Our Marketing Blog

Our industry is ever-changing. Get insights and perspective from our experts as we share our knowledge and experience on how to successfully navigate the marketing landscape.

Hack Your Creativity: How Marketers Can Get Creative In Uninspiring Times

A marketer’s job is fueled by creativity. Whether you’re an Account Manager finding a unique way to distribute an annual budget, a Strategist hunting for an insight, or a Project Manager designing a plan for an omnichannel campaign, we are constantly leveraging creativity to come up with unique solutions for our clients.

But creativity is an elusive beast, and the shift to self isolation and work from home life does not help. If you’ve felt a creative drain lately, you’re not alone: the way we live and work now is actively restricting our creativity by sapping most of our daily inspiration. The good news is that creativity can be hacked. By understanding how creativity works we can reorient and take steps to stoke it.

So how does creativity work?

Think back to basic chemistry: matter cannot be created or destroyed, but rather converted through different reactions. Ideas work the same way. In his seminal book on creativity, A Technique for Producing Ideas, James Webb Young states that “an idea is nothing more nor less than a new combination of elements”. In other words: ideas don't appear out of thin air (though they often feel that way). They’re a combination of observations, thoughts, and other ideas. That combining is the creative process. You don't have to be a painter or a poet to be creative, you just have to be able merge different sources of inspiration.

What to do when your inspiration well runs dry

While COVID has flipped countless parts of daily life on its head, it’s also changed how we get inspired. Our space and interactions are limited, so whereas before we might have noticed a billboard from a new brand on our daily commute or picked up an interesting anecdote from a breakroom conversation, we now have to manufacture ways to take in new information. Here are a few easy ways to get started:

  1. Ask your coworkers what they’re up to


    Regular check-ins with your team are probably a part of your weekly schedule, but it’s key to listen to those outside of your daily accounts. You never know when a tactic or learning from another account can be applied to your own. At AMP, along with regular department meetings, the national Strategy department Slack channel is constantly buzzing with questions, resources, and POVs that can be applied across the agency.

    Aside from business tactics, it’s also important to ask about your coworkers’ day to day lives. First, because it makes you a thoughtful human being, and second, because it gives you a fresh perspective on the daily lives of consumers that may be different from your own. Recently, a side conversation with a coworker about making TikToks with his family sparked an idea for a cultural briefing deck I had been stuck on. When it comes to inspiration, tangents are just as valuable as shop talk.
  2. Change up your routine


    With so many of us working from home, our daily routines have become even more rote. Following the same pattern every day isn’t just disorienting, it limits your exposure to new information. Shake up your routine by taking a short walk in a new part of your neighborhood, or swapping one of your daily news sources for a newsletter that curates content from across the internet (I’m partial to Open in New Tab, a weekly note from our Associate Creative Director Liz Furze). Something as small as trying a new breakfast food can help you shake up your perspective (I’m looking at you steel cut oats).
  3. Take a step back


    This is a step that often gets left out. Ever wonder why some of your best ideas come to you in the shower? That’s your unconscious mind suddenly spitting out the inputs you gave it earlier. It may seem counterintuitive, but giving your brain space is an essential part of the creative process. As Webb Young writes, after you’ve gathered all the inspiration you can and processed it, “drop the problem completely, and turn to whatever stimulates your imagination and emotions. Listen to music, go to the theatre or movies, read poetry or a detective story. In the first stage you have gathered your food. In the second you have masticated it well. Now the digestive process is on. Let it alone - but stimulate the flow of gastric juices.” (Apologies for the colorful analogy.)

    It can feel impossible to unplug from work and the 24 hour news cycle. Know that taking a step back is another step in creating ideas. Once you put yourself in a new frame of mind, you open your brain up for thoughts to collide and form fresh, shiny ideas. 

We hope these tips help you. If you’re still stuck, give us a shout.

Related Posts

What is the Most Popular Dog Breed After COVID?

