Remember Audrey 2, the oversized, smooth-talking plant that terrorized all of Skid Row with his incessant and increasing demands for blood?
That’s how I’ve come to think of the shopper, with her booming voice and bottomless need to be fed. But instead of O-negative, this creature hungers for retail experiences. Ravenous and insatiable, she has big demands and a short attention span. It’s up to the retail marketer to keep her satisfied.
That requires a steady stream of intriguing, engaging, branded shopper experiences. That requires energetic ideation. That requires fearless creating.
To create bravely, a retail marketer must muscle through barriers and drive forward, ignoring all the doubting voices, whether they come from across the table or (even more challenging) from inside the head.
Here are six ways creatives can psych themselves out:
Simultaneous creation and evaluation
Creating means visualizing, connecting, imagining and considering possibilities. When we evaluate, we are analyzing and judging, picking apart ideas and sorting the great from the not so great. Most people evaluate too soon and too often, and therefore create less. In order to develop more and better ideas, clearly separate creation from evaluation. Think now, appraise later.
Most people remember baseball legend Babe Ruth as one of the great hitters of all time, with a career record of 714 home runs. However, he was also a master of the strike out. That’s because he always swung for home runs. Ruth either succeeded big or failed spectacularly. Of course, no one wants to make mistakes or fail. But in trying too hard to avoid failure, one might actually avoid success. To increase the success rate, aim to make more mistakes.
Most great, bold ideas are born from a twister of chaos. It’s critical that the creative thinker becomes comfortable with mess and confusion. Trust that things will work, even when not sure how.
A certain level of uncertainty accompanies every creative act. A small measure of self-doubt is healthy. However, authentic confidence is mandatory in order to create and activate effective solutions to retail marketing problems. Much of this comes from experience, but confidence also comes from familiarity with how creativity works. Understand that ideas often seem wild at first, that failure is just a learning experience and that nothing is impossible, and feel the confidence build. There are a million pathways to success.
Listening to other people
It’s great to have a limitless imagination and the ability to see what’s possible. But know that many people at the table will not. These folks naturally default to conformity, sensibility and “the way we’ve always done it.” Ignore them. The path to every big win is paved with predictions of failure.
Hiding behind information
They call it “analysis paralysis,” the condition of spending so much time thinking about a problem and cramming the brain with so much information that the ability to make a creative move is lost. Information is to the brain what food is to the body. Overeating can be a problem. So can overthinking. Know when to stop researching and start making ideas.