This Week in Marketing: How to Get the Creative Juices Flowing in Your Marketing Team

The imagination is a fascinating thing. It is one of the few remaining human capabilities that machines cannot fully mimic. It has the ability to turn mundane concepts into something truly extraordinary.

We see this all the time in pop culture. If you know me personally, you probably know how much I love The Office. Perhaps the greatest aspect of this TV show is that the creators took a boring premise of average people working at a small paper supply company and turned it into one of the most beloved shows of all time.

In the business world, combining creativity and imagination is what sets brands above others within an industry. Take Charmin for example. There are tons of different brands of toilet paper out there. But, Charmin’s creativity in ad direction and managing their social presence makes it one of the most recognizable brands of toilet paper out there. Same goes for Old Spice. It was once a company quickly fading into obscurity until a new creative direction breathed new life into their branding efforts.

In this installment of This Week in Marketing, Sam and I brought in Gina Greco, a seasoned veteran in the advertising industry and Director of Portfolio MasterClass, a creative school offering a wide range of online courses in the way of copywriting, visual design, UX, creative direction, and much more. After a successful career in advertising, Gina shifted her focus to educating up-and-coming creative minds looking to make a name for themselves. Also joining us on the show was Yasmeen Mezenner, a voiceover specialist and former student of Gina’s.

The first segment of the show kicks off with us discussing the importance of creative advertising and why it’s essential for businesses looking to make an impression on people. Even though the subject might seem obvious at first, hearing an expert take is always valuable. Gina discusses her favorite campaigns and why they worked so well. She also provides a few good tips for brands looking to spice up their marketing messages with a limited budget.

Segment two gets into some more examples of smart creative advertising in industries that many would consider “boring.” Gina talks about what makes these campaigns successful and how brands can coordinate their ideas to change the mundane perception of their product or services. An interesting point that Gina made was that there is no such thing as a “boring” industry, product, or service, just a lack of creativity. In this segment, we listened to the ad “Dumb Ways to Die” and talk about how the creative minds behind the scenes took something like train safety and turned it into a piece of marketing content heard around the world!

The third segment gets a little deeper into the role of teamwork in an advertising campaign. We talk about one of the most important things that tend to get overlooked in the process; making sure everyone from the copywriters to the designers to the creative directors, all the way to the client are on the same page from start to finish. Gina discusses the overarching importance of making sure the creative brief is extremely well researched and planned before any work is done. We also touch on how the emergence of new marketing channels and platforms in the past couple of decades has changed the way brands approach advertising and what they can do to navigate the trends.

Last, but certainly not least, the final segment was a creative brainstorming exercise. This was perhaps the most fun segment we’ve done on the show so far! Gina and Yasmeen talked about some of their favorite techniques for getting the ideas flowing and finding direction for a potential ad campaign. This included tactics like idea mapping, emulating, and playing the “what if” game.

Are you feeling stuck in trying to make your brand messaging something that people remember? Check out our latest installment of This Week in Marketing and learn some tips from an advertising expert!

About The Guest:

Gina started Portfolio MasterClass in 2013, which back then was called the Portfolio Studio. The courses are taught by senior-level creative experts with years of hands-on agency experience. Portfolio MasterClass has won numerous awards and many students have gone on to take lead roles in creative departments across an array of industries. In prior years, Gina worked as a Project Manager and Art Director providing creative direction for copywriters, designers, programmers, and more. She ran her own agency for about 7 years and went on to work as a professor at the Art Institute of California in San Diego. Over the years, Gina has worked with big names such as Hewlett Packard, General Motors, and American Express.

About The Hosts:

 Sam Wheeler is a life-long marketer and the VP of Communications at the AMA San Diego. He graduated from Northwestern University and has since worked on marketing projects for companies in Asia, Central America, and North America. His current projects include a website crawler called Rapid Rex and a new line of FACT Goods hats for a cause!

Kevin SvecKevin Svec is a chief content strategist at E2M. He spends his days researching and helping businesses produce compelling content that resonates with audiences of all interest levels. When he’s not rock climbing or hanging out at one of San Diego’s many beaches, Kevin is writing for Impulsive Wanderlust, a travel and leisure website he founded.