1. Don’t marry your first idea.
As a creative, with every project you start at ground zero. A brief, a presumed audience and some goals are all you get. That’s not much of a lifeline, so when an idea finally emerges, there is a complete feeling of relief. But a first idea is like a first love. Many times it does not last. That’s why it’s important to fight with yourself, go against instinct and move away from familiar ground. Chances are, where you end up will be much better than where you contentedly started.
2. Make time to waste time
We all have deadlines. But generating words, ideas and pictures by sitting at your desk or conference room isn't all that conducive to creative thinking. If you are trying to connect with an audience, you need to be one. Do things completely unrelated to the project to cleanse your mind and rejuvenate your thoughts. Hit the gym, catch up on your instant queue or just take a walk. So often, we see these actions as time wasters, but they can actually make the brain more productive. Bake that time in.
3. Selling ideas is as important as having them
Your idea may be gold, but if you can’t package it, open it up, and let others see the see your vision, the idea will die. Selling begins with yourself, moves to your partner, an array of creative directors, account people, agency brass and clients. It’s important that in every step, the idea is simple and concrete. Pictures work much better than words, so if you can articulate visually, you will be better served. Be confident, think it all through and be prepared to defend at every step.
4. Participation leads to inspiration
Whenever I am mentoring a creative, this is the first thing that comes out of my mouth. But often times, younger creatives are naturally participatory. Whether you live your life on social media or not, participating is important (and sometimes not readily adopted by older creatives). Chase the new, but don't get caught up in shine over substance. Remember, It’s hard to have a POV on Vine, if you’ve never created one.
5. Don’t be the ball, be the cup
As much as I love Caddyshack, the advice to “be the ball” doesn’t work in advertising. The best thinking happens when you consider flow and destination. As marketing channels become spread out and democratized, it’s important to be smart and transcend. If you encountered this idea as a viewer, how would you react? Stop thinking about delivering the message, and think of how it will be received, especially through a non-marketing and personally reflective looking glass.