4 obstacles to innovation and how to overcome them
I can’t tell you how many times clients say that they want to “think outside the box”, when in reality they just want to tweak the same old solutions. Why? Because those solutions are safe.
Nutrition and wellness brands are particularly susceptible to safe thinking because they want to gain consumer trust. The impulse is to stick with what works. But today’s digital consumers are easily bored and content hungry. To engage them, creativity is a necessity, not a luxury.
Below, I’ve listed common pitfalls that limit creativity in marketing departments along with tips for setting those big ideas free:
Challenge #1: The Creative Pecking Order
Your CMO, Creative Director, or even CEO always decides which ideas win. The problem? Without fail, that person thinks his or her own ideas are the best, which creates a vacuum of thinking. The creative team spends their time guessing what one person will like versus trying to solve the creative challenge.
Solution: You hire creative individuals (or an agency) for their unique viewpoint. Use their ideas. Even if it feels risky, it’s better to build on a mediocre but creative idea than to toss it aside and head back to your safe solution.
Challenge #2: Limited Thinking
If you kick off a project by telling your team what they can’t do, you’re killing creativity. Small budgets are a great example. You say, “We don’t have the money to do anything “really” creative.” They hear, “Think small.”
Solution: Your creative team shouldn’t be burdened with realities like budgets. Their job is to seek and find the big idea. Once that is done, feel free to downsize the execution.
Challenge #3: The 4 Walls of Your Business
Your team is immersed in the details of marketing your product. You agree on marketing language and strategies. You are attached to certain catch phrases. Unfortunately, that means nothing to your customer.
Solution: Listen. I’ve seen clients spend thousands of dollars on focus groups only to waste their time behind the glass talking to each other. Creativity starts with a blank slate, not a personal opinion. Listen to your customer. Find out what he or she thinks is cool or clever. You don’t have to agree. You aren’t marketing to yourself.
Challenge #4: The Big Idea is Lost in Translation
The perfect approach is found, but for some reason, your marketing efforts fall flat. What happened?
It’s possible that your whole team wasn’t on board.
Solution: If you leave your marketing team out of the creative process and treat them like a production line, they will try to put their personal stamp on the project as it moves across their desk. The result is a Frankenstein effect that dilutes your marketing. Prevent “concepting during production” by valuing your team’s creativity up front.
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photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/soldiersmediacenter/6999691421/”>The U.S. Army</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>
Jessica is a competitive athlete and the President of Energize HNM, a health and nutrition marketing agency. Jessica is committed to supporting health brands of every size by helping them define their missions and connect with their customers on a deeper, more meaningful level.