Albert Einstein once said, “creativity is contagious, pass it on” and after taking part in the #31DaysOfCreativity challenge, I think the genius was on to something.
The challenge has been organised by the lovely ladies at Comms Creatives, who have encouraged people to sign up to their mailing list to receive a simple creative task that takes between one and 15 minutes, every day throughout January, direct to their inbox. It’s involved taking a creative photo, writing a short poem on a particular topic, trying out a new app and scribbling a little diagram on paper.
The hash tag has captured the attention of comms, PR and marketing professionals from every sector, across social media and while taking part has certainly been fun, it has also been a good opportunity to think about things a bit differently and unlock some new ideas.
The UK housing sector really embraced the challenge. Here are a few top takeaways (and favourite posts) from the last few weeks, which have demonstrated, not only the value of embracing creativity, but also how to engage people in a successful comms campaign:
There is a common misconception that in order to launch an effective campaign, you need a big budget to accompany it. However, with #31DaysOfCreativity, Hel Reynolds at Comms Creatives has shown that there is always more than one way to approach projects, and, often, you have the resources already at your fingertips.
In fact, taking part in the challenge has been completely free. As the Comms Creatives specialise in delivering social media courses, some of which they are relaunching this year and are available to sign-up to, the challenge has mostly been a way for the organisation to tell us about the wide range of tips and tools available to create more engaging content.
Those of us who consistently took part in the campaign throughout January found ourselves inspired to share the work of our colleagues and organisations, in ways we previously hadn’t explored. For example, on day two, we were challenged with explaining how to make toast without using words; Edward Thomas, group head of marketing and communications at the Wrekin Housing Group, managed to find a fun way of doing this, which also involved putting together a short video with the chefs at his organisation’s canteen. Watch here.
Another creative example came from Charlotte Bevan, digital communications officer at Homes England. On day 14 when we were challenged to recycle a piece of paper and create some origami, she managed to promote her organisation without even intending to! She said: “It was luck rather than judgment with how perfectly placed the branding ended up!”
Both of Ed and Charlotte demonstrated that simple concepts can assist you in telling people more about your organisation, by making the most of what’s around you.
This brings me onto my next takeaway. With so many people using social media and sharing content, it can be tricky to find a way to make your posts stand out. All social media strategies start with quality content and before you dive in, it’s important to consider what your organisation is trying to achieve online.
To do this, you should first begin by working out your organisation’s tone of voice and key messaging. Without it there will be no clear strategy for your content, which could see you going unnoticed or wandering into unwanted territory.
Day 12 of #31DaysOfCreativity was a great exercise for demonstrating how to approach this, as we were asked to create a graphic that demonstrated our personal style. I thought freelance copywriter Amanda Bates’ contribution said a lot about her and what she believes to be important.
Rather than simply writing a list of buzzwords for your organisation, see how you can create something similar. You may find it inspires some ideas!
Every single day – even on the weekend – the challenge has been a great reminder of how the delivery of our work can really impact the success of a campaign. Words can be incredibly powerful, but sometimes and especially online, presenting our ideas visually can take it one step further.
From video to photography, there are a wide range of elements comms teams can incorporate into their PR and marketing plan. Before we get to that
point though, there are a host of tactics we can consider, helping us to digest all the key information and put a plan together. On day 17, when we were asked to watch a TED talk and rather than make notes, draw symbols and other icons to represent what the
video was teaching us, Gerraint Oakley, regional managing director at Keepmoat Homes, really impressed me with his sketch note.
Now, to my final point: I often tell my clients that timing is everything, and the Comms Creatives campaign is a perfect example of what I mean. After all of the Christmas and New Year festivities, January can feel like a very slow and tiring month.
While many people start the year feeling hopeful and ready to try new things – making it a perfect time to raise awareness about social media courses and teach people new skills – maintaining motivation throughout the first weeks of the year can be difficult.
The reason I think the #31DaysOfCreativity challenge has done so well, is the way it has stuck to its original focus: encouraging people to try new things and be brave.
It has been clearly well thought-out and put together in a way that is engaging and fun, whilst giving participants food for thought – which is exactly what campaigns designed to inspire us into action should be about.
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Sara-Anne Mills-Bricknell is an Account Manager at See Media