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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.

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                                          When The Dust Finally Settles  A Comprehensive Study Of The Actual Effects For Brands That Experience High-Profile Cultural Crises    More than ever, people are pressuring brands to improve society. And it’s not just about cleaning up their own act, it’s pressure to affect change on a wider scale. This leads to drama – sometimes high profile – when people think companies have misstepped. It results in bad press, boycotts, and more. We decided to tackle the topic from multiple angles with our own research. We selected a range of brands from diverse industries who have found themselves in hot water, and we did an in-depth analysis. The result of our research is significant. AMP Agency is now able to report how customer behavior actually changes after high profile incidents – from search and social media behavior to sales. For brands seeking to thrive in this new CSR environment – an endeavor that has lately felt like guesswork – we bring comprehensive, data-fueled guidance.   Download the full report here. 

In our continuing series of examining Google Search Trends to gain insights into the top keywords queried in the USA, we present our findings for August 2022. Every day, we capture the top three keyword phrases in terms of search volume as reported by Google Trends (US Only). Each term has an estimated query volume attached to it, which we also record. The number scale tops out at 10,000,000+ with a lower limit of 200,000+ (sometimes 100,000+). After the conclusion of the month, we look at the phrases we collected along with their volumes to get an understanding of what drove queries for the month. August 2022 - A Summary Looking through the top queried phrases by day last month, there were a few topics that surfaced as macro trends. As primary elections happened across different states, candidates and ballot questions landed in the top 3 daily queries.  The NFL preseason stoked interest in fans as they searched for their favorite team in Google results. The other big sports topic was Champions League soccer and we’ll present the sheer number of queries related to that European-centric subject. Lastly, there were TV and films that people wanted to learn more about and we’ll examine which ones were the most popular.   A Doodle and a Travolta Curiosity These two phrases were the only two that made the elusive 10 million plus club last month. Anna Mani - 8/22/2022 - 10,000,000+ queries Google changed their logo on August 23rd to celebrate “the 104th birthday of Indian physicist and meteorologist Anna Mani, one of the country’s first female scientists.”  You can read more about her on their post. We tend to see interesting Doodles get top query status as the logo is hyperlinked to a result page tied to a keyword - in this case, “Anna Mani”.  The second phrase is a bit of a head scratcher but it’s not unprecedented.  John Travolta - 8/8/2022 - 10,000,000+ queries On August 8th, Olivia Newton-John passed away and the news sent people to Google to search. When we first looked at Google's Daily Search Trends, it was her name that was the top query. From our experience, it takes 24 hours for the report to finalize.  We have seen queries shift or change completely when we revisit the report after that 24 hour period. When we looked back at the daily top 3 for August 8th on August 10th, the phrase above replaced the Olivia Newton-John query and it was the top queried phrase of the day.  The other surprising thing was there were no Olivia Newton-John related phrases in the top 3 at all.   SInce we have been collecting this data for years now, we recalled this same sort of phenomena happening when Kelly Preston, John Travolta's wife, died in 2020.  Here’s the top phrase from July 12th of that year: John Travolta - 7/12/2020 - 10,000,000+ queries Again, there are no queries related to Kelly Preston in the daily top three of that day.  The phrase that was reported was John Travolta’s name.  The AMP team is not sure what to make of this reporting shift. It doesn’t make sense that his name would be a higher queried phrase than either Olivia’s or Kelly’s.  It does make us wonder what kind of query consolidation is happening as the Daily Search Trends report gets finalized.  Is there a knowledge graph consideration? Does the weight of the John Travolta entity make the report combine related terms underneath it?  It’s odd, for sure, and for it to happen twice in the last two years is odder.  Pet Holidays Did you know that August has two days that celebrate two of the most popular household pets?  We didn’t either. CAT - 8/7/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries National Dog Day - 8/26/2022 - 200,000+ queries On International Cat Day, Google implemented a search result “Easter Egg” where the result page for the query “cat”  was altered with animation.   Although dogs are certainly more popular than cats nationwide, the enhanced result page helped to drive more search queries for cats on their special day this year.   Martin vs. Tolkien and Other Entertainment Every month, TV show and movie queries make the daily top 3.  AMP likes looking for these phrases to figure out how large the audience is for each.  Here are the top movie related keywords from August 2022: Batgirl - 8/2/2022 - 200,000+ queries Prey - 8/3/2022 - 200,000+ queries Prey - 8/5/2022 - 500,000+ queries Orphan: First Kill - 8/18/2022 - 200,000+ queries So, the Batgirl query is a bit of an anomaly since the volume behind it is related to the decision to never release this movie by Warner Bros. People really wanted to know where they could see the latest installment of the Predator franchise, Prey (Hint: Hulu & Disney+) Lastly, the horror film, Orphan: First Kill also received a top 3 query phrase placement on the 18th a day before its release date. A couple of non-epic fantasy TV shows made our collection. They include a new series about an established character and an awards show:   Wednesday Netflix - 8/17/2022 - 100,000+ queries VMAs 2022 - 8/28/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Netflix is producing a TV series about Wednesday Addams, a character from the fictional Addams Family.  