Creativity, Innovation and Inspiration

We celebrate our heroes, industry giants, who took a perhaps controversial idea and ran with it.  Steve Jobs of Apple, Bill Gates of Microsoft and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook who started with a shoestring budget and multiplied their bank account into billions within an astoundingly short period of time.

How were these industry icons able to accomplish such magnificent feats?  They were willing to risk.  The business community touts the virtues of the entrepreneur who innovates and accomplishes outstanding success.  We praise them in Success Magazine, Forbes, Business Week, Inc. and many other noteworthy publications.  The question is “How did they do it?”  The question rumbling around in many entrepreneurial brains is, “If they did it, how can I do it also?”

3 Creative Ways to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone stated, “Bold choices that disrupt the status quo fuel innovation and entrepreneurship. Leaders that learn to embrace choices outside their comfort zones are able to push the envelope in ways that safe leaders can’t, helping them to stand out and succeed.”  Leaders who are willing to risk and test the bounds of their creativity have the opportunity to succeed.  Will they always be right?  No.  You will never know if you don’t take action.

Dan Kennedy, noted marketing guru, said he is thrilled if one out of eight of his marketing campaigns really hit the mark.  One out of eight.  If you happen to be the owner of that eighth magic campaign which blows the lid off the marketplace you will be ecstatic.  One fact is absolutely guaranteed – you will not have that fabulous success if you never launch your idea or your marketing campaign.

Kennedy goes on to list his advice.

1.       Take extreme measures

Make a commitment to do what it takes to get your marketing out. If that means working longer hours a few days or outsourcing pieces of your campaigns you don’t have the expertise or time to do…do it.  It’s the people who are willing to do what’s necessary to get the job done that will achieve the biggest wins.

2.      Leverage everything you have

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When it comes to marketing, it’s important to leverage everything you have. That means with each message, don’t just rely on one media form. Send your message to your newsletter list, send it out as an email, a postcard, and post it on your blog. Then deliver it during a webinar and make posts about it on social media.

3.      Don’t second-guess yourself

With marketing, you never are 100% sure that what you do will work.  Make your best guess and just go for it. If you are really unsure, start small and test first. The point is that you need to make a commitment and just do it.

4.      Do things simultaneously

Put multiple campaigns into motion at the same time.  Have a follow up campaign in progress as you launch a new direct mail promotion.

Keep your name in front of your target market.  Play full out.  Don’t be afraid to innovate and test new ideas.   Microsoft, Apple and Kennedy did not succeed by sitting back and playing it safe.

If you still believe that playing it safe and following the crowd is the best strategy for you, consider the success of Budweiser’s wild and crazy super bowl commercials or Old Spice’s recent commercial.  Terry Crews is making “muscle music,”  “Such an absurd video would make many executives squirm, but Old Spice’s willingness to embrace it wholeheartedly led to six million views in the past week.”

Tap into the creativity of yourself and your employees.  Don’t fear stepping out on the innovation ledge.  You might just land that eighth campaign which blows the market wide open.  If you’re hesitating and still not certain your company is ready for such a bold step, consider the advice of Google’s Ryan Tate.  Tate’s book, “The 20% Doctrine: How Tinkering, Goofing Off and Breaking the Rules at Work Drive Success in Business (Harper Collins, 2012) and Matt Weinstein, author of Managing to Have Fun: How Fun at Work Can Motivate Your Employees, Inspire Your Coworkers and Boost Your Bottom Line (Simon & Schuster, 1997) have found that injecting fun into your office can result in not only a more innovative environment, but a more productive one.”

Develop a Culture of Innovation rather than being stuck in the status quo.  Are you afraid of innovation or confused about what it really means to be innovative? Innovation is defined consistently and broadly as:

  • Old, tired ideas long in limbo are reframed as “innovative”
  • Any small change to an existing product or service is labelled “innovation”
  • A completely irrational, disruptive idea is justified on the basis that it is “innovative”
  • Soon everything is “innovative” and nothing is

Don’t be caught in the confusion trap.  Experiment, play, test your creativity and have fun in the process.  You could be delighted with the results.

Unless you choose to be the cautious business owner who prefers to have 100 percent of a $1 million business rather than 10 percent of a $100 million business, be willing to innovate.  The problem is not that what you currently have is bad, but that it is just good enough to prevent you from reaching out for your full potential.

Step out of your comfort zone.  Take Dan Kennedy’s advice and go forward with your marketing confidently and take extreme measures.  Develop a culture where employees are free to play and innovate. The expanded creativity could explode your business in a marvelous way which will keep you smiling all the way to the bank.

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