These articles have been written by the latest cohort of the Practice Makes UnPerfect programme – a course that helps women find and finesse their public voices
Once upon a time, I never thought I was creative. Colour schemes? Urrrr, how about light and dark grey? The vision for filling an empty room. Can I call a friend?
But boy, was I wrong.
It all started at school where Maths, English and PE were my main domain. And when it came to Art and Design, the only time I got higher than a C was when I guilt-tripped my Mum into doing my homework (sssshhh, don’t tell Mrs Noble).
Fast forward 10 years, and I was in my second PR role. Following a brainstorm for a new consumer client in the lighting industry, I was told, and I believed, I wouldn’t hack it in a consumer role as I wasn’t creative enough. And from that moment on, I signed myself up for a B2B career.
Unfortunately, I’m sure my experience is not an isolated one. There are hundreds of others who have been in a similar situation – either thinking or being told they aren’t creative enough for a particular role when actually, they are.
What REALLY is creativity?
Adobe once cited that a whopping 75% of people feel they are not living up to their creative potential.
To squash this misconception, we need to take a step back and think about the term creativity. Psychology Today, for example, says ‘creativity encompasses the ability to discover new and original ideas, connections, and solutions to problems.’
This statement reminds me of the time a manager once said, ‘come to me with solutions, not problems’ – a phrase that has stuck with me ever since. Because actually, what she was saying was, go and be creative, think outside the box, explore a new way of thinking.
Delving into the concept of creativity further, last year, Indeed wrote an interesting piece on the 12 Traits of Creative People, and this list might surprise you:
The article also states, ‘creative people have traits that they can use in various roles – not just creative ones. Creativity does not solely signify having artistic capabilities’. And that’s the thing that needs to be remembered – you don’t have to be in a traditional creative role to be creative.
Being creative in the world of PR
Let’s bring this back to PR. The reality is B2B and consumer campaigns are the same – it’s about finding the right tactic to deliver a key message to a target audience and convincing them they want that product or service.
OK, we B2B-ers might not be building a big stunt on the Thames or doing a flash mob at Waterloo station. Still, every day we turn complex ideas and technical messages into simple, clear copy that grabs the target audience’s attention.
If I think about a typical week at Bluestripe HQ, we regularly use research and insights to craft new and exciting stories that journalists want to cover. We analyse the news agenda each morning to think about timely pitches for our clients. We are writing hard-hitting thought leadership content to position our spokespeople as experts within their field. We solve problems, we add new perspectives, we tell stories—every single day.
In such a crowded market, we have to be creative to cut through the noise and help our clients stand out from the crowd and therefore, creativity shouldn’t be seen as the sole domain of consumer PR. If anything, I believe it requires MORE creativity to craft the perfect angle for a complex B2B client.
IBM has a brilliant example of this in action. Titled Every Second Counts, its campaign was targeted at Chief Information Officers and IT leaders, encouraging them to tackle the topic of data breaches and cybersecurity. Not exactly the sexiest of topics. But by bringing together creativity and data, it drew on real-life scenarios to provoke an emotional connection to the urgency of the matter in an unexpected and attention-grabbing manner. The campaign was accurate, authentic and believable, and it got nominated for loads of awards.
I’m a kick-ass creative, and so are you
In Rahaf Harfoush’s book Hustle and Float: Reclaim Your Creativity and Thrive in a World Obsessed with Work, she says, ‘Think you’re not creative? You’re selling yourself short. Humans are inherently creative, born with the capacity to reflect, evaluate, come up with ideas, and find connections…. We all have the capacity to be creative, and we can all improve those skills.’
So, take note. And next time you doubt your creative brain, I urge you to think about those 12 traits listed by Indeed and take a run down the list to see how many you deliver.
Curious 100%, we ask clients questions every single day.
Playful Playful thinking is at the heart of making each client’s message interesting to the right people.
Open-minded You have to see each new brief with fresh eyes and be willing to learn something new.
Flexible Hell yeah, 11th-hour changes to a brief, anyone?
Sensitive The nuances of both your client’s brand and the audience is a delicate balance that takes sensitivity to navigate.
Independent: As crucial as being a team player is taking responsibility for your part of the project.
Risk-taking Every time we run a new campaign or convince clients to step outside their comfort zone.
Intuitive Another way to describe assimulating large amounts of data to make decisions that feel natural.
Thorough Of course, our attention to detail has to be second to none.
Ambitious Yep! We are constantly challenging ourselves to get bigger and better outcomes for our clients.
Objective Naturally. We need to take (and provide) feedback consistently.
Energetic PR is a rollercoaster that demands high energy.
It’s then time to put that chimp back in the box and remember, you ARE a kick-ass creative, just like me.