There are no experts.
Everything is changing too much for anyone to have enough experience to carry that title.
Don’t trust an expert. You need to be your own expert. Try to be an expert.
Organize the confusion in your own way. Make sense of things today, but stay open, because tomorrow it will change.
Don’t get too attached to your plans, or what you know, because both will change. Plans will change, clients will change, budgets will change.
Don’t let any of these bits of news become a death blow.
Because there is no finish line.
There is always time for a comeback.
It’s all incremental bits of progress and regression. In the end, hopefully you can make more progress than not.
At every step, figure out the most surprising, relevant, thing that makes you most excited to make sense of the chaos and communicate the idea.
There is always time to reinvent.
And that should be the fun part.
Everyone has their own process. And I love to think about how people keep creatively motivated and learn what works for them. Here is the current state of my creative process. I’d love to hear what works for you!
Even if you just scribble down one thought, that’s valid. You just need to get started. Sometimes just staring at a blank piece of paper, or a blank wall is the biggest hurdle. You can even start off with a joke, or something stupid, as these misfires can often lead to something relevant later on. Just get cracking.
Obsess over it.
Give yourself an hour to think about nothing but your project. Think of everything. From world changing ideas to the incredibly stupid, and everything in between. If you mind gets distracted, pay attention to that and try to find a way to connect what you were distracted by and the project you are working on. It could yield a killer new combination.
Forget about it.
Do something else. Play a sport, play a video game, work on another project. The momentum and attention you have on this project will stay with you as you do other things. Be ready to write down random thoughts that come to you, but don’t spend too much time doing that. Force yourself to stay away. You have thought about the project deeply, so you will continue to make progress.
Analyze the hell out of it.
When you come back from your project vacation, put your ideas up on a wall, and scrutinize them. Are they lame? Do they feel new or like a rehash? Are there ideas that stand out more than others? How can they be better? Are there some ideas that should be dropped from consideration? What is your favorite idea? Why? How could it be better?
Show someone you trust.
Once things are solid in your mind, tell someone else about what you are thinking. By explaining things, you are forced to become even stronger with your idea. If you can’t explain it well and easily to someone, it probably still needs some time and thinking. If they get it clearly, then you may be on to something. Or it may be a really obvious first thought. It’s a matter of taste at this point. Don’t let outer opinions sway your conviction. Everyone has their own point of view, and in creativity, there is no right or wrong. Stick to your guns and trust your gut. And any other appropriate cliche about staying strong.
Keep thinking of ideas. Creativity shouldn’t be a 9-5. Keep thinking of new ways to show things, new ways to communicate. What is new? What makes you laugh? What make you feel something? Keep notebooks with every idea you have. Repeat this process with ideas even if you have no intention of using them or producing them. It is all valuable learning.
I look forward to hearing about your creative process.
Don’t do everything.
Do one thing well. Don’t turn every project or brief into an opportunity to show you know the comprehensive digital landscape. You are not reinventing the internet here. You can do simple, small things in this space. Do them well. And do many of them. Comprehensive knowledge of digital is demonstrated over time, not in a single glorious campaign.
Be Beta/Update minded.
Releases or launches don’t have to be definitive. Be open to consumer feedback. Take a ‘let’s work together to make the best service possible’ approach. No brand or program is perfect. When media was confined to traditional outlets like television and print, brands could pretend to be perfect. They could take months crafted the absolute bulletproof appearance of perfection. But times had radically changed, and in digital, no one is perfect, because the whole scene is evolving. You just need to jump in, and upgrade as you go. Make every step make sense for right now, but be flexible to go back and make the same thing better later. Be incrementally minded.
Be responsive. Be real-time.
Free up your thinking and some budget to be timely. Relevant responses to hot issues and topics have a greater chance to ‘go viral’ because they are acting as a parasite to something that is already consuming mass mindspace. Sports brands should be insanely timely. They should think like newspapers, but in their brand voice. ESPN gets closest to this. But there are some other brands out there that could really get some serious hangtime if they committed to a more real time approach to sports marketing. Brands should present the information and put their unique spin on it, not just be a news service.
Rally groups of people to a common goal.
Digital media connects us all more than Kevin Bacon connects Hollywood. Key in on those pockets of passion, and give large groups a collective assignment, with minimum involvement, that results in something memorable. That’s as vague and jargon sounding as I can be about this.
People still love video.
Digital doesn’t mean that video, TV or filmmaking is dead. Everything doesn’t have to be a Flash application. Stories told as one-way, well made, moving images still have crown jewel status in the overall media landscape. You can start with an amazing piece of video, and then find smart and relevant ways to disseminate and surprise people with the digital extensions. Keep making films people!
Keep it simple.
Do your one thing, with style and strong branded voice. Don’t let the technology stifle the personality of your brand. Use the functionality of modern technology to fuel something human. Something emotional. This can be accomplished in a microsite, a banner ad, an iPhone app, or something that doesn’t even exist yet. Execute your one idea, and then move on to your next triumph.
I look forward to see what you do next.