One of the best parts of my job is getting the chance to tell the message of a business in the most creative way possible. I’ve been a part of projects that have used everything from animation to live action video, aliens to monsters, puppets to super heroes. It may seem silly – but think about it – we are a nation (a world, really) of short attention spans. We have so much information available to us at all times that being creative has become a necessity. And in that swirling mix of information and messages – it’s hard to stand out and get someone’s attention.
So how do YOU, small business owner, get yourself heard without screaming at the top of your lungs? It isn’t always easy to be creative, but when you are, others soon follow. After all, I’m sure the first person that put a “sign waver” in front of their store thought it was a pretty great idea. How creative! But now, just like with any seemingly good idea, it’s not so original and that’s the unique challenge – it’s always changing. What’s funny and trending today – is old news tomorrow.
But there are some ways you can start putting your creativity to use to promote your business:
- Know your story. This goes back to your brand, and who you are. Once you know your story, you can choose to get playful with your message.
- Know your tribe. Who are you talking to? You should know some commonalities among your clients and you should know who they are and how they think. With that information in hand, you can get your message out to a group that knows you and wants to hear from you.
- Know what you can handle. Big ideas are often attached to big price tags. Be realistic and see if the message has sustainability. If you want to use a puppet on your website, can you use it elsewhere? Do you have the funds to involve your puppet in later ads down the road? A one-time idea doesn’t have the chance to stick, so keep it simple if you can’t sustain it.
- Be Fearless. Once you’ve put a new creative spin on your message – prepare for the feedback. You may find that some people don’t get your humor or wonder how it relates to your business. These can become opportunities to have a meaningful discussion with your tribe. Share with them how you came up with this concept, why you like it and what the idea behind it is.
- Let the sharing begin. The best part of a creative message is it has the ability to become something memorable that people want to talk about. Silly, awkward, awe-inspiring, gross. Once you put it out there – prepare to share.
- Let it breathe. This is perhaps the hardest part because no one likes to tell a joke to the group that responds in complete silence. Sometimes we get scared when we don’t get the response we’d hoped for. But, sometimes it may just need a chance to simmer, to let people get comfortable with this new creative side of you, before they can fully embrace it. Give it some time.
My new role with the SBDC lets me interact with business owners from our community. I hope if you are looking for some guidance with your own business, you will stop by and take advantage of the many dedicated professionals who are ready and waiting to help you succeed.
Leah Goold-Haws is the Creative Director/Marketing Strategist for LGH Marketing/Strategy. Leah’s experience includes work at advertising firms, freelance design and marketing strategy along with international work in TV & radio. Leah worked as Creative Director of a marketing and advertising firm in Northern California before opening LGH Marketing/Strategy in January of 2011. She currently owns two successful businesses and is expanding into the global marketplace.