You’re walking around the city and something out of the corner of your eye catches your attention. You do a double take and realize that off to the right lies this titanic footprint with the coolest architecture you’ve ever seen. You decide to check it out, since after all, you’ve got some time to kill before going back to the office since you’re on lunch break. As you approach the giant footprint, you start to see really cool activations inside, something that you wish you’d thought of yourself. There are among other things, clever tag lines, mesmerizing displays, and naturally interactive brand ambassador roles.

How exactly do people come up with these things? Do experiential marketers just automatically know what type of campaign they want to pitch to their client as soon as they read the brief?

The obvious answer: no. These ideas take time, collaboration, research, and a full understanding of the client’s brief. Sure, some PR stunts can occur to someone at the blink of an eye – but that won’t happen often, and when it does happen, nine times out of ten the person who had the idea has been working on that field for a long time and already has a really good understanding of the history of stunts and campaigns that these brands have used.

So, how does an experiential marketer get their creative juices flowing? To this question, there is no obvious answer. There are many ways that individuals are able to channel their creativity in order to create something. Some people will turn to music for inspiration, while others will turn to art. Some experiential marketers will just want to sit in silence with their little scratch pad, pounding away at ideas, while others prefer to use subconscious problem solving and let themselves forget about the issue at hand until they’re so relaxed they come up with an idea.

Even with so many individual ways to channel one’s inner creative genius, there are a few steps that almost all experiential marketers go through in order to get their juices flowing.

First and foremost, it’s essential that every member of an experiential marketing team know that two heads are better than one. Working as a team allows many agencies to build on each other’s ideas, taking something that could’ve been good to something that will be great.

Each individual of the team should give themselves some time alone with the brief. Marketers should completely understand the client’s brief, so reading it more than once is usually good practice. A lot of marketers do a clean read first and then put it aside before re-reading it and starting to brainstorm.

Before experiential marketers start the brainstorming process, they should start doing some research. They should research the brand that they’re about to create a campaign for, their competition, and what both have done in the past in terms of marketing. This research will in turn allow the experiential marketer to have a better understanding of what’s been done, what was successful, how those things can be improved upon, and what they type of campaign they could create to be original. The experiential marketer may also want to do some research to related fields in order to see if they can modify any idea that’s been done in one market and apply it to their client’s needs.

That leads me to my next point. Brainstorming is invaluable in any creative process. Every experiential marketer brainstorms alone, without a filter, in order to prepare for the team’s brainstorm. If you want to know more about how brainstorms work, then check out The Art of The Brainstorm.

After individually brainstorming their own ideas, marketers then get together in order to perform a team brainstorm, where the team will collaborate to improve upon the best ideas that they’ve come up with individually.

The creative process doesn’t end at the brainstorm. After an idea is finally selected, there is still work to be done. Experiential marketers then have to begin the proposal deck. A lot of creativity is required in order to write adequate copy and come up with a mood board that not only gives the client a good idea of what the event will be like, but also adds some aesthetic weight to the deck.

The marketers working on this have to dig deep to find their creativity. They often write and re-write before getting to the final copy. The mood board inspiration can come from simply scrolling through pictures or sketching.

Creativity can be hard to find, but experiential marketers deal with channeling their inner creative persona on a daily basis. Practice will often make perfect, but when practice doesn’t cut it, the steps above often help marketers get their juices flowing.

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