It’s been a challenging year. At times, embracing the “new normal” and changes in the way we work has felt a bit like jumping out of an airplane without a parachute. Willingly. On multiple occasions. The good news is that we’re coming up to the end of 2020, and there are signs of a safe landing on the horizon.
If, like us, you’re looking forward to resetting as we go into the new year, you may have also started to reflect on how your current workplace — likely affected by the pandemic in many ways — still encourages creativity in a way that allows campaigns and projects to thrive.
If you’re looking for a practical gauge, our list of indicators might be able to give you an idea of where things stand. These five indicators are essentially everything that we hope will cross your path at work in 2021, as you strive to create and deliver the best possible ideas for clients all year round.
1) You’re working with enthusiastic, adventurous clients that are vision-centric
If you’re working with clients who are enthusiastic and adventurous, you’re practically strapped in for booming creativity already. More conservative clients may be a bit harder to break through to, but often all they need is a little bit of patience and encouragement. Committing to nurturing a dynamic of creative thinking between yourself and anykind of client you work with is bound to yield positive results over time.
That said, enthusiasm and adventure can be hard to come by if the client isn’t focused on a bigger vision, and if that hasn’t been communicated to you. The more a client knows what they want, as part of a bigger goal for the future, the easier it is for you to work creatively within those parameters. Teaching a client to be vision-centric might be somewhat of a stretch, so keep this in mind wherever there is an opportunity to sign a new one. If you want the collaboration to be optimised for creativity, ask about their bigger goals right from the very first meeting to avoid future problems.
2) There are ample opportunities to build and nurture creative campaigns
The best sign that the work environment is conducive to creativity is its ability to create ample opportunities to build and nurture creative campaigns over an extended period of time. Building a successful creative campaign can only happen when there is room for brainstorming, space for ideas to percolate, and resources to be able to put spectacular concepts into practice. Nine times out of ten this involves a team effort, as very few iconic creative campaigns have been executed without a group of people putting their heads together to make it happen.
Nurturing these creative campaigns once they have launched is just as important as the process of building it. Many agencies invest heavily in campaign setup, and forget to spread their resources out to latter stages when energy and enthusiasm starts to dwindle a bit. A business that operates with a multi-phase approach to client projects can breathe new creative life into a concept systematically. This could even change it for the better in the long run, as it leaves more room to discover which creative elements work best for that particular client.
3) Media partners are keen to experiment and find new value for clients
No agency-led creative campaign is an island. Once a concept starts to blossom, it needs collective buy-in from media partners in order for its vision to be realised. If these partners are not keen to experiment and dig deeper to find value for clients along the way, things can fall flat relatively quickly. And we’re not talking about a fluffy notion of value here. Forget about just offering discounts or taking shortcuts. We’re talking about them offering real value.
This idea of value translates to all modern workplaces. Sure, COVID-19 has shown just how important value in the form of a tangible return on investment is. The process of creating real value to clients means paying attention to this, as well as getting creative about their current needs on the ground. This kind of thinking could even lead to new opportunities, and better yet, additional avenues for ROI. Is the workplace you’re in equipped for this kind of thinking at the moment?
4) You’re in an environment that fosters and encourages continuous learning
Every modern workplace should be encouraging learning and development on a continuous basis. In a world where we’ve got access to information at our fingertips, and many industries are changing day to day (we’re looking at you, marketing and SEO), keeping up can only be achieved in an environment where training and development is a priority. If you’re encouraged and incentivised to upskill in an area related to your job, this will trickle down into your creative campaigns. Ultimately, clients campaigns and projects benefit as a result. They may even be more successful because of the new knowledge applied to them.
Encouraging learning is one thing, but fostering a working culture around this is something else entirely. It requires active investment in learning, even if times are tight economically. By planting seeds about the importance of staying sharp in their roles, employees are encouraged to stay curious about their own industry, as well as those of their clients. This leads to greater professional development, and empowers them to branch out from their comfort zones at the same time.
5) You’re leveraging old and new lessons from the pandemic and lockdown
Companies that have adapted to accommodate the “new normal” have proved that they are more flexible and resilient than some of their more stubborn competitors. These workplaces have the ability to leverage what they have learned from lockdown, and thanks to this, they know how to adapt accordingly. Take any kind of acknowledgement that things have had to change over the course of this year as a positive sign that you’re sitting on a hotbed of innovation at your current workplace. This type of approach can also be carried through to creative client projects as well.
Remember that the pandemic will keep teaching new lessons well into the new year, and that businesses who want to foster healthy creative environments will need to keep using these learnings to encourage dynamic thinking. There is a power in learning from hard times, especially if the solutions came about because of a team effort where people had to think on their feet. This kind of creative “success” often trickles back down into brainstorm meetings that might have been a little lifeless previously.
Nurturing a Consistently Creative Workplace
Having learned more about the indicators that point towards thriving creativity in the workplace, you should now have a rough idea about how well yours stacks up at this point in time. Whether you resonated with none, one, a few or all of them, these indicators are also a useful tool for planning and goal setting for 2021, especially if you’ve spotted a couple of potential creative blind spots as we’ve gone along.
By taking responsibility for your role in contributing to a work environment where creativity is encouraged to flourish, you might even find yourself in a state of creative flow more regularly. This will likely have a positive effect on your overall job satisfaction. Better yet, it might even lead to some incredible client campaigns beyond what you can even imagine right now. Here’s to a fulfilling and creative new year, on all fronts.