The Reason You Haven’t Done It Is Because No One Told You To: The Secret To Becoming Immediately More Creative And Productive.

Cardboard robot thinking about how to become more creative and productive

You have lived on a conveyor belt most of your life. It’s time to jump off and be more productive.

Some Assembly Required

The success behind mass production factory lines is they offer consistency. Sameness. A standardised product.

The raw materials are shaped and moulded as per a preconceived design. They are then sent along a conveyor belt and pieced together. By the end of the line you have your product. Fully assembled. And looking the same as every other product on the line.

Industry at its efficient best.

Unpicking The Metaphor

Now imagine the same scenario, but this time change the factory setting to a classroom. The conveyor belt is your compulsory education. And the different parts added along the production line are your subjects and predefined curriculum.

Everybody gets the same. Expectations are that we all learn exactly the same and need the same content in order to be fully functioning human beings.

We all sit the same exams. Because we all need to be standardised.

And any deviation from the expected norm is seen as a defect and steps are taken to fix it back into the standardised shape.

Square pegs are sanded down to fit into round holes.

Told what to think. How to think. When to think. And even what to do with these thoughts and what the expected outcome should be. Which is why you’re not as productive as you could be.

Education Dumbs You Down

There’s an interesting study by NASA which boldly suggests that “We are born creative geniuses and the education system dumbs us down”.

In this study 98% of children tested, between 4 and 5 years old, fell in the genius category of imagination.

And the adults tested?

Only 2%.

The researchers revisited their subjects every five years and found that at age 10, only 30% remained in the genius category of imagination.

A drop of 68% in only five years!

When tested again at age 15, the figure had dropped even further to 12%.

The outcome?

The longer you receive a conventional education the less likely you are to hold on to the creative problem solving and free thinking skills you had as a child.

Why Haven’t You Done It Yet?

Ask yourself this: “If someone tells me to do something, am I more likely to do it?”

Do you do things independently because you know there’s a value in being proactive?

Or are you more likely to put things off? Usually to the last minute? Until someone comes along and tells you it needs to get done? Urgently!

Sounds like the student approach to homework and revision to me!

Compliance At What Cost?

As much as educational establishments would like to think that they are equipping students with the knowledge and skills they need for the future, they are sadly doing the opposite.

Self-motivated, Resilient, Independent Thinkers with a propensity for creative problem-solving. They are in steady decline from the age of 4 – school age.

Cartoon of a teacher squaring children's thoughts

Instead we find a preconditioned majority.

Spoon fed. Hand held. Dependent. Passive. With a disdain for an education that they don’t value. Only completing tasks they are told to do, because they are told to do them. Not out of any genuine interest.

And as soon as they are no longer told what to do, they find themselves at a loose end. They can’t cope. Without approval and an imposed direction they lack the skills, confidence and motivation to self-start.

They don’t really want to do what they’re being told to do. But they don’t really know what it is they want to do instead.

So they comply.

Because that’s what everyone else is doing. It’s easier than having to figure things out for yourself. And it gets people off your back.

Turning The 2% Back Into The 98%

Recognising that we are all products straight off a factory assembly line, with an inherent fear of failure, is important if we are to rewire our thinking.

“You must do this if you are to be successful in your exams! You want to get good results right? If you don’t do this in exactly the way you’ve been told, you will fail!”

Sound familiar? Near enough?

We need to stop fearing failure and start embracing it. Start by trying some of these creative exercises.

Don’t wait for someone to tell you to do something. Recognise the value in being proactive.

Do it for yourself.

Not for approval.

Certainly not just because there’s an exam at the end!

There are few standardised tests once you leave education.

The most successful people don’t conform. And they certainly don’t wait around for someone to tell them to do something about it.

Five Steps Towards A More Productive And Creative You

These are easier said than done. But they are fundamental to breaking free from the assembly line mentality of passive acceptance and conformity.

  1. Teach yourself to do things. Don’t wait for someone to teach you.
  2. Learn what you want to learn, how you want to learn.
  3. Ask questions. Don’t expect immediate answers.
  4. Don’t seek approval, but also don’t fear disapproval.
  5. Celebrate difference. Embrace divergent thinking. Forget everything you’ve ever been told you can or cannot do.

Throw yourself into everything you do with the same reckless abandon as a five year old.

Who cares what anyone thinks? Who cares whether you succeed or fail? Get out of your own way.

Break the mould.

Free yourself of conventional thinking. Jump off that conveyor belt and be more productive. Not a product.

What are you waiting for?

Gareth

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Get your writing into shape. Quick creative writing tasks to experiment with every day.

Triangles. Diamonds. Squares. Get your writing into shape.

Writing should be fun. It should be a source of creative enjoyment. But sometimes you can hit a rut. Writer’s block. Stagnation. So it’s important to have a few tools at your disposal to help you break through the wall and knock your writing back into shape.

These quick writing exercises will do just that.

Shape your writing!

Syllable Symbolism

Writers have always imposed constraints on their work to inspire creativity. And the use of syllables to impose a structure or limitation on your writing is a firm favourite.

There are many established forms based around syllable length: Iambic Pentameter, Haiku, Tanka.

These are some of the more easily identifiable verse forms. There are, of course many more. It just goes to show the importance of imposing restrictions on your work in order to develop creative responses.

So, borrowing from traditions of syllabic structures in writing, I’d like to propose the following three techniques to help you whip your words into shape, and have fun doing it:

1) It’s hip to be square

Turn  your  words   into   a  square.
Set      a      syllable      length     per
line  and  stick  to  it  as  best   you
can. Going down you should then
use   the   same  number   of   lines
as     you     have     used    syllables.
In      this      case     it      is      seven.

