Creativity: the theory and pillars of creative processes that can help your agency

Preparation, incubation, lighting and verification: learn about the steps of creative processes that help your agency develop better work

Many Marketing and Advertising professionals believe that creativity is a gift. But the truth is that we are all creative, and as we will show in this post, the creative process can be developed and touched upon when you are aware of how it happens. Check out!

How many catchphrases and jargon have you heard about the creative process? 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration? Do ideas only come when we’re not looking for them? Is creative leisure a necessary evil? Are children more creative than adults?

After all: is creativity really intelligence having fun?

There are people who think that a person is born with talent. In particular, we believe that creativity is something you learn, but also let go, let go. Being creative is a process of releasing the fear of not being accepted, of not being worth it. Mainly, the fear of making mistakes.

If you’re working on something really new, taking risks is inevitable. After all, the new is never guaranteed. It cannot exist, yet. He needs to be born. But… from where?

What is creativity?

For Marcio Ballas, a professional clown and master of improvisation, creativity is nothing more than a tool for solving problems. And we all have problems, so we can and should try to develop our own. Everyone really, not just professionals normally connected to her.

In his past RD Summit talks, Ballas listed three mistakes we often make in relation to creativity. They are as follows:

  1. We associate creativity with specific areas, such as art and advertising;
  2. We think we are less creative than we really are;
  3. We don’t believe that all people are creative.

Ballas cited his impromptu show and a television show he hosted, in which everything was also created on the spot. He commented that people were suspicious and asked him if, in fact, it wasn’t all rehearsed before.

He guarantees that he doesn’t and explains that, as contradictory as this may sound, excellence in improvisation is the result of much study, practice and dedication. Even so, the speaker says that we can all improvise. That we can all be creative.

The Art of Thought: the theory behind the creative process

In 1926, the English social psychologist at the London School of Economics, 68-year-old Graham Wallas, launched a theory called the Art of Thought. This theory defined, for the first time, the creative process in four stages.

Based on his observations and statements by famous inventors and mathematicians at the time, the book did not survive, but the model, now called the “4-stage model”, was immortalized in several later works.

Wallas talks about the four stages of the creative process— preparation, incubation, illumination, and verification —as a delicate osmotic dance between conscious and unconscious work. Below we explain each of them.

Stage 1: Preparation

This is the phase in which the problem is investigated in all its variables and explored to the full. It is a fully conscious stage, in which the brain absorbs all the information and puts it in the “boxes” determined by the mind. The important thing here is to ask the right questions, and to drink from the best sources, in order to open up the possibilities.

Stage 2: Incubation

The next period is one of unconscious processing, in which the creative mind works without direct effort. Many artists refer to this phase as “creative idleness”. That is, that stage where you are not deliberately looking for a solution to the problem, but your mind is actually unconsciously and involuntarily looking for new connections, based on the preparation you have done earlier.

There are those who play sports, go to the movies or take a shower. There are also those who alternate attention with another problem or project, to buy time on it, while letting the unconscious mind work on it.

It is at this stage that some notable creatives—filmmaker David Lynch, to name one—advocate meditation as a way to enhance the work of the unconscious in the search for the deepest creative solution.

Stage 3: Lighting

This is the moment of the “A-HA Moment”, of Eureka, of creative insight. Illumination happens after the unconscious work and the transition back to the click of the new idea, formed by the unprecedented association of two elements repertoire by the creative mind.

Enlightenment is not a fully conscious process—it depends on the previous stages. It also cannot be forced. It can come in seconds or hours, but believe me: it will always come.

Stage 4: Verification

This is the last, and certainly the most painful stage: the one where the creative has to put his idea into practice and to the test. It is known that Enlightenment itself does not produce creative work: it only lights the flame that leads to the path.

Verification, therefore, is not simply testing the idea with other people but checking whether it is able to fit reality. In the words of Wallas, “ideas require discipline, will and, above all, effort, to become reality”.

Important considerations

The four stages of the creative process aren’t linear, nor as well defined as in this text—or did you really think your mind only works in little boxes?

Many creative processes, for example, artistic ones, may not start from a problem to be incubated, but from a feeling, an experience, a memory. This is where the application of theory diverges between the creative professions and pure art.

The 5 Pillars of Creativity

Once you understand how the creative process works, you might ask yourself:  but how do I encourage this process? 

For Ballas, there are 5 pillars that help creativity flourish:

#1: Acceptance

Ballas argues that it is very important to accept the other, understand that the other is different – ​​and that this is good for the creative process.

When you’re in a brainstorming process, for example, it’s important to welcome all the ideas that come up. And they can drive new creations.

It’s very important to get rid of the judgment, that voice in the head that is judging the other and ourselves.

The presenter also believes in the importance of constantly adapting to the contexts in which we are inserted. “If the agency’s budget is low, invent on top of it.”

#2: Cover SIMation

Ballas believes that we are born creative, but that we are often pruned during life with social filters or judgments. This causes us to block some ideas quickly. For him, the “no” must be taken out of the creative process.

