How to dial up your creative thinking for campaigns that get noticed

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4 minutes read

Picture this scenario.

You’re at work (or in a Zoom meeting) and your boss asks you to think outside of the box and come up with fresh, innovative and creative ideas. This request makes you feel:

A. Queasy, sweaty-palmed and stressed

B. Overwhelmed – and stressed

C. Blank-minded – and stressed

If you answered stressed, you’re not alone. Even professional creatives feel the pressure to think creatively and bring new ideas to the table.

What is creative thinking?

Creative thinking is simply the ability to look at something in a different way or offer a different perspective on a problem. Lateral or out-of-the-box thinking can transform a tired humdrum concept into a viral marketing campaign or attention-seeking experiential event.

At Aruga, we’ve gift-wrapped a five-storey apartment block, turned a football stadium into a daffodil field, orchestrated a ‘design-off’ between high-profile interior decorators and prompted hundreds of sneaker fans to ‘Airdrop’ their way to free kicks.

However, as PR Campaigns Director Nat notes, these showstopping stunts and genius social media campaigns only make up a tiny five per cent of all campaigns. The majority of creative ideas pitched to clients will never land, due to a combination of reasons such as cost, execution, effort and the risk factor for some brands to try something new.

While creative stunts are great for generating commercial buzz and publicity to get brands noticed, it’s important to understand what the client wants to achieve and whether a viral marketing campaign will attain this ideal outcome.

Tips for thinking creatively

The good news is we can all improve our creative thinking skills and boost our ability to generate new and original approaches to problems with the right training, tools and mindset.

Here’s some of the things that get the Aruga team’s creative juices flowing:

Keep an open mind

Sometimes prior knowledge of a brand can be a hindrance to creative thinking, particularly if you’ve been working in-house for a while. If something has always been done the same way, be open to new and original approaches. Sometimes a different perspective from outside the company can refresh perceptions of the business and lead to new and exciting campaign ideas and executions.

More heads are better than one

Don’t go it alone. Tap into the collective know-how of your team to generate bold, new ideas. Brainstorming sessions, mood boards, mind mapping and storyboarding are all techniques employed by creative thinkers to uncover different solutions. In his book, The Right-Brain Workout, author Russel Howcraft states that the pillars of creative learning are collaboration, co-design and co-creation, so grab some extra brains for your storming.

Keep up with trends

Our savvy Creative Director Katie adheres to a regular diet of media, social feeds, industry news and research data – all before she starts her working day. Staying on top of what’s going on in the zeitgeist will keep you on your game and help with creative thinking and cutting-edge ideas.

Consume content

Creative types are always plugged into something; from podcasts on the daily commute and watching morning TV to binging Netflix and going to live performances. In short, don’t confine your content consumption to just one media outlet or social media platform. Be open to a wide range of content styles and gather recommendations from your most creative friends and colleagues.

Collect ideas

See a genius stunt or creative execution? Take note. As mentioned, ideas can come from unexpected sources. Some of the most memorable activations utilise existing technology or spaces in unusual ways. Havaianas has used vending machines for its rubber thongs, Monkey Shoulder employed a giant cocktail mixer truck to deliver free whisky cocktails to Sydneysiders and Airbnb invited guests to stay at the world’s last Blockbuster store.

Do something creative every day

Flex your creativity muscles by doing something that stimulates your right brain on the reg. Play is the perfect way to unlock your inner creativity – try new experiences, get out of your comfort zone and engage in different activities. Think of it as permission to be playful and open to new things. You never know where it might lead you.

Imagine that!

Stuck for big ideas, showstopping executions and Insta-worthy activations? For blue-sky thinking beyond your horizon, let Aruga’s creative thinkers transform the everyday into exemplary to get your company noticed for all the right reasons.