A trailer for the show was released on the 17th.  Also, The MTV Video Music Awards still stir a buzz and search interest in this year’s show drove more than a million queries on the day it aired. As we alluded to in the previous section, the biggest news for the TV audience was the release of 2 anticipated fantasy shows last month: House of Dragon - 8/21/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Rings of Power - 8/31/2022 - 200,000+ queries From the query volume, it appears that the Game of Thrones prequel series is more popular than the Lord of the Rings prequel series. We’ll keep monitoring to see which show’s season finale makes the daily top 3.  Elections and Federal Acts With the first wave of elections this year, we saw some queries related to US politics with high volumes last month, if only for a day.  Liz Cheney - 8/15/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Harriet Hageman - 8/16/2022 - 500,000+ queries Alaska primary 2022 Results - 8/16/2022 - 200,000+ queries Mary Peltola - 8/31/2022 - 500,000+ queries On the 16th, U.S. representative for Wyoming Liz Cheney lost in the Republican primary to Harriet Hageman.The Alaska primary results were also popular as it led to Sarah Palin loss to Mary Petola in the special election to replace the late Rep. Don Young.  The other topics in this category were related to the Kansas special election and two measures moving forward in the Federal government. Kansas abortion amendment - 8/2/2022 - 500,000+ queries Inflation Reduction Act - 8/7/2022 - 200,000+ queries Student loans - 8/23/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Voters in Kansas decided to keep abortion legal in the state.  The Inflation Reduction Act getting voted into law and details of the student loan forgiveness program drove people to search.    August 2022’s Sports-Related Queries Do you know what gets keywords related to the NFL back into Google’s daily search trends?  The preseason. Raiders - 8/4/2022 - 500,000+ queries NFL - 8/4/2022 - 500,000+ queries Patriots - 8/11/2022 - 200,000+ queries 49ers - 8/12/2022 - 500,000+ queries Zach Wilson - 8/12/2022 - 500,000+ queries Steelers - 8/13/2022 - 500,000+ queries Dallas Cowboys - 8/13/2022 - 500,000+ queries Patriots - 8/19/2022 - 200,000+ queries 49ers - 8/20/2022 - 200,000+ queries 49ers - 8/25/2022 - 200,000+ queries Packers - 8/25/2022 - 200,000+ queries Dallas Cowboys - 8/26/2022 - 200,000+ queries Chicago Bears - 8/27/2022 - 200,000+ queries Steelers - 8/28/2022 - 500,000+ queries Did your favorite team make the list?  If so, you’re in good (large) company.  Major League Baseball’s season is still going on and a couple of phrases were  Juan Soto - 8/1/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Field of Dreams Game 2022 - 8/11/2022 - 500,000+ queries Juan Soto was included in a major trade between the Washington Nationals and the San Diego Padres.  The new featured game that takes place near a corn field also drove people to search for more information about it. If you didn’t think European soccer was popular in the USA, think again. Fulham vs Liverpool - 8/6/2022 - 200,000+ queries Everton vs Chelsea - 8/6/2022 - 200,000+ queries West Ham vs Man City - 8/7/2022 - 200,000+ queries Real Madrid - 8/9/2022 - 500,000+ queries Real Madrid - 8/13/2022 - 500,000+ queries Chelsea vs Tottenham - 8/14/2022 - 500,000+ queries Liverpool vs Crystal Palace - 8/15/2022 - 200,000+ queries Leeds United vs. Chelsea - 8/21/2022 - 200,000+ queries Man United vs Liverpool - 8/22/2022 - 500,000+ queries Champions League draw - 8/24/2022 - 500,000+ queries Liverpool vs Bournemouth - 8/27/2022 - 500,000+ queries Some members of the AMP team have a theory that online sports betting has increased the visibility of the Champions League in this country.  Looking at the phrases that are match-related where both teams are included, the checking of scores may be a reason for this query volume. Finally, Serena Williams’s progress in her last U.S. Open drove people to learn more.  She announced her retirement earlier last month.  Serena Williams - 8/29/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Other Topics Worthy of Mention Working with CPG brands, we monitor search queries for them to keep check on negative sentiment.  You hate to see it, but recalls can wreak havoc for a brand.  August 2022 was not a good month for Capri Sun Group Holding: Capri Sun recall - 8/15/2022 - 200,000+ queries People were looking to the skies with the full moon and the Aurora Borealis on their minds last month: Full moon August 2022 - 8/9/2022 - 200,000+ queries Northern Lights - 8/17/2022 - 200,000+ queries They kept thinking about those skies in anticipation of our continuing mission to the moon Artemis launch - 8/28/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Maybe someday that rocket will blast off. Thanks for reading. If you liked this article, we utilize search trends data for all of our clients and we invite you to learn more about our SEO services.

AMP Agency’s Top Trends of Fall 2022 Predictions Report   AMP Agency has published another report as a part of their Search Insights service. This report is available for download and provides consumer and audience insights to help inform your marketing and business decisions for the Autumn season. AMP Agency’s SEO Supervisor Kevin Davis dug deep into search query data to gather useful insights for this report. “We learned a lot from producing the Summer Trends report.  Using the tools available to us, we were able to not only find products, events, and activities relevant to this time of year but also predict the ones that will be very popular this year. Looking back at query data for the past 4 years, you can see increases in volume that we feel is a good indicator of interest in the future.  I am excited to share our findings in this report.”  The Top Trends of Fall 2022 report has insights on 40 topics across 8 different categories including holidays, home decor, and food & drink.  The data presented in the report is pulled straight from Google’s Keyword Planner (US only) and is paired with our analysis of why we think the topic will increase in popularity this Autumn. Download our 2022 Fall Trends report and learn more about our seasonable predictions for this coming season.

  • 2 min read
  • September 8, 2022