It doesn’t feel quite right somehow; the fact that we are waking up to Autumn. Speaking to friends and family over recent weeks, it is apparent many of us are not ready for this change of season. But what if we were to flip our attitude, and rather than focus on the negative, use the seasons to inspire creativity.
Rather than worry about dark mornings, early evenings and colder weather, let’s think about crisp, bright days that let us clear our heads and focus our thoughts.
Getting out and about
It’s not always possible to get up from your desk and to go for a walk. We are all busy and trying to keep those plates spinning in the air. I have always found it difficult to detach and to believe that to be more productive I should step away from the office.
It has taken me years to put the theory into practice. I now realise that rather than staring at a blank screen, if I step away from my desk and get some fresh air, it can reset my mind. I have also found that using the seasons to inspire creativity has had a positive impact on my work.
Taking influence from nature
Each season brings with it different colours, scents and scenes. A landscape can change dramatically throughout the year. Taking influence from this, we can use all the sights, sounds and settings to inspire ideas.
Just taking the time to stop, to sit and to take in your surroundings can completely redirect your attention. If you are stuck with one idea that you know isn’t quite right, this approach can be transformational.
It doesn’t have to be through the working day. I know lots of people who start or end the day with a brisk walk. Often, they will explain that it allows them to get set for the week ahead or to download from the day.
However you prefer to work, using the seasons to inspire creativity can deliver positives for our mental health as well as our results.
Easter in Autumn
When you work in PR, what is going on outside your window is unlikely to resonate with the plans you are putting in place. Particularly with consumer campaigns, many brands are working six months in advance.
The media also work well ahead of schedule. This means that if a PR wants to secure copy in the right magazines, at the most appropriate time, they need to have copy and images drafted and ready.
Although it sounds like a simple thing to do, getting your head around Easter in Autumn isn’t always easy. At Open Comms we do all we can to get into that zone. We use lots of different tools and triggers to stimulate our thinking and to take us to that place.
Using the seasons to inspire creativity, we share our experiences, thoughts and plans for that time of the year. Listening to the habits of other households can be really enlightening and can trigger some great ideas that resonate with audiences and add value for brands.
Mapping the seasons
There is one thing that is certain; the seasons will come around every year. We have spring, summer, autumn and winter. The weather may be changeable but the fact that these times of year will come up is a given.
Knowing this, it is prudent for brands to be in control and to get their campaigns planned well in advance. It’s not to say that things won’t change but having some outline ideas is a good start.
FMCG brands are those that are most likely to have seasonal launches. This makes planning each time of year even more important.
As a PR agency that works within the FMCG market, it is not unheard of for us to be discussing summer in winter and Valentine’s Day well ahead of Bonfire Night. It might be confusing, but it makes sense to be prepared and to use the seasons to encourage creativity.
Working from a year-round schedule of activity can really help with this. Just looking at what is coming up in six months can be a real wake up call. Time stands still for no one, so taking the time to plan can have a positive impact on results.
Recreating scents, sights and scenes
When we are sharing our creative thoughts as an agency, we will work hard to set the scene. This means thinking very carefully about what experience and feeling each season brings. Harnessing the excitement from each time of year means that our campaigns are more compelling and relevant to the audience.
Using the seasons to encourage creativity means that we can go to that place and get excited about what this year might bring.
There are the obvious times of year; Christmas and Easter for example, but it is just as important that we put the time and effort into other times of year too. For some clients Valentine’s Day or Halloween could be the focus. Whatever the time of year, hopping to that moment in time is essential to get ideas that will have impact.
Creating a space that is themed is a good way to get people to think about that time of year. Surrounding the team with visuals is always a good starting point. These prompts will focus attention and ensure that the recommendations are relevant and right.
Each season brings with it a different consumer experience. As such, it is important that as an agency we consider what will resonate with each audience. It may not always be the most obvious things, but those that give a person a feeling or trigger a memory.
Finding the experiences that are important to the audience, while also relevant to a brand, will deliver results. Working with companies that want to appeal to families as an example may mean that we create a campaign that harnesses the feeling of time together.
It could be Christmas Eve and festive movies, Halloween and trick or treating or Valentine’s Day and making cards for Mum or Dad. Whatever the season, we will bring together our shared experience to build campaigns that appeal to the widest and most relevant audience for the brand.
Using the seasons to encourage creativity
Going back to the start of this blog, I want people to think about how using the seasons to encourage creativity can lead to positive results. Far too often we look outside and moan about the weather. We are quick to focus on the negative rather than what is good about this time of year.
Take today, it’s cold. Autumn is well and truly in full swing. It’s also one of my favourite times of year because we start to make delicious stews and comfort foods. We sit around the fire and enjoy a glass of wine. We snuggle up and shut the curtains, making our homes warm and cozy.
It would be easier to think about the fact that Christmas is just around the corner and I haven’t done any shopping yet. That the mornings are dark and cold and the nights are gloomy and wet. That we are fast approaching the end of another year where not a single resolution was met!
None of these thoughts are going to give me the inspiration or encouragement to put forward my best ideas for clients, so I’ve changed my attitude. I am going to think about the good things and make sure that moving forward I am using the seasons to my advantage.