7 Creative Ways to Come Up with New Advertising Ideas

Creative block affects even the most talented of individuals. New ideas don’t always magically appear with the flick of a wand or keystroke. Sometimes in order to come up with new concepts for an advertising campaign, you’ve got to go looking for them. So if you don’t feel like staring into the starry sky for several hours waiting for your internal lightbulb to go off, here are 7 creative ways to find new advertising ideas:

Study Your Brand

Your company isn’t just selling a product. It is selling an idea. As founder of the brand agency Spencer Brenneman, Douglas Spencer, puts it your brand “speaks to the emotional side of decisions.” It helps you “articulate who you are at your core in a way that is relevant and competitively differentiated from all the other options your customers have.”

Studying your brand’s promise and core values can reset your focus. There may be some aspects of your brand that you’ve really honed in on as a business, while others might be lacking attention. If your company values being innovative leaders in your field or strong corporate social responsibility (CSR), but your last four campaigns have focused primarily on innovation, then it may be time to frame a campaign based around CSR.

Maybe one of those previous campaigns that fixated on innovation can be retooled in a CSR mindset. For example, if you recently ran an ad campaign about new technology that can help boost a WiFi range or signal, maybe consider running a volunteering-based campaign that would help get that technology to developing and third-world countries that don’t yet have access to WiFi. Now, you not only have a new, creative idea, but you’re staying true to your brand and are appealing to another side of your buyer persona that hasn’t been getting as much attention.

Speaking of buyer personas…

Interact with Your Buyer Persona

Need new ideas? Speak with the people that are going to buy what you are selling. Thanks to technology, you can do this in a variety of ways, including but not limited to:

  • Running a focus group
  • Hosting an interactive webinar or Q/A
  • Talking to customers on social media
  • Scrolling through forums
  • Reading customer or product reviews
  • Studying Reddit

You can interact with your buyer personas with little to no cost for you and end up with a treasure trove of new, creative ideas. Maybe one of them loved the last Facebook ad you ran, or that Instagram Story that caught a lot of traction. Maybe they have strong opinions about what they like or don’t like about your product or the product of one of your competitors. Feedback from your customers is invaluable in many ways, and coming up with new campaign ideas is undoubtedly one of them.

Reach Out to Your Employees

If you are looking for some new, creative ideas, you may not have to search any further than down the hall. Ask your employees and co-workers for advice—odds are that many of them have a lot to say. Your sales team, for instance, is in constant contact with customers and, because they use your content to guide the sale, they can probably provide you with feedback and ideas for new content. Marketers are just as useful, but so are your interns, administrative assistants, new recruits— anyone associated with the company.

Employees care, perhaps now more than ever, about the companies that they work for and place a strong emphasis on their value. In a report recently released by Hubspot, 87% of candidates joined a company specifically because of its culture. Additionally, 88% of millennials and minorities place a substantial value on being part of the right company culture.

Reaching out to your employees won’t only get new ideas and strengthen company bonds, but the response you acquire can be ripe with multiple, excellent future campaign strategies.

Attend Mixers

Never underestimate the power of happy hour.

Attending a meet-and-greet allows you to socialize with others in your niche. Forming connections and building bonds with like-minded people is a surefire way to help you come up with new, creative ideas. Even better, because these people are under the same umbrella as you are, you run the risk of receiving more relevant, quality ideas by interacting with them.

Making friends in your niche gives you access to people who will want you to succeed. Discussing what you’re working on could also inspire someone to play devil’s advocate and make you think about your product or service in a different way.

Sift through local papers or Facebook to find when and where local mixers are held in your area or nearby city. Chances are, there are more of them happening than you think.

Try a Related Search

Don’t feel like interacting with others to get new ideas? Sometimes getting inspired is just a click away. Whenever you conduct a search, you are presented with several topics with possible intent for what you and other people are trying to find. This isn’t merely limited to front page rankings, but also related searches, which appear on the bottom of your page.

For example, if you type “great ad campaign ideas” into Google’s search engine, at the bottom of your page you will see something like this:

By letting your mind — and your mouse — wander, you might come across some great ideas that you wouldn’t have discovered otherwise.

Think Out-of-the-Box

Another smart way to come up with new, creative advertising ideas is to read up on other recent successful, out-of-the-box campaigns. Some of them may not be feasible or relevant to your company, but if nothing else, study some of these zany, viral campaigns can expand your mindset and inspire you to push boundaries.

Read up on each campaign, determining what the intent was, how they conducted marketing, got others involved, etc. Odds are that many of these campaigns, or at least aspects of these campaigns, can be replicated for your business. Think about how you can put your unique spin on campaigns like Will It Blend or Amex’s Everyday Moments. By relating your new ad campaign to a previously successful concept, you have the building blocks to form something special.

Take a Vacation (or Just Go Somewhere Else)

Creatively stumped?

Get out of the office.

Stroll through the park, go to an art museum, or leave town altogether! Sometimes something as simple as a change in environment can spark new ideas. Inspiration is unpredictable, but your chances of being roused by a new creative notion are much higher if you remove yourself from your everyday musings. If nothing else, you can at least alter your mindset, take a breath, and explore something new.

No matter who you are or what you do, everyone has difficulty coming up with new ideas from time to time. Or if you’d rather hire someone to come up with the ideas for is, just reach out to us!

Anthony Greer is a twice-published author and content marketer with a focus in marketing, brand, and product development.

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