WATCH THIS EPISODE OF MWAH TV ABOUT HOW TO BE MORE CREATIVE WITH BRANDING
Today I want to explore how to be more creative with branding.
How do you know if your latest idea is pants?
Or prize winning?
When you start thinking about it, this can be applied beyond branding and even beyond business too. Let’s figure out where you’re at with your creative ideas right now!
ARE YOU FILLED WITH DOUBT?
Building up your creativity is often filled with a lot of doubt when you are a business owner. It’s really easy to hit idea fatigue and fall into the trap of coming off as passe or as another business doing that tired brand trend you keep seeing when you’re scrolling away on your phone. Today I’m going to break down my own approach to keeping things fresh. So, by the end of this episode, you will know how to keep levelling up your creativity.
IMAGINE A DINNER PARTY
Thinking about the process of hosting a dinner party is a familiar set of activities that I always refer to when I talk about my own creative process.
When you imagine hosting a dinner party you know what’s involved.
DATE & TIMES
From agreeing on the date and the time.
Your guest list and if there is a special motive involved in why you are inviting this particular group of people to share a meal together. Maybe you’re trying to set up some single friends, or build up your professional network, or the strategy could simply be to affirm a friendship.
With all of this confirmed you’re then going to plan out your menu and go about making that menu into the food and drinks you’re serving on the night.
DECOR & SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
We have a clear-cut set of steps when it comes to cooking, dressing your table and timing when every course of the meal is served.
You might even plan some fun activities around the food and drinks to make the party a memorable success.
After the dinner party you’re then going to thank your guests for coming, and potentially set up a new date together.
HOW THIS TRANSFORMS INTO MY EXACT CREATIVE PROCESS
This is the same way I approach how I creatively direct any project I’m involved in. I even have this diagram to show you. <clicks fingers>
Here are all of the steps we just covered in hosting a dinner party. Let’s see how I compare each of them to my creative process.
All creative begins with an impetus, and this just means a motive. Something to set the creativity off. With a dinner party you might be strategically trying to get a certain group of people around the same table in a social setting like how I just explained.
We then move into a period of research. New ideas are explored, previous creative in the same area is explored. In today’s modern information age this is the stage where a lot of people get stuck with overwhelm or a lack of confidence about if the amount of information is enough. A lot of people procrastinate and then stop or simply give up at this stage.
When you’re a little more practiced at professional creative you learn that there is a precious phase that I like to call crystallisation. I often go into an intense phase of research then I stop and move onto a whole new project or set of tasks, or I’ll shut down from work and do something in my life.
A Creative Professional knows that creating this space this pause is when we allow our brain to figure it out subconsciously. I’ll often be doing something socially in my own time and the bit that clicks all of my research together on a creative project will suddenly pop into my head.
This happens for a lot of people in the bath or in the shower and sometimes in their dreams.
Mixology is my favourite part of the whole creative process. I am obsessed with opposites – there’s a whole other story about this for another day, but what I mean by this is actively finding ways to break the idea. Throwing in a really strange ingredient or putting together in a slightly different way. This is where true creativity happens for me.
And let’s face it, the time we live in now….
There is a really really strong chance that your original idea has probably already been done. It’s your responsibility as a creative to put the idea in a new frame or context to make it original.
GETTING SIGN OFF
Sign off could be entering into a sales scenario and this is one of the crucial phases that nobody talks a lot about because you have to apply a lot of sales skills into it and most creatives HATE sales and the idea of selling.
If you’re not making money from your creative this is one of the first stages I tell people to pay close attention to.
Execution is just that. The delivery, the show, the doing of it all.
If you rush into this phase without going through the phases, we have already looked at today then there is a really strong chance it will be a rushed job filled with mistakes.
Mistakes that could have been easily avoided if you had planned your time better in advance.
Finalisation is a common one that a lot of people miss or just don’t bother with.
It’s true, a really good level of execution is often quite exhausting.
But without finalisation where you can measure the success of your creativity and sell more as a creative professional, you’ll quickly get just as tired from trying to find new clients over and over again.
LEVELLING UP YOUR IDEAS
So many people are downright lazy when they approach idea generation. A great indicator or Red Flag of this for me is when I hear someone saying “Hang on a minute…. I just had a great idea”.
If it’s in the moment and it feels like a brain wave that idea you had might indeed be great, but it’s flimsy and is small like a fragile baby seedling.
CAN YOU BREAK YOUR IDEA?
Adding in some simple rigour tests into how you work with your ideas is one of the parts of honing prizewinning ideas that people avoid because it feels like too much hard work.
