There’s No Such Thing As Creativity

I’ve long been suspicious of the word “Creative”.

It’s just so chronically vague. And as far as I can tell, principally a smokescreen behind which lazy marketers who can’t articulate their process attempt to hide.

And I’m not the only one. The greatest marketer of them all, David Ogilvy, disliked nothing more than when his employees used this empty husk of a word to describe themselves.

Big ideas aren’t dreamt up out of the ether. There is no magic or innate genius that allows a special few to do something others cannot. There is a process.

So if you want to be in the minority of creatives actually capable of creating, here are 5 very practical paths to pursue:

1. Become obsessive about market research – as Steve Jobs once wrote “Creativity is just connecting the dots”. This is a hell of a lot easier when you know where the dots are.

2. Adopt a “First Principles” way of thinking – being hyper rational may not sound like a route to creativity, but in an irrational world it so often is. Imagine you’re an alien arriving on earth with the sole mission of selling Product X to your target market. An alien free from any sense of social convention or status quo. All you have at your disposal are the facts and figures of your product and market. What do you do next?

3. Develop a strong social and cultural antennae – the kind of person who just know lots of stuff about lots of stuff. These people are a veritable machine gun of ideas.

4. Learn about behavioural psychology – while every other brand is obsessing over features and benefits, you can tap into underlying emotions actually driving the consumer’s decision making.

5. Become a funny f***er – the ultimate sector agnostic weapon.

You’ll notice “Sit on bean bags, drink frappuccinos and ideate* with other marketing wankers” does not appear on this list.

Happy creating!

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*If there is a more appalling word in the English language than “ideate”, I do not wish to know it.