He makes an analogy with the improvisation game. Imagine the following situation:

Person 1:  It’s been a while since we’ve seen each other?

Person 2:  We saw each other yesterday.

Person 1:  What are you taking?

Person 2:  Nothing.

Blocking is when the second person doesn’t play. Therefore, the “no” stops and prevents the creative process from happening.

#3: The yes and the error

Just as in theatre it can happen that the actor forgets to speak and have to improvise, in the universe of agencies it is also necessary to learn to deal with unexpected results, disapproval of plays, mistakes. It is important to know how to incorporate the new situation and “continue the show” in a good way.

#4: Improve

For Ballas, improvisation is combining things that already exist in a different way.

We are adaptable human beings and we can adapt to new situations. We increasingly have to be prepared for this, react to our experiments

The presenter argues that improvisation also requires planning. This planning can help in the cycle: experiment, adapt to the obtained results and experiment again. This is a way to bring solutions that really make a difference and bring innovation.

#5: Co-creation

Co-creating means creating together. And Ballas bets that the interaction between people with different backgrounds can be very potentiating in the search for innovative solutions. For him, teamwork like the team of nova city islamabad only works when everyone is focused and together for real.

To be creative you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, just look at things in a different light

Currently, we are so immersed in the digital world that our eyes are “addicted”, often unable to help us exercise our creativity. That’s what writer and screenwriter Rosana Hermann spoke about, in her lecture also given at RD Summit.

The change is such that our culture has become a digital culture: human relationships are mediated by technology, and changes occur at an ever-increasing speed. Our language has also changed: we have even gone back to using symbols to represent reactions in our texts, as in the case of emojis – a word that was even elected the term of the year 2015 by the Oxford dictionary.

But what do all these changes mean?

They mean that we must “conform” to them; but not in the sense of accepting them in any and all ways, but rather that we receive them profitably and adapt to them as productively as possible.

If the digital world is there, why not make the best use of it, to exercise our creativity?

It’s a cycle: we must accept this new world in order to exercise our creativity, and our creativity will be exercised when we mold ourselves to this new world. It is made up of flows, increasingly liquid, and that is how we should try to be as well, always thinking “outside the box”.

But, as pointed out by Rosana, the “box” does not exist. We are the ones who create it in our heads, always limiting our creativity to the obvious. And creativity will only come when we see things from another angle, and we always question.

Continuous questioning, by the way, is what Rosana advocates as a way of becoming creative: if you always question yourself, you will find the problems and possible solutions to the problems that arise. In other words: if something doesn’t make sense for you in this new world, get to know processes. Behind the new techniques and tools, there is also a new way of looking at the world. As long as you are fixated on an idea, you will lose the possibility of seeing other solutions to your problem.


Best practices to facilitate the acquisition of new clients at your agency

Has the acquisition of new clients been a challenge for your agency? Check out our tips to make this process more fluid

No matter how good your products and services are, acquiring new customers is not always an easy task. You need to invest in different strategies and messages, and pay close attention to the negotiation phase. In this post, Sky marketing talk about three tips to make this task easier for your agency. Check out!

Ever wonder what your customer wants? Have you thought about what his shopping experience is like?

I believe that every experience is valid, but some are remarkable. And, in the digital agency market, it is increasingly necessary to be outstanding in the interactions that brands have with their consumers. After all, we are at the forefront of communication between the client and his consumer. This is where we have the power to reach, delight millions of people at the same time and interact with them through different channels.

In order to attract, convert and create a purchase journey to impact your customer’s sales funnel, it is essential that you understand what their customer experience is like — whether going to the store, simulating a purchase in ecommerce or following the calls of the sales team. In short: live the experience according to the segment in which it operates.

It is worth mentioning that this experience is also very important when your agency has only one “potential client”. From this experience, you will be able to sell the solution to him in a personalized way in the scenario in which he works.

In this sense, I take this opportunity to tell a story based on real facts that left a deep impression on me.

A family story

My grandfather, Marcos Rachewsky, was an entrepreneur and had a furniture store — which no longer exists — called Sovereign of Furniture. He lived very remarkable stories and became a reference in the market with a simple differential: he listened to customers.

When my grandfather passed away, we were sharing his memories and they told a story that drew special attention to what the shopper’s experience was like.

A potential customer needed furniture but didn’t have the money to pay for it in cash. The seller informed that, therefore, he could not take the furniture, as the store did not accept another payment term. Then my grandfather, who always took care of the team, arrived and asked:

“How can you pay? How many times do you need to do it?

— In 10 times.

— So you can take the furniture and do it in 10 times. If you need to do more, let me know.

And the customer took the furniture happily. We learned of this story because radio broadcaster Wianey Carlet, known in Rio Grande do Sul, told this on his show when my grandfather died.

This happened a few years ago, but even today the customer remembers. That’s the ultimate shopping experience: going beyond the obvious while simplifying the process.

