By Jacki Lutz
Head of Marketing and Communications – Global Aftermarket
Schrader Performance Sensors a brand of Sensata Technologies
ACC Vice-President

Have you ever watched a witty commercial or seen a clever ad that is so perfectly memorable and informative that you sit there and wonder “how do they come up with these ideas?” and “why the heck can’t I?”. You might automatically envision a team of 20 people, in a colorful room, sitting in bean bag chairs, conducting a brainstorming session on an old-school chalk board where the ideas and words are perfectly written into the shape of a light bulb.

Incredibly brilliant ideas can often seem out of reach for smaller, busier teams, but you might find that the makers of those clever ads and commercials would disagree, and the answer might be simpler and easier to reach than you think.

Speaking of thinking, therein may lie the answer. Creativity is often more about changing the way you think about your product and changing how you look at it, rather than killing yourself trying to create an elaborate idea. It’s easy to get caught up in the same messages and imagery when you live and breathe your product every day.

If you were to take any object and were told to market it in a totally unique way, where would that take you? There are two methods you can use to kick-start your creative thought process.

Let’s use an apple as an example. How is an apple typically marketed? Is there anything funny about an apple? Is there something unique? Personally, I immediately think of a mom trying to get her kids to eat healthy. She puts a bowl of perfectly shiny, red, juicy apples on a counter and crazy kids bust through the front door getting home from school. They run to the kitchen and are starving, but rather than reaching for the plate of cookies, they reach for the healthy bowl of apples right next to it, and run out laughing, chomping on their healthy choice. Cue the grin from the mom as she winks at the camera.

But let’s think differently, let’s try changing our perspective. What if instead of using a mom, you took the perspective of the apple. How do you sell yourself? Or what if you are the kid, what makes you want to eat the apple? Or maybe you are an orange, wishing you were an apple, what would an orange have to be jealous of an apple for? Maybe you don’t want your skin peeled off?

Another way to power up creative thought is to simply put a different spin on the expected message. For example, typically, when we think of an advertisement for an apple, we think of it highlighting an apple’s health benefits. What if we think of a different benefit, like how when you buy an apple, you are supporting a local farm, or the environmental benefits of not needing to wrap up your snack in plastic, or maybe instead of talking about all of the good things in the apple, you could talk about all of the bad things that are not in the apple.

How can you use these two techniques with your own product or service to power some creativity? You don’t need a team of 20 to find your creative edge, just cock your head to the side a bit, change your perspective, change your thinking and see what creative ideas come up. The beautiful thing is, these can work in consumer facing products and B2B, large teams and small, big budgets or little. An added bonus is the time and money you will save not having to convince your boss to buy a ping pong table and nap pods.