3 Ways to Practice Clever and Creative Thinking

Back to Basics: 3 Ways to Practice Clever and Creative Thinking

If we want to support our customers, family, friends, colleagues, or anyone with any issue – actively listening has and will always help us find the solutions we need to help them. Sometimes, we don’t know. If you don’t have the answer to a problem, be honest about it. Spend some additional time asking questions, listening, and learning.

1. Listen More

Listening to people is what makes whatever services or products we have to offer matter to them.

I’ve personally tried and LOVE to do this in a verbal conversation: Ask a question by repeating what someone said back to them. If someone tells you, “I’ve had a tough go at organizing my time,” for example, you could reply with, “You’ve had trouble organizing your time?” They’ll always tell you more.

Another tip that can come in handy is recording conversations so you can listen later. Always make sure you get permission first!

2. Be Honest

Being authentic is our smartest, if not our only, option (and I don’t mean this in a buzzy buzzword kind of way). Anything less than the truth is moot. Consumers are pros at seeing through misleading marketing, and they want zero parts of it. They’re also likely tired of all the calls, texts, and emails beating them down with new offers and ridiculous spam. It’s exhausting.

The big question is: How do you share what your business can bring to others in a practical yet resourceful way?

Your content value will be significant over quality.

Over the past year, many businesses didn’t have the luxury of spending a ton of time strategizing and planning new and flashy ways to reach customers. They simply got real and spoke from the heart.

In other words, it doesn’t matter what your content looks like. It doesn’t matter how many blogs you publish, emails you send, or what keywords you’ll use. It only matters that you meet your audience where they are and that you’re being honest about whatever it is that you’re saying.

  • Create snackable content – quick, fun, engaging, to the point. Lots of fun ideas to get creative juices going here.
  • Address how your brand is going to help someone in a new age of virtual work and business. Join a new virtual networking community – it’s a great way to hear what others in your business community are doing to fuel your ideas.
  • Help people see themselves in your messaging. If you’re listening and being honest, they’ll undoubtedly be able to do that. Schedule quick 1:1 chats with your favorite customers. I’m sure they’d love to help you dive into this even more.

3. Know That There is No Box

“Today, you hear people talk about ‘thinking outside the box.’ But Walt would say, ‘No! Don’t think outside the box! Once you say that, you’ve established that there is a box.’ Walt would refuse to accept the existence of the box.” — Disney historian Jim Korkis in How to Be Like Walt: Capturing the Disney Magic Every Day of Your Life by Pat Williams and James Denney

It’s one of the most overused cliches: “Think outside of the box.”

Hi, what box is that, now?

Quite literally, there is no box. Maybe it’s a fabulous purse, a room, a weird concept…or, possibly, you have to create the “box.” See what I did there?

Figuratively speaking, the “box” is a metaphor for an unnecessary assumption that limits creativity. Ever hear of the nine-dot problem? Try it here.

So maybe there isn’t a box, but a group of people (customers) who are expected to spend their hard-earned money and invest their time on a business’s products and services. To be able to do this and do this well, I think companies will need to consistently create their own “box” or simply take a stand that the “box” never existed in the first place.

Instead, think about adaptability. Now is the time where we can’t just expect change.

Alternatively, we might:

  1. Actively look and listen for disruptions.
  2. Accept change right away, not fight it.
  3. Be able to move quickly when the time is right.

And remember – some needs will never change.

  • The need to show people how we bring value or offer a solution – in a way, they clearly and quickly understand.
  • The need to research and understand the customers who will want what you’re providing – before making any decisions to execute how you do it.
  • The need to realize that marketing and sales are different are the peanut butter and jelly of every sandwich.

Many agencies and businesses often claim to put their clients and customers first or make them the priority. However, the goals behind it all are mostly based on revenue or volume of sales/leads. Consider every detail of your customer’s life, who they are, what makes them tick, why you want to help them, and how you will convey that through every detail of your business – from colors and shapes to words and services delivered.

Put in the work into having conversations and researching to find out what you can do to make your product or service more meaningful for them.

  • Buyer personas
  • User testing
  • Talking to current customers or clients
  • Reading customer reviews
  • Looking at all and any data
  • Targeted surveys/questionnaires
  • Get input from all team members.
  • Brainstorm the hell out of everything.

Finding success in becoming more creative and smart with your marketing depends on how much you want to truly invest in it.

Whatever you decide to do, be open to pushing yourself to think more creatively, weirdly, and differently. Investing more of your time in new people and processes can bring you new perspectives and unique ways of looking at things that you may not have ever thought possible.


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