If you're involved in any kind of creative profession, you know that it takes a lot to build a winning idea from scratch. We go through the motions of brainstorming, collaborating, revising, presenting, tearing down and building up again. It's mentally exhausting, and the result of that exhaustion can cause our work to suffer, or even worse: it can cause us to fall back on what we know. It can cause us to settle, blend in and get by with the ol’ tried-and-true.
The mentality during the creative process should be that of a mad scientist, not merely an employee or hobbyist. Particularly in marketing, the only ideas that truly cause disruption in a marketplace are those that take someone off guard, even if just for a second or in the smallest hesitation to look away.
The mad scientist doesn’t work for work’s sake. She doesn’t think in terms of what “can’t” work. She spends her days and nights tirelessly to find breakthroughs in her field. She tries and tries and tries and tries. And she fails, but when she’s not trying or failing, she’s hitting home runs. She’s making something insanely cool that people talk about.
Oftentimes marketers get caught up in the challenges of a project - brand requirements, industry restrictions, client preference, rushed timeline, low budget - and can miss out on the beautiful spontaneity that can occur in those wild moments between rational thoughts. We have to push harder than the next guy or gal if we want to break through. We can do mediocre work (and there are times when “just getting it done” is necessary) or we can do better work.
If you were building something that would truly change the way people thought about you, would you rely on what has worked in the past? The key word here is “change.” Would you gather materials from the old perception of you and share them with the same people hoping they will care this time around for some reason? Or would you swing for the fences in hopes of startling them out of their routine?
I challenge you to go back into your lab, whatever field you’re in, and try out those new, weird, unknown ideas. Push through until you come up with something that you truly get a kick out of if you weren’t...you. You can’t change perception if you’re trying to blend in, so why are so many of us hitting the snooze button on this?
Toucan is a New Orleans-based advertising firm.