As a designer I can’t seem to ‘turn off’ my designer’s eye. No matter if I’m reading a magazine, watching TV or passing a billboard I’m constantly calculating the appeal, the idea, the design aspects and the overall emotional effect. If it’s something I can take a picture of, a website I can copy the link to or a magazine ad I can cut out, I collect the good ideas.
I’m not saying take an idea from a competitor and do what they’re doing. The best inspirations will come from sources outside your industry. A grocery store did a ‘Freshly Picked’ ad with beautiful produce photos and I used the concept for a ‘Freshly Grown’ ad featuring equipment coming out of corn husks, banana peels, etc. It was great inspiration, but it wasn’t the same thing and certainly not for the same industry.
Not all ideas you think are great, in fact most, are going to be something you want to implement right away. Keep a folder of ideas and inspirations for your next marketing brainstorm. The simple act of collecting the ads will start to make you more aware of how other companies often with bigger budgets are advertising. You can ask important questions like ‘Why do they always use red and green for food ads’ and ‘How does that make me feel, and how did they do that?’ Not to mention ‘Why do I like this ad?’ or ‘Why do I want to buy from them?’
Keeping an idea folder and jotting concepts down where-ever you are so you can hold them for later use is a great way to efficiently harness your creativity. I’ve lost count of how many great ideas have passed me by because I didn’t have a piece of paper to jot them down and later I forgot what the idea was, only that I had really liked it.
Write it, cut it out, take a picture – create a pool of ideas for your small business marketing!