On August 24, 2017, AgencySparks gathered some of the most brilliant marketing minds from agency partners to distinguished brands like Delta Air Lines, Equifax, Worldpay, Turner Classic Movies, and Mizuno USA, among others to discuss this quarter’s Marketer’s Breakfast theme: Creativity.

Past Marketer’s Breakfasts have included brand therapy sessions or discussions revolving around perfecting marketing methods like measurement. The event’s entire purpose is to create a comfortable atmosphere where brands and agencies share their experiences and provide advice on best marketing practices. The breakfast opens a window for AgencySparks to do what the team does best - “matchmake.” 

Before, during, and after the event, the attendees networked and mingled. At this particular breakfast, AgencySparks helped break the ice by asking participants to write on their name-tag what inspires their creativity.

Cindy Kaufman, the Director of Marketing and Hospitality at Interface, shared that yoga was her creative outlet outside of work. The relaxing nature of it enables people to let their mind drift and take a step away from the busyness of every day life. Moira Vetter, the CEO of Modo Modo Agency,  said she finds that state of relaxation when she walks her dog.

Cindy Kaufman, the Director of Marketing and Hospitality at Interface, shared that yoga was her creative outlet outside of work. The relaxing nature of it enables people to let their mind drift and take a step away from the busyness of every day life.

Moira Vetter, the CEO of Modo Modo Agency,  contributed that she finds the same state of relaxation when she walks her dog.

Participants proceeded to network as they put their creative minds to use molding clay masterpieces.

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This playful activity soon lead to a meaningful discussion about creativity and how it can best be utilized in the workplace.

How to think Creatively in the Workplace:

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Let outside activities invoke and inspire creation in the office

Inspiration for creativity can be found in every aspect of life. The discussion showed that multiple VPs and Directors of Marketing sought creativity outside of work. Sometimes it is important to take a step back from work and relax in order to think outside of the box. Anna Webb, the Vice President, Product Marketing + Portfolio Management of Interface, stated that cooking for and entertaining her friends helped her find freedom and a creative outlet. Steve Denker, the Senior Director of Marketing at Turner Classic Movies and FilmStruck, mentioned that taking the staff out to see a play sparked inspiration from time to time. David Wasilewski, CEO of Lumity, chimed in to add that inspiration is all around and The High Museum of Art is an awesome, cheap resource.

Look at things differently

Taking a step back from work will also help the creator to see things in a different light. By taking the “work” aspect out of creation, marketers can look at the world as a consumer and make connections that were invisible prior. Steve Denker suggested just sitting outside and people watching. Looking at the consumer as they simply live and interact with the world provides a deeper insight into how they behave and how a marketer can reach them best.  

Veronica Kelly-Cash, the Sr. Director of Field Marketing with Flex Pharma, said, at times, when in need for inspiration, her team will play a game where they take three unrelated items and make them relate somehow. This not only gets the marketer to take a step back from work but encourages out-of-the-box thinking.

Do something in the office out of the ordinary

Many companies, like Pixar, are intentional about how they setup their offices in a specific way to encourage creativity. Craig Kronenberger, the CEO of Stripe Reputation, chooses to set the mood of his office by playing specific up-tempo music for brainstorms. Leadercast CEO, Duane Cummings, said that employees tend to switch offices frequently to see the different perspectives of fellow employees. Other attendees mentioned that asking separate departments to contribute to creative discussion is useful because everyone offers a unique perspective. There is value in contrasting opinions.

Jason Prance, Vice President of Strategy for Swarm, said his agency encourages this open discussion by having an anonymous app where everyone in the office can submit and vote on ideas. This strategy makes it easier for every voice to be heard - introverts, different departments, the whole nine yards.

Jason Rhoades of Toolbox No. 9 emphasized that their office implements random exercises and simulations that invoke creativity. Keeping a staff on their toes and open to new ideas is vital for creative growth. Ragu Kakarala from FourtyFour further drove this point home by referencing that children are rarely constrained by convention and it leads to more creative ideas. He stated that this mentality leads to his team being less constrained.

Here are some photo highlights from the breakfast:

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