The strength of your marketing department depends wholly on the skills and experience of your team. So you pride yourself on the consistency of your department’s creativity but how do you keep them motivated when the pressure’s on? Working on an exciting campaign is often enough to keep the sparks of creativity flowing. If exhaustion hits and your team begin to flag however, you need to offer encouragement to get the most out of them as deadlines loom. Read on for some great tips on how to nurture a creative culture.
Holding regular brainstorming sessions will help keep creative juices flowing. Just like any other muscle, if not exercised, creativity will shrink so group sessions will ensure the team remain fired up and ready to contribute. People feed off others and this is so essential when exploring and developing a new idea. Make these brainstorm meetings fun by ordering pizzas or bringing in breakfast such as croissants and cappuccinos. Anything that adds to the team spirit, lets people relax and encourages the ideas to flood the room is perfect for getting the most out of these sessions. If you were working on a rebranding project for example this would be a perfect opportunity for everyone to get their teeth into a major assignment. Some team members could feel the pressure but if you encourage the creative habit then you are more likely to get some great ideas and the results you need. These meetings will also be a good opportunity to enhance skills. Ensure all your team are aware of techniques such as lateral thinking and mind-mapping to help work through and channel their creative ideas.
Generate and nurture a creative atmosphere
You need to ensure that even the most reluctant and perhaps less confident of team members don’t get overlooked. Marketing often attract strong, opinionated personalities but that doesn’t mean that the quieter members of your team lack creativity. They may be brimming with ideas but just not confident enough to share them in a brainstorming session. Suggestion boxes are a basic addition that will help motivate those quieter team members and of course an open door policy will help. They may be more comfortable sharing their ideas in a one to one situation instead of a lively meeting. Offering this level of support will mean everyone gets a chance to share and that you don’t miss out on the gems that may be lurking in the minds of the unconfident. Responding in an enthusiastic manner to all ideas is also important. If anyone at any time is made to feel foolish then you will find that will be the end of their contribution to further sessions.
Work on interesting projects as a team
Now you can’t guarantee that every project is going to be an exciting one. It might be down to taste but in general your team will have to accept what they may consider to be the more mundane projects alongside the fun ones. Why not work on some of your more interesting projects as a team? So if your company or one of your clients are having a website redesign, this is a perfect opportunity to bring the team together as ideas, after all, opinions are needed whether you are handling the project internally or externally. Everyone will have their own likes and dislikes so you also can conduct some research as well as use the time for ideas generation. As a team building exercise, a major project can really enhance the way everyone works together and can also highlight any areas for development.
Add a few incentives
If you want to encourage great ideas why not add an incentive? Often just being recognised in some way such as launching a Creative Guru Award or perhaps a Best Contributor of the Month Award could be enough. You could however, go a step further and offer a prize such as dinner at a local restaurant or a delivered lunch of their choice to share with the team. Positive recognition will do wonders for the atmosphere in the office and can re-motivate and stimulate the flow of an exhausted team who were on the verge of running dry.
Follow up the ideas
There is no point in having any number of brainstorming sessions, encouraging your team to come up with great ideas if you are not going to act upon them. There will be nothing more discouraging to your creative team than your failure to follow through. If the process is deemed pointless then everyone will fail to see the purpose and will stop joining in. So in creating the brainstorming sessions, be sure that you have the time and resource to develop and implement the best ideas. Be sure to allow for mistakes to be made. A creative atmosphere is also a tolerant one. People will grow and develop by learning from their mistakes and they will need to know they will be supported instead of being penalised.
In summary, getting to know your team and being aware of how each individual works will help you get the most out of them. An open and supportive culture will ensure the creative flow continues even during the most stressful campaigns and the heaviest of workloads.