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A NEW REPORT FEATURING EXPERTS IN THEIR OWN WORDS Creativity in the PR Workspace
INTRODUCTION Creativity is the element that separates good public relations campaigns from the extraordinary. As public relations professionals, our clients constantly turn to us to generate new, breakthrough ideas that standout from the crowd and allow the brand to extend into and explore new territory. A blend of art and science, the seasoned professional must know how to turn on their creative energy at a moment’s notice. We asked members of Access Communications who are known for their creative abilities to share some insight into what they do when they need to spark creativity for themselves and their colleagues throughout the day. On the following pages, you’ll find methods that may be helpful for when you need to tap into your creative potential.
“Be aware, be very aware. That’s the best way to spark creativity. You first need to be aware of yourself – and be true to that self. Know and love what makes you tick, laugh, cry. Understand what motivates you, scares you. Know your pet peeves, words you love, those that make you cringe, foods you crave. These make up you and allow you to express your best self. You encourage that in others, MATT AFFLIXIO PRESIDENT, CREATIVE DIRECTOR get them to share their experiences, and you’ve sparked creativity – and most likely a chain reaction of conversation and idea generation.” ACCESS COMMUNICATIONS MAFFLIXIO@ACCESSPR.COM “The best example to kick start any creative conversation – start by sharing a guilty pleasure.”
“I browse through the publications we have in our library to check out the different ads being placed, and walk around 5th Avenue to get inspiration from the window dressing, their stores and the fashions they have on display. I like to draw inspiration from unexpected places and stay aware of the larger world outside of the strictly design industry – art, fashion, food, culture, which allows me to have a KEITH HART ART DIRECTOR bank of ideas for creative projects. Knowing both culture and the design – being open to what else is out there in the world and taking what you can and using it to your best advantage – redesigning it, recreating it or using it as a jumping point for something completely new.” ACCESS COMMUNICATIONS KHART@ACCESSPR.COM
“When I’m coming up with creative ideas I usually end up sitting in my office with a coworker and then awkwardly speed dialing a friend, parent, or long lost cousin and barraging them with a series of rapid fire questions that may or may not be related to the idea we are working on. This highly refined process CORI BARRETT SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT help me anchor down the whirlwind of ideas I have speeding through my head and it always makes me laugh - which helps. Also, I make sure to put on my hoodie. It’s magical. I do good in my hood.” ACCESS COMMUNICATIONS CBARRETT@ACCESSPR.COM
“I typically start by exploring things online and off that are new, different and inspiring. Rather than look at what a direct competitor has done recently, I’m more interested in new or emerging trends in the way ideas are communicated and shared. From there, I like to get outside and get the blood flowing. Sometimes it’s a walk to a nearby park for TREVOR JONAS VICE PRESIDENT OF DIGITAL STRATEGY a team brainstorm, but more often it’s a solo run or bike ride to clear the mind. I’ve found I’m at my creative best when my body and mind are focused on something other than “brainstorming” the perfect concept.” ACCESS COMMUNICATIONS TJONAS@ACCESSPR.COM
“Inspiration is everywhere. Be curious about the world and devour everything that interests you – comic books, films, plays, photographs, poems, clouds, strangers, lectures, broken objects, secret conversations. Everything you know and every experience you’ve had gives you a unique point of view that no one else on earth has. Use that to make new connections between thoughts and ideas, and don’t be afraid to follow where it leads you. I find asking ‘why’ is a good place to start any sort of creative thinking. Why does this exist? Why is this important? Why is this dumb? Why do I care? Why would anyone else care? This should lead you to an insight – a hidden truth about human behavior – that can then be explored through your creative perspective.” DAVID GARCIA CONTENT SPECIALIST ACCESS COMMUNICATIONS DGARCIA@ACCESSPR.COM
“I like to talk to other people and listen to what they love doing on their accounts and in their lives. Often just by listening to the people around you, you can find a speck of an idea you can build off of or repurpose for your own clients. I also like reading Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People list to see what they do on a daily basis and learn about what inspires them. Something as simple as that can spark creativity for me. On a day-to-day basis I tend to stay active and am always moving around. Whether I’m drawing on my white board, playing around with Legos or tossing around a tennis ball, constant movement helps me find that little snowball of an idea that can build into more.” Sparking creativity among others starts with building trust. You get a lot of diverse ideas once the people around you feel comfortable sharing ideas without fear of being criticized.” LINDSAY CAMPBELL ACCOUNT DIRECTOR ACCESS COMMUNICATIONS LCAMPBELL@ACCESSPR.COM
“I take A LOT of screen shots on my phone from various people’s Instagram handles, articles I read, cool things that I see in my life and I think of ways that I could relate them to brands I work on. I also do a lot of googling to see what’s trending, and what ASHLEY BARRETT ACCOUNT DIRECTOR is super visual/inspiring. My process is basically the most backwards and non-tech savvy way you can do a Pinterest board.” ACCESS COMMUNICATIONS ABARRETT@ACCESSPR.COM
“Identifying problems and understanding the objective inspires creativity in me. I know it sounds methodical, but some of my more creative ideas have come from solving problems. That being said, I find laughter tends to be my main objective most of the time and I strive to get there through collaboration (aka watching YouTube videos in CARINA UEHARA ACCOUNT SUPERVISOR someone’s office), visual storytelling (aka doodling on my whiteboard), or verbal storytelling (aka pitching people my ideas) and getting as much feedback as possible.” ACCESS COMMUNICATIONS CUEHARA@ACCESSPR.COM
“Surrounding myself with artists, musicians and inspirational people is essential to keeping myself clear and focused. I find I reach maximum creative potential when I am plugged into a group of people that are on the same level of energy and excitement about an idea or project. Allowing myself to trust and be trusted, going in with no expectations and essentially opening myself up to having no boundaries in a creative sense. When i do happen to lose focus or reach a creative road block I gravitate towards the art i have hanging on my walls and around my space. I really love old schematics, diagrams and informational design so i find myself going through my collection of old maps, safety manuals, math & science text books that i’ve gathered through the years. Or, I’ll DJ music for a hour or so just to break the pattern and recenter myself.” CAROLYN SMITH SENIOR DESIGNER ACCESS COMMUNICATIONS CSMITH@ACCESSPR.COM
ABOUT ACCESS We are a communications agency obsessed with our clients’ success. Good enough simply isn’t good enough for us. We create connections that count, turning brands’ audiences into activists and stakeholders into strategic partners. We are clever storytellers who help companies find their voice and make it heard. We knock the norm with every aspect of communications, creating custom-designed campaigns that impact and inspire. For more than 20 years we’ve built trusted partnerships with companies who seek to stand apart — from global brand names to emerging growth companies and start-ups. WWW.ACCESSPR.COM