativity killer.” Ego is good when it comes to decision making because it helps us choose what we believe will put us closer to our goals. When it comes down to creativity, there is a different story.
But what is ego, really? There are many definitions, but since we are talking about creativity and we do not want to debate whether Freud was right or wrong, we can simply define ego as an exaggerated and unhealthy belief that our way is the right and only way.
The best way to put ego aside is to be open to vulnerability, to consider and cultivate the belief that we don’t know everything. Putting our own beliefs aside will open up space for us to look at challenges through a different lens.
It is the unwillingness to be vulnerable that makes it hard for people to tap into their creativity. Being vulnerable takes courage. But once we are able to admit that we can be wrong and that it is okay, things will start unraveling. Fear of being wrong will fade and ideas will start to flow.
Finally, it’s okay to seek inspiration from others
One single person cannot live the full extent of human experiences and learning opportunities on their own. This is why learning from others’ experiences is the best path to self-improvement.
How have others overcome challenges similar to mine? How can I learn from them to solve my unique challenges?
For example, take Brinker International, the owner of Chilli’s and Maggiano’s restaurants. In the middle of the pandemic, they found a creative way to overcome revenue challenges by launching an online-only chicken wings brand: It’s Just Wings. Utilizing Chili’s and Maggiano’s kitchens and an app-based delivery service, the company managed to grow sales while their competition reported sales drops of nearly 40%.
Ingenuity and creativity often come in the same package.