Industry in Focus – Branding and Marketing: Ideas – Stay fresh to get ahead

As part of a new in depth series of blogs, SHORTLIST is focusing on Branding and Marketing and ways in which candidates can increase their chances of moving up the career ladder, or landing that dream job. In week one, we look at a B&M professional’s biggest asset – ideas.

Those working in Branding and Marketing know that ideas can be one of the best ways of differentiating yourself. To get ahead, you need to have a regular supply of them for new and existing clients, or someone else may step in to offer a fresh perspective.

Focusing on how to keep your ideas exciting should be as big a part of your day as managing existing accounts. Making this an everyday activity means that when you’re asked in a meeting ‘do you have any ideas’, you’re not left in a panicking sweat.

Here’s five great ways you can maintain your creative edge:

Go to events – Any type of event. Local fair, music, art, food. Anywhere where you will meet and see a number of artists, businesses and entrepreneurs presenting their work. Not only will you get to see a broad selection of products, services and ideas, you’ll get to talk to their creators, get inspired by their passion and come away thinking about how you would market their product.

Take risks – Pick a charity, church group or a small local business and devise a short marketing campaign for them. Charities and smaller businesses are more prepared to try ‘risky’ or provocative marketing as they have less to lose than a big multi-national that does not want to upset their shareholders.

Exercise – Stepping away from the computer, the newspaper or the television will allow your brain time to process everything you have been exposed to that day. It will allow you to focus on one thing and most importantly make you feel energised. If you have a problem to solve at work, walk around the block and leave your phone on the desk. It will work.

Schedule in creativity - Make generating ideas part of your week. Monday morning or Friday afternoon are best. If you’re in a creative agency then an hour a week on your own or with colleagues of genuine creative pursuits should never be frowned upon by bosses. Talking with colleagues will make some fantastic connections.

Read something unfamiliar - Choose a different magazine to read every month on something you know nothing about. It will be full of people, ideas and events you are completely unfamiliar with and get your creative juices flowing.

In addition to these great ways of staying creative, keep a book like this 100 Great Marketing Ideas by your side at all times and you should never be stuck for ideas. It’s from a series called ‘100 Great Ideas’, and it looks at marketing campaigns from a huge variety of angles.

One story in particular is about brand repositioning. If you have a product that is known for one thing, but your key market is diminishing, then instead of trying to win it back, why not look for another market who can use the same product?

Previously the Lucozade drink was aimed at people recovering in hospital, but as healthcare standards improved the market diminished. Instead of chasing a decreasing market, they successfully repositioned it as a sports drink, a market that was seeing huge growth.

Get reading!

Next week we’ll be looking at why working in a smaller company can give you more creative freedom.