Engagements. Breakups. Weddings. Pregnancy announcements. Needless to say, a lot of major life events filled peoples’ timelines during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of our personal favorites to see at AMP was the increase in pet adoptions – specifically dogs. This surge in furry friends not only brought smiles to our faces, but an important question to the front of our SEO team’s minds: What is the most popular dog breed since COVID? An analysis of the most queried “adopt + dog breed” searches shows which kinds of pooches Americans gravitated towards when looking for some extra company during the doldrums of the COVID-19 quarantine, and which dogs breeds are the least popular according to organic search data. How did you determine the most popular dog breeds? To identify the most popular pups during COVID, AMP used DogTime.com’s list of All Dog Breeds to create a list of 455 dog breeds and breed-mixes. We then added the word “adopt” before each breed, meaning breed names like “Border Collie” became “Adopt Border Collie.” Once we had our final list, we entered the queries into Google Ads Keyword Planner and exported the last 48 months worth of Monthly Search Volume data about each breed, going back to April 2017. “MSV” is the rough number of queries a keyword gets in organic search. Since Google is the most popular search engine in the country by far, we use their data to paint the most accurate picture we can of the search habits of the American public. Using this data, we can visualize interest spikes for certains breeds and try to correlate them with real world events – most notably the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders when many American realized just how empty their houses could get as hours spent inside turned to days and weeks. Most popular dog breeds before and after COVID: Keyword Avg MSV adopt golden retriever 14,300 adopt french bulldog 13,815 adopt corgi 11,219 adopt pug 9,952 adopt greyhound 8,075 adopt husky 7,260 adopt dachshund 6,525 adopt poodle 6,144 adopt pomeranian 5,681 adopt chihuahua 5,546 Do you know someone with a new Golden? Evidence suggests you might. Maybe it was all the Tucker Budzyn videos we were watching during quarantine, but as can be plainly seen, the popularity of Golden Retrievers surged higher than any other breed during quarantine and continued to do so after, reaching new highs in interest in November 2020 and January 2021. Before the quarantine, the ever-Instagramable French Bulldog (or “Dutchie” as they are known colloquially) was the most sought-after dog during the majority of months throughout the last four years. You can see it indicated by the orange line on the graph. Many other breeds have been the “breed of the month” since May 2017. Corgis, Greyhounds, and Pugs have all competed for the top spot. “Adopt Greyhound” in particular experienced a major MSV increase in November of 2018, which correlates with a ban on Greyhound racing overwhelmingly passed by Florida voters in that month. Since at the time Florida contained 11 of the country’s 17 remaining dog tracks, there was a massive newsburst relating to how Americans could adopt these soon to be jobless pups.  https://lifehacker.com/how-to-adopt-a-racing-greyhound-after-the-florida-ban-1830343694  Which dog breeds are the most adopted according to organic search interest? When users are specifically looking to “adopt” a breed, these are the ten breeds they are most likely to search: Keyword Avg MSV adopt golden retriever 14,300 adopt french bulldog 13,815 adopt corgi 11,219 adopt pug 9,952 adopt greyhound 8,075 adopt husky 7,260 adopt dachshund 6,525 adopt poodle 6,144 adopt pomeranian 5,681 adopt chihuahua 5,546 According to our data, April and May 2020 were nearly tied for the most popular month ever to adopt a dog, showing that at a time when spirits were down and man needed a friend, there was none better than his (or her) best. With this in mind, humans have been doing a great job upholding their end of the bargain. Since the start of the pandemic, interest in adopting different breeds of dogs has grown by an average of 81% over pre-quarantine numbers. Which breeds benefited most from the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders? The Lagotto Romagnolo sticks out to us as the single breed with the greatest increase in sustained interest resulting from the stay-at-home orders, presumably because “I just adopted a new Lagotto Romagnolo” is so fun to say. This guy https://dogtime.com/dog-breeds/lagotto-romagnolo  Over the last 48 months, 67.85% of all searches for “adopt Lagotto Romagnolo” came during the last 13 months, March 2020 to April 2021. In March 2020, MSV was 480 searches a month; however, April showed a growth of 83% to 880. Which are the least popular dog breeds during stay-at-home orders? Pretty much all dogs got a boost during the COVID lockdowns from the Affenpinscher to the Yorkshire Terrier. That being said, some breeds did see a reduction in adoption interest since the start of quarantine, or at least didn’t experience the interest bump that other breeds saw. The least popular breeds during quarantine are shown below and they are, for the most part, unsurprisingly, NOT creatures you would want to be stuck with indoors. The honorees are semi-feral Canaan Dog- a variety of Jordanian street dog, and the presumably entirely feral Australian Dingo. Cute, but not an optimal Netflix companion. The 3.5 billion different Google searches that take place every single day are all the result of human curiosity. We trust search engines with our most intimate and our most mundane questions. While your individual search history will always hopefully remain anonymous, the aggregate search history of the public at large is not. If a query is asked often enough, by enough unique individuals, it will be assigned an average number of monthly searches. We can make use of this information by exploring the many different queries relating to a topic and analyzing how the search volume of different queries changes from month to month. By utilizing our Search Intelligence services, AMP can help you unlock a trove of valuable market intelligence data sourced directly from the Google queries of your customers. If you have an interest in analyzing search data to drive brand & business decisions or in monitoring search data on an ongoing basis for up-to-date audience insights, you may want to learn more about our SEO agency services.