Important learnings

  1. My grandfather didn’t just sell furniture, he sold stories and brought happiness to people’s homes. As he called it, the Sovereign of Furniture had the “friendliest credit service in the city”. And this was his way of giving purchasing power to customers, which consequently, bring happiness to those customers who had no purchasing power.
  2. He had no customers; he created relationships and bonds with people—who, as a result, always returned to his store.

How many qualified Leads should my grandfather have in the base, if Digital Marketing existed at that time and he had a great relationship with them? Certainly many! Despite being a retail experience, we can take this lesson to the reality of digital agencies. Therefore, I drew some conclusions on how we can combine these best practices to acquire new customers or even optimize your service and increase your average ticket with a customer in your portfolio:

1. Empathize with your sales pitch

Before talking about the solution you want to deliver to the customer, listen to what he wants and understand why he wants to hire your service.

Use the opening moments of the conversation with him to create rapport. It could be about some common ground you have, like weather, sport or any other way to break the ice that makes sense at the time. Create a connection.

Give him room to speak. If he doesn’t open up very much at first, you can make the process easier by asking open – ended questions, leaving him free to express himself. At this point, you can dig deeper and find out what the potential customer’s main “pains” are.

That way, when you talk about the solution, it will be reciprocated. You will also be listened to, as you have created an environment conducive to dialogue.

2. Customize the solution

Don’t copy or replicate past customer strategies — create a sense of experience with your customer and personify your service. This is extremely important especially in the current context we are living. After all, his brand has a unique value. Make this clear.

A tip here is to customize the solution according to the goals you raised at the beginning of the pitch. Connect these dots between his goal and the solution you can deliver, this will make you create an accurate strategy.

And if he does object, have some flexibility to negotiate. You must go into the negotiation with a clear position on the value of your services and on the discount margin you can get.

3. Relationship makes a difference

At all points in the conversation, find the spaces to create a relationship with your customer, but without forcing. Be helpful and considerate that the process will flow normally.

Think that you are the front line between your agency and the client. And the first impression is what remains. In the end, if you have bonded with him and provided good service to your client, he will think twice about not contracting with you. Even because you customized the solution thinking about the “checkup” necessary to supply the “pain” of his business.

The three practices mentioned above can help you acquire new and good customers, but before embarking on this journey, some considerations should be kept in mind:

Customers are not all the same

There are clients who understand the intention to focus on the final result of the work, on the real function of Digital Marketing. They understand that they must entrust their strategies to an expert like you, and that achieving consistent results in a sustainable way, with a strong link with the sales area, is possible. They see value in this and are willing to invest their time, dedication and money in their experience and knowledge.

But not everyone is at that point, you know that. It is necessary to attract potential clients for this purpose through the agency’s own Digital Marketing actions and identify within its portfolio who is really able to go in this direction.

Understanding beyond the basic premises of a project for the client is essential to know your business in depth. How do these companies think? Do you see marketing as a business growth driver? How much value am I generating for these companies?

Discover some ways to assess the current profile of your potential customers to start closing deals that will bring more benefits to the agency, such as recurring revenue and higher tickets:

Learn from metrics

Agencies are always committed to generating reports for their clients to demonstrate the results obtained, but they rarely do it for themselves. Using a CRM to better organize the information of your own closed deals and measure the results, it is possible to have metrics such as lifetime value and acquisition costs , sales cycle, cancellation rates, among others.

Measuring the entire sales process and the customer evolution journey will show you which types of businesses are really worth moving forward.

The customer is not always right

Most agency service professionals do not have training in inbound sales. From a new business perspective, you end up closing projects according to what the client says he has as a need. For example: when a prospect says, “I need a new website!”, the service already follows the negotiation based on what the prospect wants, and not necessarily on what he/she needs.

When someone says they need to develop a new website, the first question should be “why? What is your goal with this site? In what ways do you believe this will help your company achieve more results?”

When you approach the problems and understand the customer’s pain, you can present more concrete solutions to meet expectations and create a relationship in the medium and long term. For this, your sales team needs to be ready to sell Inbound Marketing services.

Learn to say no

Some customers tend to be needier than others. You want to help them, but they can take a lot of your time and drive up your operating costs. You need to question them and find out how much they want your specific help and why. This way, it is possible to align a service package by stages or a closer consultancy and increase your average ticket.

The challenge with “no” is that finding the right client to say “yes” can take time, which requires patience and persistence from the agency team. Owners have to trust this “customer selection” as this is the right direction for their business. After all, there is no point in bringing in bills that will become problems: service cancellations, dissatisfied customers and lost hours without bringing any return to the agency.

Not everything in the sale is tangible. Some things are intangible, especially when selling a service. Therefore, the customer wants to buy security and trust.

The great conclusion is that for a good service there is no cake recipe. But sharing some good practices that work can make the difference between a yes and a no.

It is thought that you are not only selling Digital Marketing: and STA selling interaction between client and consumer. Brand building. Betting that campaigns will impact the growth of companies. And if we stop to think about it, this can influence the market as a whole.

Hope these tips can help you close with a new customer.

But never forget: you have to win the customer every day as if it were the first.