“Do you want to be creative?”
Jay Acunzo, founder, host and writer of Unthinkable.fm, asked marketers this question as he kicked off his session Unthinkable: Content Creativity For The Hopelessly Uncreative at MarketingProf’s B2B Marketing Forum last week in Boston.
Acunzo acknowledged the question was a bit silly. It’s like asking if you want more time in your day or more resources for your team. The answer is always an unequivocal “yes.”
But while this may seem like a weird question to ask marketers, it actually gets to the heart of the creative struggle we all feel: Of course we want to be creative; creativity is necessary and intertwined with everything we do. But we often find ourselves aspiring to be more creative than actually harnessing what’s already inside us as creators.
Boom. Truth bomb dropped. And the truth barrage was just getting started.
Below I dive into some of the inspirational creativity truths that Acunzo brought into focus during his presentation. They certainly inspired new confidence in my own marketing abilities—and I hope they do the same for you.
#1 – Creativity isn’t an idea or aspiration; it’s a work ethic.
We often put creativity on a pedestal, wishing and hoping for just a small piece of it to come our way. But the truth is: Creativity isn’t something we’re given; it’s a work ethic.
Let’s stop thinking about creativity as something we’re always reaching for, and start believing that hard work and a strong work ethic will allow us to tap what is already inside us.
“Let’s get to work,” Acunzo encouraged. “Our jobs are not to be creative. Our jobs are to create.”
#2 – When you break away from the conventional, you can stop playing and start shaping.
We’ve all been told to color outside the lines, think outside the box or challenge the status quo. But fear, uncertainty or lack of confidence can prevent us from trying something new.
As Acunzo said: “Sometimes you have to zig when others zag.”
The bottom line? You can’t build something big if you’re doing what everyone else is doing. Questioning the conventional will allow you to shape your brand and your message so you can stand out in the noisy marketing world.
#3 – In order to embrace your creativity you need to trust and embrace your intuition.
We often think that going with our creative intuition is a big leap of faith. But really, we’ve actually worked our way there through a series of small steps. And once we’re there, sometimes we just have to do what feels right.
#4 – Constraints fuel creativity.
Think about it. When you’re working within certain boundaries and requirements, you have to find a way to make the most out of it—and that can bring your creativity to a whole new level.
#5 – Resourcefulness beats resources every time.
We often feel like we don’t have the tools, technology, the team and the talent to be highly creative. But that really couldn’t be farther from the truth.
We marketers are scrappy. We’re innovative. We can and have made the absolute most out of whatever resources we’re given. But the key to success here isn’t luck. You have to tinker. You have to experiment. You have to practice. This will not only help you refine you process, but also find opportunities to use your resources in new ways.
#6 – You’re the key to your creativity. You’re the starter.
After telling a delightful story about the rivalry between two pizza joints in his hometown, Acunzo revealed that it isn’t the ingredients that set these pizza places apart—but rather the starter used to make the pizza dough.
You see, like each of us, no two starters are the same. The experiences and elements we’re exposed to make us who we are as unique individuals. Use that uniqueness to your advantage to set your marketing efforts apart from your competitors. Be the starter.
Creativity vs. Creating
In the end, creativity isn’t something that should be aspired to or worshiped. It something inherent in us, coming out when we put our minds to the task of creating something.
So, we shouldn’t be asking ourselves: “Do you want to be creative?” The real question is: “Do you want to create?”
How do you use your experiences to drive creativity in everything you create? Share with us in the comments section below.