AMPlifier - Social Media Industry Update - Week of June 7, 2021

Welcome to the AMPlifier – a spotlight on the latest and greatest industry updates. Whether you want to learn more about this week’s marketing trends, the newest updates to your favorite social media platforms, or simply what meme is currently taking the internet by storm, then read on. You never know what you might learn. TWITTER LAUNCHES 'TWITTER BLUE', ITS NEW, PAID SUBSCRIPTION OFFERING FOR ADD-ON TWEET FEATURES You've seen it in testing, and now it's here, with Twitter officially launching its new 'Twitter Blue' subscription service, which will enable users to pay a monthly fee to gain access to a range of additional tweet features and tools. INSTAGRAM ADDS NEW 'DROPS' PRODUCT SHOWCASE TO HELP BOOST ECOMMERCE ACTIVITY Instagram has launched a new product showcase option today called 'Drops', which will highlight the latest product launches from brands you've engaged with, or may be interested in, at the top of the Shop tab in the app. FACEBOOK OPENS UP MESSENGER API FOR INSTAGRAM, PROVIDING NEW CUSTOMER SERVICE POTENTIAL Facebook announced an expansion of its Messenger API for Instagram, which will enable businesses to feed their Instagram Direct messages into their existing CRM platform, streamlining management and response. TWITTER CONTINUES WORK ON ITS NEW SPACES TAB, ADDS EDITING OPTIONS FOR SCHEDULED SPACES As Clubhouse downloads continue to slow, Twitter continues to add new elements to boost the use of its own audio Spaces option, which will soon include a new, dedicated Spaces tab in the middle of the bottom function bar to improve Spaces discovery.     That’s a wrap on this week’s feed. Stay tuned to see what happens next.

AMPlifier - Social Media Industry Update - Week of June 1, 2021

Welcome to the AMPlifier – a spotlight on the latest and greatest industry updates. Whether you want to learn more about this week’s marketing trends, the newest updates to your favorite social media platforms, or simply what meme is currently taking the internet by storm, then read on. You never know what you might learn. NEW INSTAGRAM INSIGHTS MAKE ITS TIKTOK COMPETITOR REELS MORE APPEALING Instagram launched new Insights for Reels and Live on its Professional Dashboard, giving businesses and creators essential data about the reach of their content. These tools will help Reels catch up with its competitor TikTok, which already offers users detailed analytics. As Instagram and TikTok continue trying to keep up with one another, it can only be a good thing for influencers and small businesses that use these platforms to bolster their income. INSTAGRAM ROLLS OUT NEW OPTION TO HIDE LIKE COUNTS ON POSTS, WHICH IS ALSO COMING TO FACEBOOK It's been in testing for a while, and has even been implemented as the only display option in some regions. But this week Instagram has announced the next stage of its experiments in hiding like counts on posts, with all Facebook and Instagram users soon set to be able to choose whether or not they display like counts on each of their updates.   PINTEREST NOW FACILITATES MORE THAN 5 BILLION SEARCHES PER MONTH For context, Pinterest last, officially reported its total search volume in 2016, when it was facilitating 2 billion searches every month. That means Pinterest has increased its search volume by 150% over the last five years - which, given the pandemic, and the subsequent boost for eCommerce and online product discovery, is not overly surprising. But it does provide some additional context on Pinterest's user traffic, with the majority of these searches (if not all) for products that people are looking to buy.   That’s a wrap on this week’s feed. Stay tuned to see what happens next.