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Unleashing creativity

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Here at RICE, we emphasise the value of nurturing talent and addressing the increasing demand for skilled communications practitioners. As part of this vision, we launched the RICE Talent Programme in Myanmar two years ago – the first public relations agency-led training programme in the country.

I was fortunate to make a visit to Myanmar recently to meet the latest batch of students and deliver a workshop. The topic chosen was Creative Campaigns, and here’s a snapshot of what we discussed:

Think of creative freedom as child’s play

Creative play comes easy to children because they’re so great at using their imagination. With a LEGO-obsessed four-year-old, I witness him being transported every day into a whole new world with a few coloured bricks and the power of his imagination.

As adults, there’s less creative freedom in our daily lives because we often hold back to avoid embarrassment or fear of our ideas. Luckily, we can train our creativity and strengthen it through exercises. Aside from playing LEGO (pretty much a daily activity for me now!), creative thinking exercises like ideas blitzing, mind mapping and storyboarding help train our brains to switch to creative mode.

For a team, they also help create a culture of open and honest engagement – so people feel free to speak up and throw in an idea, no matter what their position in the organisation.

Why a creative filter adds focus to your campaign

Someone once explained to me that a creative filter is like Yoda – telling you you’re doing something right or wrong without having to take your thinking to a committee.

For campaign planning, before you go into brainstorm mode, apply one as a mandatory strategic filter for all tactical activity. Base the creative filter on a brand truth and brand positioning to give you focus.

If you do so, the tactical ideas are more likely to work for the client.

Match your creative ideas to your campaign goals

For all types of brands, big and small, the benefits of creativity are endless – from showing a more human side, to standing out from the competition, to starting conversations that inspire action.

But during the creative planning process, it’s important to constantly ask yourself: what do you want your campaign to achieve? Is there a problem you are trying to solve? How will you measure success?

You can have the most innovative, relevant, scalable, on-brand ideas, but don’t lose sight of the end goal.

Get into a pattern of constant, fresh inspiration

I’ve always been a big believer in drawing inspiration from other brand campaigns. It sounds so simple, but it’s a great practice to get into and to make a habit out of, no matter how busy you are. Every Friday at RICE, a team of us read, collate and share creative campaign inspiration with the wider teams regionally.

An example of a campaign I love is the Voices for Momos campaign by our Myanmar team (shameless plug), which aimed to end illegal wildlife trade in Myanmar.

The campaign launched with a surprise public exhibition and established a partnership with a local fair-trade retailer to design and sell miniature paper-mache elephants at its popular flagship store.

RICE developed a video that was featured on cinema and television screens, billboards, and even cable car wraps at the Kyaikhto Pagoda, a high-traffic tourist attraction. The six-month campaign culminated in a full-scale, free public concert featuring popular performers.

As a result, two key trade markets Shwedagon market and Bogyoke market committed to end all illegal wildlife trading activity. Additionally, the European Union in Myanmar issued a statement urging the government to act against illegal wildlife trade in the country.

Finally, as the media and digital landscape continues to evolve, we in the communications industry should continue to keep ourselves up-to-date with the latest trends, and by making sure the creative campaign is tailored for a specific market or community, we can help to increase its chances of success.

Looking for fresh ideas to create a successful brand communications campaign? Get in touch with us here!

Janine Jacobs 04.9.2019
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