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Fostering creativity in communication

Cre­ativ­i­ty is a fun­ny lit­tle friend that can show up when you least expect it and, on days when we feel in a rut, can be elu­sive and hard to come by. Work­ing in a cre­ative field doesn’t guar­an­tee a free flow of ideas at all times. We have to find it, fos­ter it and make room for it. And while there’s no for­mu­la for wel­com­ing in the mag­ic, the fol­low­ing are a few ways we’ve found at Bell­mont Part­ners to make room for cre­ative think­ing in dif­fer­ent set­tings and for dif­fer­ent projects.

Bring in a new per­spec­tive. We use this approach quite often at Bell­mont, both among our teams and our client teams, and it rarely fails us. There’s a time and a place for a core team to stay focused on a project, but when it comes to need­ing a lit­tle extra cre­ativ­i­ty, we also wel­come an oppor­tu­ni­ty to see from a new van­tage point. At our agency, we all wear dif­fer­ent hats every day, and the learn­ings we glean from one client or indus­try can infuse new think­ing into anoth­er. The same can be true across depart­ments in a cor­po­rate set­ting – from prod­uct devel­op­ment to cus­tomer ser­vice, sales, the C‑suite and beyond – we all bring unique insights, sub­ject mat­ter exper­tise or cus­tomer inter­ac­tions to the table that can bring those much-need­ed new per­spec­tives. Shuf­fling the deck and invit­ing new peo­ple to a meet­ing can be a great way to shake out new thinking.

Talk to real cus­tomers. We’ve all been guilty of being “too close” to a brand, prod­uct or ser­vice in a way that can hin­der clear and cre­ative think­ing about engag­ing with the intend­ed audi­ence. Get­ting on the phone with a cus­tomer or end user is one of the best ways to bet­ter under­stand their real­i­ty and revi­tal­ize strate­gic think­ing when it comes to mar­ket­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tion. We find that no mat­ter the rea­son for reach­ing out to a cus­tomer or user, we always leave these con­ver­sa­tions cre­ative­ly refreshed and feel clos­er to the heart of con­nect­ing a brand with its stakeholders.

Host a brain­storm. We love an all-team brain­storm at Bell­mont Part­ners, espe­cial­ly when we can sit in per­son around a table togeth­er. Our rules for brain­storms are that there are no bad ideas, and a “half-thought” is always worth shar­ing. We nev­er want to lim­it what peo­ple feel com­fort­able offer­ing up and we find that this free­dom and vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty in shar­ing ideas is what sparks more ideas and ulti­mate­ly the “storm” of cre­ativ­i­ty. They can be great venues to allow ideas to be thrown against the wall, before the strat­e­gy team can fig­ure out what might stick. And with appre­ci­a­tion for each other’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions styles, we do our best to give con­text to the brain­storm ahead of time, to give peo­ple who do their best think­ing on their own, time to prep and still contribute.

Employ the com­mu­ni­ca­tion tools you have. At Bell­mont Part­ners, Glip (Ring Cen­tral, but still affec­tion­ate­ly referred to us by its for­mer name) is one of our great­est allies. This inter­nal comms plat­form is used infor­mal­ly to stay up to date on each other’s sched­ules, news of the day, and more. And we also use it for “Glip­storms” — the more infor­mal ver­sion a brain­storm that allows for quick feed­back or ideas on a project, or even votes or likes on some exist­ing ideas. These work best when we have a sin­gle ques­tion or cre­ative input that’s need­ed, for exam­ple brain­storm­ing a name for an event or vot­ing on a tagline. The ben­e­fit of using a plat­form like this is that it allows for spon­ta­neous “gath­er­ing” for those who have time to add their two cents, and it’s a major perk that GIFs are a way to weigh in.

Make it a hap­py hour. Not every meet­ing is best for 4 p.m. on a Fri­day, but some­times gath­er­ing with a lit­tle bit of sug­ar or bub­bly when the day is wind­ing down can be a great way to tap brains when they are in a more relaxed or social mind­set. Beyond adding food or bev­er­age to the mix, a hap­py hour can lend itself bet­ter to a dif­fer­ent set­ting like a patio or porch which can inspire new think­ing in new set­tings. There are even times where we’ll take a brain­storm or meet­ing com­plete­ly off­site to real­ly get out of the every­day norms and let the cre­ativ­i­ty flow.

Refer back to the objec­tives. This one may seem duller in com­par­i­son, but there are times when we get far down the path of an ini­tia­tive, when it may serve us to take a step back and revis­it the objec­tives of a project or cam­paign to re-cen­ter our­selves around the goals. Para­me­ters can be our friend when think­ing cre­ative­ly, and one of the most del­i­cate things about man­ag­ing cre­ativ­i­ty also has to do with know­ing when to pull back, reign in, sim­pli­fy or focus. Hav­ing clear objec­tives and goals always serves us in our path towards cre­ative work.

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