November 26, 2012 / by Frank Strong

As a marketing, PR and communications pros, we face a daily push for more and more creativity in our strategy, content and campaigns.  However, creativity can come at a premium – and sometimes we just need a little creative inspiration.

To that end here’s a look at five quotes to inspire creativity:

“It is the people who figure out how to work simply in the present, rather than the people who mastered the complexities of the past, who get to say what happens in the future.” Clay Shirky

Learning to work in the present and focus on the moment is key to finding that creative spark. For a small businesses especially, thoughts of what’s next and what’s still left on the day’s long to-do list can bog you down.  Focusing like a laser on being present in the moment might be a better way to get the ideas flowing for your marketing campaigns.

A great example of creative marketing in the moment: The Oreo Daily Twist campaign.

“The philosophy behind much advertising is based on the old observation that every man is really two men — the man he is and the man he wants to be.”
-William Feather

Put ourselves in our customer’s shoes:  Everyone has a dream, an idea of what their best self is like. Use the quest to figure out who that is for your customer and how to help them be part of that story to inspire your marketing to new levels of creativity.

A great example of marketing to what people desire or aspire to: Old Spice “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign.

“When executing advertising, it’s best to think of yourself as an uninvited guest in the living room of a prospect who has the magical power to make you disappear instantly.”
-John O’Toole

The power of the user, especially in online and social marketing and public relations, can be daunting to think about. In fact, if we think too much about how many folks can click away from your message, we might find ourselves having a serious case of creativity block! Let us turn the thought on its head:  Think of all the creative ways we can make a guest not only feel welcome but incentivized to stick around awhile.

A great example of marketing crossing that “uninvited” barrier: Dove Self Esteem campaign.

“I have learned that any fool can write a bad ad, but that it takes a real genius to keep his hands off a good one.”
-Leo Burnett

We should never underestimate the power of restraint in our creative endeavors. Perfection is often our biggest roadblock to creating fantastic marketing or sharing compelling PR stories. Perfection can make a small business marketer wait far too long to send their marketing message out to the customer. If we learn to let our creativity take the lead, we will also know when to let our marketing campaigns fly on their own merits.

A great example of an ad showing restraint: Oreo gets the nod again here for resisting the urge to pepper their Daily Twist images with calls to action and other gimmicks.

“The things we fear most in organizations – fluctuations, disturbances, imbalances – are the primary sources of creativity.”
-Margaret J. Wheatley

Disruption, change, imbalance, fluidity, agility – none of these things come naturally to a brand. Yet these are the things that most push us to our creative limits and beyond. If we teach our marketing teams to look for, and embrace, the unusual; to ride the shifting trends. It will only lead to a more productive, creative marketing team for our brands.

Stories told in the face of great change are the stories that compel and propel. A great example of an ad that took a disruptive idea and ran with it: the classic Apple 1984 ad (and many of their ad campaigns thereafter).

Which quote listed above speaks the most to your creative side? Or do you have a gem of your own to share? Let us know in the comments.

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