Brain Dump


Recharging Creative Teams: 7 Tips for CMOs & Creative Directors

We’ve all been there: struggling through a brainstorming session or getting stumped finding a fresh perspective for a long-time client’s brand. When people are counting on you and your team for new ideas that drive big results, you need vibrant, dynamic and motivated creatives in your corner.

As a CMO, creative director or marketing team lead, recognize that it’s not uncommon for your staff to feel stale or uninspired, especially when working on the same repetitive projects. So how can you reignite their creativity and ensure that you continue to deliver innovative and impactful work?

Cultivate a culture of innovation. Create an environment where ideas are welcomed, valued and celebrated. Establish an open-door policy that encourages team members to share their thoughts, suggestions and ideas without fear of judgment or criticism.

When team members feel heard and respected, they are more likely to think outside the box. This not only sparks creativity but also strengthens teamwork and builds a sense of camaraderie.

Mix it up. Seek out opportunities for cross-pollination of ideas by organizing regular brainstorming sessions or knowledge-sharing workshops.

A fresh perspective can often be as simple as a change in surroundings for these types of gatherings. Meet outside during nice weather, leave the conference room in favor of the office kitchen (with snacks!) or regroup at a local coffee shop during its afternoon lull. Another idea: Try a dose of reverse brainstorming. It’s different, fun and surprisingly effective.

Explore innovative uses for technology tools. For example, input keywords from a creative brief into an AI image generator or stock photo site to see how the algorithm interprets the inputs. The results can lead your team’s thinking in different directions and spark new theme ideas for a client’s email campaign.

Balance time constraints and ideation. It can feel like walking a tightrope — meeting deadlines while giving your team enough time to come up with creative ideas. Are they feeling the pressure?

Striking a balance requires you to be honest with yourself about your team’s strengths and weaknesses and provide them with a clear understanding of the project’s demands. Set realistic deadlines, keeping in mind the need to research, brainstorm and collaborate, sometimes before any actual writing or design happens. This is all part of the creative process.

Get touchy-feely. Research has long linked manipulatives to improved creative thinking output and problem-solving.

Try exploring inexpensive tools typically used by occupational therapists for fine motor therapy, such as pipe cleaners, squishy balls or fidget spinners. Our personal favorites include Play-Doh (ahh, that smell) and juggling balls, as well as products from author and creativity guru Roger von Oech.

Provide challenges and growth opportunities. Repetitive projects can quickly lead to stagnation and disengagement. So inspire your creative team with new opportunities that keep them excited and motivated.

Depending on the size of your organization, try scattering team members across different projects or brands. Or consider assigning them to projects outside their comfort zones, to encourage them to take risks, grow and learn. These strategies can expose them to fresh ideas while also helping them develop a diverse skill set.

Celebrate achievements. Take the time to regularly acknowledge your team’s hard work, creativity and dedication. Just received a complimentary email from a client? Be sure to forward it their way. Sometimes the little things mean the most.

In addition to celebrating achievements, it’s equally important to promote work-life balance and employee well-being. Encourage team members to take breaks, pursue hobbies and recharge their creative batteries. Remember, a well-rested and balanced team is more likely to deliver exceptional work.

Reviving your creative teams is a continuous process that requires dedication and effort from leadership. But it’s worth it when you have a trusted team that consistently knocks it out of the park.

Authored by: Lisa FahouryRecharging Creative Teams: 7 Tips for CMOs & Creative Directors
Share this post