Claire Bridges on the role of confidence in creativity

Speaking this morning at the Festival of Marketing in London, Claire Bridges, founder of leading UK creative training consultancy Now Go Create and host of CR’s Mastering Creativity online programme, told the audience that anyone can be creative, but they need strong self-belief

Claire Bridges Festival of Marketing
Claire Bridges with CR Editor Patrick Burgoyne at the Festival of Marketing in London

Claire Bridges hosted the ‘Are You in Your Creative Element’ session this morning at the Festival of Marketing, where she told the audience that a lack of confidence often holds people back.

“People need to adopt a creative mindset because a lack of self-belief means we self-censor,” she said. “We worry about putting ideas on the table in brainstorming meetings or we feel our thoughts won’t be listened to.”

Bridges talked through her acronym BELIEF which she says can help marketers become more confident and bullish. We go through it below:

Boxed in thinking: Bridges said people set limits on what they think can be achieved and do not always consider what might be possible. There is a need to look at how products and campaigns have traditionally been designed and consider what could happen with some creative thinking.

Evaluation: It can be difficult to decide if someone is being creative or not. Bridges explained that one of her tests is whether she feels jealous when she sees a campaign or an idea. “Do I wished I had come up with that?” she said.

She added that brands and agencies need a shared language to benchmark creativity and she cited Heineken’s Creative Ladder as an example. The 1-10 table starts at the bottom with work being ‘destructive’ rising to 10 where activity is ‘legendary’ and something the marketing team and the brand would be remembered for. Things to avoid on the ladder include ‘cliché’ where marketers devise ideas based on the way things are always done.

Learned limits: Bridges talked about the need to re-frame ideas and always look for a different perspective. “If you have an idea which you think is creative and will work, go and seek an opposing view. You need to be able to hold two different views in your mind at once. There has to be what we call creative abrasion.”

Inquisitive: “Don’t take things at face value. You must push yourself and your agencies to ask questions about whether something could be done in a different way,” said Bridges. “Take time to study what others are doing and see if you can bring ideas back to your brand. Be curious and nosy.”

Experiments: Bridges called on marketers to not be squeamish and to not be afraid to take “little bets” on what may or may not work. She used the example of stand-up comedy where comedians will often test their jokes in front of smaller audiences to get real feedback on something that is a work in progress.

Failure: No one should be afraid of failure because it is necessary for innovation, so a test-and-learn approach must be promoted internally, she said. “What we do as marketers requires discipline and graft to get an idea to look effortless. It is all about navigating risk.”

Bridges suggested that more brands and agencies should follow Coca-Cola’s 70/20/10 rule when it comes to business and innovation. “Spend 70% of your time doing what you know works, 20% on things that are a slightly higher risk and 10% stepping into the unknown but creating something that could have a very high return.”

Mastering Creativity, written and hosted by Claire Bridges, is a CPD accredited six-part video-based online programme that has been designed to unlock your creative potential. Book your place here

Claire Bridges, founder of consultancy Now Go Create and author of the book In Your Creative Element, Your Formula for Creative Success in Business, was speaking at the Festival of Marketing, which takes place on October 4-5 at Tobacco Dock in London;

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