Sorry to break your heart in this way, but the words of Pablo Picasso are not true. At least not completely. “Inspiration exists … but it has to find you working” is just the final stage in empowering inspiration.
Unlike houses with large ceilings, arched windows and rococo baths, inspiration does not live locked within the four white walls of an office, and it’s certainly not be found when we never deviate from our regular routine.
The digital universe is immense and therefore a very competitive space for business. The most effective way to stand out and captivate an audience is by offering different experiences from the rest of the market. To achieve this, we must find those places where inspiration lives.
Soak up culture
In the vast digital environment, we rarely have an opportunity to work with a product or service that actually use in our daily lives. For the ones which we are personally familiar, we naturally feel more inspired and advertising solutions flow more easily. We know the habits, preferences and obstacles presented by the audience and combine them with our professional judgment. It's simple.
However, most of the time, we work with brands targeting a market to which we don’t belong. And this is where general culture plays an important role in gaining inspiration.
To start to understand the customs and interests of the communities with which you work, get out of your routine! Order different dishes from new restaurants, listen to a band you’ve never heard of that turned up on your weekly recommendation from Spotify, visit museums, restaurants or shops that normally wouldn’t catch your interest, read a different magazine or watch a movie outside of your usual favorite genre. In new experiences, you will find new ideas.
As Seth Godin, one of the most revolutionary marketing visionaries, wrote, “culture creates reality.” And in an engaging reality, inspiration lives.
Sniff out what others are doing
Every year and around the world, the most outstanding advertising and marketing campaigns are recognized; from the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival to the Premios IAB MIXX in Mexico. Hundreds of references can arise from the ideas of these participants and campaigns from around the world and investigating the solutions that others have found to position, communicate or convince an audience is an essential tactic.
Austin Kleon calls it “stealing like an artist.” In his same-titled book, he explains why it is important to look at the work of others: “All creative work builds from what came before. Nothing is completely original.”
When we explore high achieving ideas from others, or stuff worth stealing, as Kleon says, our mind is stimulated and creative based on what we have seen. This isn’t plagiarizing but, rather to be inspired by the work of others who have found themselves in a similar situation. After all, “every new idea is just a mashup or remix of one or more previous ideas.”
Cater to your hobbies
Let's face it, work is not our only thing in life. Everybody has an outside passion, be it running, reading or making music, for example. According to the wise words of Jason Fried in his book Rework, “If all you do is work, you're unlikely to have sound judgments.”
The truth is that our mind is firing on all cylinders when we begin to do something that we love: our body produces more adrenaline and our brain releases more endorphins, creating the perfect environment for inspiration to emerge.
So playing guitar, going to a French film or kicking around the soccer ball is the healthiest thing you can do for your performance; it allows your brain to disconnect some neurons, connect others and find inspiration for your most creative ideas.
Also, having hobbies in your list of daily activities will make you more efficient. As Fried said, “If you want something done, you want busy people. People who have a life outside of work. People who care about more than one thing. They get their work done at the office because they have somewhere else to be.”
Inspiration translates into innovative solutions and dazzling proposals for your company, your business and your customers. But to fill your mind with a broad cultural background, valuable references and exciting adventures that inspire you to excel in your field requires time and perseverance. Artistic and recreational activities must have a scheduled space on your agenda.
“Inspiration is a magical thing, a productivity multiplier, a motivator,” which can be captured by frequenting the places where inspiration lives.
Andrea Herrera is Digital Strategist for Mijo! Brands, a leading digital agency with offices in CDMX and Puerto Vallarta. For more information on how to create succesful brand experiences, please contact us.