Actively exploring if your idea was already done, or if actually your idea comes from a memory or association with something that has been done or is around you in different media is often regarded as “poking holes in the idea” or “being too negative about the idea”.
Actively increasing your awareness about where your idea really comes from sets you up with so much more critical insight that you can use to make sure your idea grows into something bigger and more robust, and even with your own unique original flourish on tip of it.
This can feel a little bit scary at first, but I promise you when you get used to running ideas through this exercise it becomes really exciting, almost addictive. I show you exactly how you do this in my How To Sex Up Your Creativity Playbook.
HOW TO SEX UP YOUR CREATIVITY
Get to work on your creativity with each of these steps broken down into a fun playbook that you can use over and over on all of your Creative pursuits and projects.
Just like how we keep recipes for amazing dinners and cocktails in books in our homes,
and on pinterest,
and on a random note,
or written on the back of an old envelope…
Take a prompt from me today to begin getting serious about the way you store your ideas.
Find something that is just right for you. Storing ideas in a way that suits your brain often needs some practice and willingness to try different methods.
You might love writing in a physical notebook,
You might have a spreadsheet,
or prefer a clever app.
Find something that works well for you and then make sure you have time set aside to go back through this list and turn the baby seedling ideas into real tangible projects with the right amount of time given to each step of the process we have explored together today.
When it comes to having confidence in your idea, I always like to reply to any questions about this by going back to the research phase.
Are you lacking confidence here, or, are you avoiding doing the research work?
If you really have done the research then you will know with confidence that your idea is original. You will know what came before your idea and where it went well (or where it failed). You will have worked out how you are going to make it unique to you.
If you are feeling imposter syndrome where you know that your idea really is amazing and well researched, but you feel intense doubt about your own abilities in executing it then I’d look you deep in the eye and say “Let’s Dr Pepper it!”
What’s the worst that can happen?
And together we’d list out all the silly disasters that we can think of, that could happen.
Then we would systematically work out how we would resolve each of these unlikely eventualities. As someone who has had anxiety for the majority of her life, please trust me when I tell you that this process really helps you to climb down of the ceiling with panic and put yourself into a frame of mind where you feel ready to give it your best shot.
I’ve got some fun facts about really stellar creative execution for you:
It took the Rolling Stones 2 and a half years to create Exile on Main Street. They wrote and recorded this album when in exile from 1969 to 1971. By 1972 this album was released.
2 and a half years to get 67 minutes and 7 seconds.
This album had immediate worldwide success in 1972 and is still highly ranked with regular high accolades.
IN INTERIOR DESIGN
It took Michelangelo and his team 4 years to paint the Sistine chapel, it famously permanently damaged his eyesight. 509 years later it’s still there and is regarded by thousands of daily visitors from all over the world.
Martha Graham devised 18 mini ballets to hone her revolutionary form of Modern Dance over 3 years.
Her career in dance spanned 70 years. It was formative in developing the talents of many important dancers, pop stars and actors of our time.
IN YOUR MOUTH
Heinz Ketchup evolved over 31 years of creation from a locally produced Catsup into an international manufacturer of the still famously loved sauce that we know today.
It takes about 5000 silkworms to make a pure silk kimono. Add in this hard work of the worms to the people who boil, spin, dye and print.
Then add on the time of the people who use this fabric to sew. Creating your favourite silk kimono.
You can see how long this creative execution process is.
All for your long-lasting comfort and fashionable glamour.
It took Ernest Beaux several months to come up with 20 different executions of the classic Chanel Fragrance. He presented all 20 bottles to Coco Chanel who picked Number 5, and the rest was history.
So, you see really great historical creative execution can be a very long phase in the process. But all of these events include a lot of preparation. Don’t get upset if you need to revise your creative execution over and over.
The greats did it, and so can you!
BRINGING IT ALL BACK TO BRANDING
So you see, when you explore all creativity as a discipline, you get a much better understanding of the practices involved. With this, you can see how the creative results following branding can become infinitely better and more creative.
I think we generalise all creativity as the exact opposite of logical method. When you scratch the surface and build up your knowledge about the industry of creative, you quickly develop a deeper understanding of the processes that go into it.
For me, branding is that beautiful mid-way point. We’ve been exploring on the show recently the finer points that go into the very logical side of brand strategy. Today we explored refining our ideas. We now find ourselves in a great position to get to grips with how logic fuses with creativity.
You need both of these things in the right measures to ensure that your brand is perceived as creative and compelling, by the people you want to engage with your business experience.
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