How we think
& feel about marketing
John Rose's Blog

Are you creatively fit?

Like most things in life, some people may have greater aptitude for certain pursuits -- physical or intellectual. However, as long as there are no physiological impairments, I believe that, with practice and persistence, most people are capable of achieving a level of proficiency in just about anything.

That's why I don't subscribe to the notion that some people are creative and others are not -- even though there are those in our industry that would have you believe otherwise. With a bit of determination anyone can be creative. No one has to stay a creative couch potato. You just need to get creatively "fit". It takes the same commitment to become creatively fit as it does to be physically fit. Basically, your creative muscles can atrophy in the same way your physical muscles do -- if you don't properly flex or nourish them.

We are a creative agency. But we are not more creative than the clients we serve simply because we have more talented and creative people (of course, we do). We are good at what we do because we are skilled at running a creative organization and we specialize in identifying and nurturing people who are committed to being creative. We work at staying creatively fit.

For example, every week, our people meet for the Creative Pitch. This is not a typical brainstorming session. Everyone (not just the "creative" departments) must arrive at the meeting with a creative idea. No exception. Most weeks the idea can be for any one of our clients. Occasionally we will request only ideas for one current or prospective client. One by one we each pitch an idea to the group. We then briefly workshop the idea together to see if we can make that person's idea better. Bad ideas get dissected, mediocre ideas are improved, good ideas become great and great ideas are applauded. The hope is that we end up with a viable idea we can actually bring to the client. And many each year get produced. [This initiative for Samsung came out of a Creative Pitch.] But that's not the goal. The goal is to creatively train ourselves so that everyone gets better and better at originating ideas when we need them -- which, in our business, is every day. Yes...the newbies may find their ideas crushed. But they eventually build their creative strength and keep up with the rest of the group. And a little bit of friendly competition (and a little bit of adrenaline) keeps everyone on their toes.

Basically, anyone can become creatively fit...even buff, if they put in the time.

Our customers don't care about marketing

But that doesn't mean they are not influenced by it – no matter how much they may try to avoid it. The fact is they care more about what their peers think than about our marketing. Today’s social networkers want to stay connected. They share ideas, likes, and dislikes and are intensely interested in what other like-minded people (family, friends, colleagues) are thinking and saying. So our job is to develop an affinity and trust for our brand among consumers, listen to them and engage in their commentaries and their friends’ commentaries and become part of the conversation. Once we’ve harnessed a core group of loyal fans, they will become our champions. All they have to do is click a button or press send. Empower them, and we empower our brand.