1. Don’t be afraid to come up with stupid ideas
It’s these ideas that give inspiration, get widdled down, altered, revised and can eventually become the final picture. Also, your idea may help give someone else in your group a creative spark. Rarely does your first idea end up becoming your final outcome, and you have to start somewhere. Don’t be afraid to be the one in the room to get things started and create a baseline.
2. Don’t go at it alone
If you are trying to come up with something by yourself, you are approaching it from one perspective, and having other people involved can help with the collective creativity. This will allow you to bounce ideas off each other in a safe environment. It is best if this is a group made of peers, as it allows everyone to pitch their “stupid” ideas without judgement, or feeling the need to impress a superior. We have found that this relaxed environment is optimal for creative brainstorming. Also, try to get someone from the target audience involved, this could be a current customer or prospective client. Clients can provide incredible insights on the impact of your potential ideas, and execution.
3. Have a specific objective
i.e. attendee engagement, social media impressions, followers, leads, ROI etc. to make sure everyone can stay on task. This will allow for some crazy ideas to come into discussion, but ultimately keep the goal in focus and objectives in mind. The only time ideas are a bad thing, are when they start to deviate from your ultimate objective
4. Multiple perspectives
Even if you are tasked to come up with a creative idea by yourself, and do not have a team to bring multiple perspectives, try to put yourself in other people’s shoes. Try to see the idea from the side of your boss, colleagues, the intended audience, and imagine how your idea interacts with all of them. If possible, reach out to your current clients, and see what is most impactful for them. Many times, you will be surprised to hear that what is important to your client, may not be aligned with what your team thought they cared about.
5. Take risks, and don’t be afraid to fail
The best part of failing, is learning… Many times, failing has unintended results. These results may not be the desired outcome, but they can become the inspiration for something that you had never thought of before. Failing is never fun, nor ideal, but if it is important to use those moments to learn. It is far better to try, fail, and learn than to never try at all.
The beautiful thing about being creative, is that there is always a specific goal behind the creativity. In the trade show world, it is to stand out amongst the sea of competitors, to make sure attendees know who you are, and what you do, and hopefully become a long-term client. There still needs to be purpose behind it. Every marketing manager will tell you that they would rather have 50 high quality leads, than 500 leads that were just scanned in order to enter your raffle for a free car. Just like most other things, creativity is a skill that can be practiced and learned. Do some research, find inspirational ideas, and run wild with them!