Creative Process

Facts & Tips from Hybrid's Director of Strategy

So, doing something a little bit different. It’s blazing hot out right now, so I didn’t want to be in the smelly alley today, so we’re doing Back Alley Marketing from the garage in our office. But today, I want to take a little bit of time to speak about my creative process. It doesn’t work for everybody, but I know everybody here at Hybrid will use a really similar process. Why does this connect to what I do as a cannabis marketer? The best cannabis marketers, the ones that can think outside the box… And part of the reason for that is that there’s so many restrictions and roadblocks to what we do that you have to come up with creative solutions to some of the problems that we face.

I also think it’s important to point out that creative thought can be applied to anything. It’s not just about marketing. Maybe you’re trying to land a position at a new company, and you’re trying to think of a cool way to do that. Actually, that’s a really good example. Let’s talk about that for a minute. There’s lots of websites out there now that make it really, really easy to apply for jobs. So LinkedIn, for example, has an easy apply button. That’s great, but the end result is you’re now competing against tons of other people. They don’t really even want the job. They’re just hitting the button just to see what happens. You really have to find a way to stand out from the pack. It’s even more important than it ever has been before.

I’ve literally applied to hundreds and hundreds of positions, and been rejected by basically all of them, but I’ve used some out-of-the-box thinking to help me get some of the conversations started. So for example, I had my resume actually printed onto a cake, and had that delivered to the company I was trying to get a job with. I had my resume attached to a helium balloon with the job title printed on it, and I took it over to the business and just left it floating there in their lobby. I sent a first edition I, Robot novel by Isaac Asimov with my resume to a robotics company I was applying for. Really wish I didn’t do that, because that was an expensive book, but whatever. You see what I mean? If you want to stand out in anything, not just marketing, you have to be creative.

Let’s talk about the process I use to come up with these kind of ideas. I did the same thing that I did when I was coming up with the content for this episode. I stopped thinking about it. I established what the issue is, or the topic, and then I just put it out of my mind and just kind of let it come to me. I don’t want to forget about it, so maybe I use Post-its. Things to kind of keep it not completely out of your head, but the idea is that so much of this stuff happens when you’re not actively thinking about it. Just like the tip of the tongue thing when you’re trying to remember an actor’s name or something like that, and the only time you can ever remember it is when you stop thinking about it, and then it’ll come to you. Same kind of concept.

And really good ideas don’t usually come up fully formed, they kind of evolve over time. Little bits and pieces sort of come to you. So I want to set myself up for recording any of these little thoughts as fast as possible whenever they happen, so here’s what I do. I use a note-taking software called Evernote. There’s lots of others like it, but it’s on my laptop, my phone, desktop, tablet, pretty much anywhere I might happen to be, and it all syncs together. So when I have something that’s a project I need to work on, or a topic for something, some piece of creative I need to work on, I’ll put together a note with that as a subject, and I’ll write down everything I know about that so far, and then I just leave it. I literally just let it go. And anytime something pops into my head that’s related to that topic or that project, I just really quickly drop it in there.

Whether I’m in the shower or whether I’m on a hike, whether I’m hanging out with my kid, whether it’s 1:00 in the morning and I can’t sleep, anything that pops in, I’ll drop it into that note and then just sort of leave it alone. And each time you record another piece of the puzzle, you set yourself up for your mind to continue subconsciously evolving the solution. Lightning doesn’t strike all the time, so you have to take advantage when it does. That’s my tip for you. Try this. Get a note-taking app, and try the process as I described in this episode. See if it helps you. It doesn’t work when you’re on a super tight deadline, but if it’s something where you have a little bit of room to breathe, I promise you, the results are going to be good. That’s it. From my new digs in the garage, Back Alley Marketing. I’m out.