Agency professionals are creative individuals, but even they need somewhere to draw their creative endeavors from. No artistic development is possible without the aid of inspiration.
In today’s fast-paced world, where our brain is constantly bombarded with tons of information, finding the necessary peace of mind of seek and be open to inspiration can sometimes be more difficult. But sometimes, inspiration can be drawn from the most mundane sources and at the most random times — all that matters is keeping an open mind.
To help, 15 contributors to Forbes Agency Council reveal their sources of inspiration and how agency professionals can leverage the things they might not even realize are inspirational to give their creativity a leg up.
1. Go Straight To The Source
When I need inspiration, I often go straight to the source: hanging out with the people I’m trying to reach. Sometimes that means hanging out at a mall, truck stop, grocery store, doctors office, sports arenas — wherever the target may be hanging out and interacting with the brand at hand. It’s similar to method acting. Be the target. Then back away, go for a run and the answer will come. – Brandon Murphy, 22squared.com
2. Learn From Your Customers
When searching for inspiration, I look back at customer stories presented at our annual customer summit. It’s truly inspiring to hear how far these organizations have come — no matter what problem they’re solving or what industry they serve. Hearing how our customers are continually innovating and driving progress motivates me to think creatively about how we can help make that possible. – Michaela Dempsey, Scout RFP
3. Chat With Friends In Other Fields
So many of my friends work in fields that are completely unrelated to what I do. I love getting together and catching up on what they are working on. It is inspiring to hear people that work in medicine or law or entertainment tell their stories and how they are growing and changing lives. To me, that is always inspiring because it makes me want to be better. – Zachary Binder, Bell + Ivy
4. Talk With Trusted Peers And Team Members
Daily conversations with my trusted peers and team members is often where I draw the most inspiration. Whether it’s a story about Monday morning mishaps with toddlers or attending a roundtable with local executives, organic conversations are more meaningful and lead to more ideas compared to me searching for inspiration online. – Keri Witman, Cleriti
5. Seek The Advice Of Thought Leaders
My inspiration comes from thought leaders — people who have a different take on business and life. Tapping into those with a new and fresh perspective always changes my thinking. And it’s the challenging of thinking that I believe creates the fertile ground for creativity and inspiration. – Drew Gerber, Wasabi Publicity, Inc.
6. Create A ‘War Room’
When we are at the beginning of a project, we cover the wall of our conference room with other ads and imagery that inspire us — competitive ads, target audience imagery and existing materials to visually surround us with who we are trying to reach. By living in our target audience’s world throughout the creative process, we find inspiration that typically leads to smart and relevant messaging. – Katie Schibler Conn, KSA Marketing + Partnerships
7. Use Social Media
I personally love using Facebook Groups to share and learn new strategies. The great things about groups is that people are willing to share what they tested and implemented rather than hypothetical messaging. – Sam Founda, Social Connection
8. Use The Full Power Of The Agency
I like to use the full power of my agency. Hold regular team-wide brainstorms with team members who are on disparate accounts. Challenge your team members to bring a fresh perspective or a new trend to a brainstorming session, and use it to inspire new ideas. One book I always keep on hand to help is “Non-Obvious: How To Predict Trends And Win The Future” by Rohit Bhargava. – Kathleen Lucente, Red Fan Communications
9. Be A News Junkie
For me, inspiration comes from staying on top of what’s going on in the world, including international issues, U.S. politics, business and tech news and more. I find this approach sparks connections that enable us to elevate our work for clients beyond selling a product to being active participants in the marketplace of ideas. – Scott Baradell, Idea Grove
10. Think Outside The Industry
A great exercise for spurring creativity is to approach a challenge from the perspective of another industry. For example, if your client is in finance, brainstorm how an airline or sports team might tackle the situation — with a social media campaign, an influencer engagement, an experiential event? You’d be surprised how many of these ideas you can then extrapolate to the original task at hand. – Jade Rose Faugno, Intermarket
11. Get Out From Behind Your Computer
For me, inspiration comes from getting out from behind my computer. Being out in the real world and experiencing new things is the best way to get the spark of inspiration. That’s why live experiences and events that draw on all fives senses can be so inspirational. Theater, art, sports — they all are experiential mediums and can help get the brain thinking about new ways to attack old challenges. – Chris Cavanaugh, Freeman
12. Turn To The Arts
Studies show that art in the workplace gets the creative juices flowing and increases productivity. If you are looking for a source of added inspiration, turn to the arts. Take some time and go to a museum, see a play, go to the symphony or check out a few galleries. Mental blocks start to dissolve when you become engaged with the expressiveness of an artist’s creation. Get inspired via the arts. – Henry Kurkowski, One WiFi
13. Get Some Exercise Daily
I start every day with a 10-mile bike ride, and I’ve found that this is the best way to juice my creativity. It gets me out of my head and looking around, and I have so many ideas and honestly feel so creative that it makes me want to set up an art studio somewhere so I can paint again — but I do get a lot of good ideas for my business, too. It’s an ideal way to jump-start your creativity. – Joy Gendusa, PostcardMania
14. Watch A Film
One thing that I love about film is that it is a common medium that captures the hearts and the minds of all who take it in. The reason that it is so important is that you have a limited means of communication and a complex message must be delivered. I think film is the most universal form of communication because it is gotten by all viewers from all backgrounds. A great way to simplify a thought. – Jon James, Ignited Results
15. Listen To Podcasts
I love a good podcast, especially when I can learn from successful entrepreneurs. Two of my favorites are NPR’s How I Built This and Raising the Bar with Alli and Michael (founders of Drybar). Both have interviews with heads of companies such as Peloton, Shopify, Yelp and NYX. I’m a big dog lover, so I multitask by listening to the podcasts and getting some inspiration while walking my dogs. – Katy Boos, Remix Marketing Inc.