Have you ever returned to work from vacation and found you had a new perspective or fresh, creative ideas for your communications program? What if you could find ways (albeit less relaxing ones) to capture that creative “vacation-fresh” energy all year long, without the time and expense of a cruise or spending a week away from work playing tourist in a foreign land?
Every now and again, it’s good to look at your communications program with fresh eyes. While that can be hard to do when you’re in the thick of things, it is possible to infuse your communications program with new energy without actually going on vacation. The trick: spend less time wracking your own brain, and more time leveraging the creative ideas that might be right in front of you.
Start by mining your everyday life for new ideas and inspiration. For instance, if you’re looking to freshen up your employee communications, maybe there’s a TV ad concept that could inspire your next executive video. Maybe your personal e-mail box or the contents of your “snail mail” spark a brainstorm for your next direct mail campaign, or the current Starbucks promotion could give you a new marketing communications idea. Without infringing on copyright protection, there are plenty of ways to re-purpose ideas you see every day and apply them to your own business.
Observing other companies, both within and outside of your own industry, is another potential source of creative inspiration. Join professional associations, attend conferences or participate in online communities. Follow companies you admire, as well as competitors, online and keep tabs on anything you can learn about their communications strategies. No communications solution is one size fits all, but there can be tremendous value in creatively applying another firm’s solution to your own challenge.
Keeping your communications program fresh also requires direct input from creative minds other than your own. Consider formally (through focus groups and surveys) or informally soliciting input from colleagues within and outside of your department. Be sure to include in your outreach colleagues who have backgrounds and mindsets very different from your own. For example, Millennials are digital natives who could provide invaluable input about how your company might apply social media strategies in ways you may not have considered.
Finally, another way to ensure a steady stream of fresh ideas is to hire with an eye toward creativity, whether it’s a matter of hiring an internal team member or an external agency, consultant or contractor. Learn to value creativity as a trait in a potential hire or business partner, just as much as you value writing ability or project management skills, and you’ll add a fresh perspective to your team.
If all else fails…take a vacation! Whether it’s a long-weekend staycation or an actual trip, a change of routine or scenery can sometimes be just what you need to reboot your brain and bring your best, most creative self back to the office.
Author: Kate Tomasco