Ok, so this example might not look like a square, but that’s not the point.

It IS a square.

A 7-syllable by 7-line square.

Restrict yourself to a set number of syllables per line. Whatever the number you determine is, make that the number of lines of writing you will allow yourself in order to create your text.

2) Now try angles

There’s a pattern emerging here (excuse the puns).

I
will try
to show you
exactly    how
this writing technique
works, demonstrating how
you    can    use    syllables   to
shape      a      text.      Continually
add one more syllable to each new
line  of  text   so  it  forms   a   triangle.
Narrow   at   the   top   and   ever   widening
as you progress towards the bottom of the text.

Again, this is not an exact visual science. But we’re not looking for exact visuals.

This is just another way you can inject some fun and creativity into your writing by using syllable structures.

The objective is to work within the constraints of the form and challenge yourself to think of creative ways to harness the restrictions of the form.

3) Diamonds are forever

                                                          Just
                                                       like the
                                                      previous
                                             form, this writing
                                           technique relies on
                                          adding syllables per
                                      line of text up to a point,
                                           before beginning to
                                             remove syllables
                                              all the way back
                                                     down to a
                                                          single
                                                            one.

It’s silly. I know. But it’s a different way of thinking. A different way of writing. And, more importantly, it’s a way of refocusing your mind.

The shape of things to come

If you are stuck for ideas. When you hit a wall and find yourself struggling to get words down on the page. Break away and play with words for a bit.

Get your writing back into shape.

Figuratively.

Literally.

Creatively.

 

Gareth

 

 

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3 Creative Tasks To Help You Break Free From Your Fear Of Failure

Hear no failure. See no failure. Speak no failure.

Fear of failure is the reason you’re not succeeding. Whether you think so or not, you are afraid to fail. Now’s the time to break free of the psychological preconditioning preventing you from maximising your potential.

“I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.” ~ Thomas Edison

Rules Schmules!

Children are inherently creative. Why?

More heart, less head. No fear of failure. No self-editing. They are still learning and figuring out the world and what they are capable of. They aren’t afraid of what other people think.

Adults are more resistant. Afraid of not knowing. We fear failure. More importantly, we’re afraid of the way our failures are perceived by others – colleagues and superiors.

Appearances matter. And they hold us back.

Find Your Inner Child

Everyone has an inner child (the creative free spirit) but as we grow older and take on responsibilities we bury this deeper and ignore it.

Giving your inner child a chance to express itself and have fun helps the adult ‘you’ become more creative.

Creativity is play.

Creativity is exploring the world around you. Discover your limitations. Find ways of solving the problems you face. Experiment. Fail. And don’t worry about it.

“If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun.” ~ Katharine Hepburn

Would you stop your kid learning how to walk after they fell over once? Twice? Five times?”

You learn more through failure. Embrace it. Learn what doesn’t work. Get one step closer to discovering what does.

Quantity Is The Route To Quality

Quality is what we all strive for and are pressured to achieve immediately – deadlines!

You can only get true quality by going through a process of generating QUANTITY.

“In 1953, a fledgling company called Rocket Chemical Company and its staff of three set out to create a line of rust-prevention solvents and degreasers for use in the aerospace industry. Working in a small lab in San Diego, California, it took them 40 attempts to get the water displacing formula worked out… WD-40® [was] perfected on the 40th try.”

(Source: https://www.wd40.com/cool-stuff/history)

 

Get ALL your ideas down.

No matter how childish, insane or improbable they may seem, DON’T SELF-EDIT. One of those ideas, or a combination of those ideas, could be the killer creative solution to your problem.

Unschool Yourself

Traditional approaches to education group and classify students depending on their age, background and perceived ability, based on standardised testing.

In school we are judged against static criteria. We are standardised. Everyone has their progress mapped out. We become part of an educational conveyor belt.

This model tells us what we are supposed to achieve by certain points in our life. When we should be able to read. What we should be able to read. How we should write. When we should be able to demonstrate these skills.

There’s one problem.

We don’t learn in a linear fashion.

What people think learning looks like vs. What learning really looks like

(Adapted from an original image by Demetri Martin. Source: https://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/5935)

 

This is the major flaw in the system. We learn and develop at different rates, in different ways. Yet we have to conform.

Creativity is beaten out of us.

Independent thought is nothing more than an aspiration; spoon-feeding is the reality because failure is not an option.

Failure is the best option.

Resilience is key.

Prepare To Love Failure!

The following tasks and activities are designed to help you break free from the fear of failure. Shifting the importance away from the end product, they focus on the process. They encourage creative silliness and remove the pressure of how ideas will be received and perceived.

Because the outcomes don’t matter, we are freed to express ourselves with the same reckless abandon that children have. It’s playful.

You can’t fail. But you can learn from the process.

1. The Alternative Uses Test

Our brains are conditioned to protect us from risk and err on the side of caution, preferring things that have worked previously – the Comfort Zone. This is why we end up generating the same ideas. You need to trick your brain into thinking differently.

J.P. Guilford developed the Alternative Uses Test to stretch our creativity. You have two minutes to think of as many possible alternative uses for an everyday object – like a phone, a blob of sticky tack, or a chair.

For example, “paper clips” could move beyond simply keeping your papers together to become: cufflinks, earrings, imitation mini-trombones, something you use to push the emergency restart button on your router, a way of keeping headphones from getting tangled up, a bookmark.

Try it yourself and see:

  • how many different uses you can come up with,
  • how uncommon or original the uses are,
  • how many different categories your answers cover (cufflinks and earrings are both accessories – one category )
  • how detailed and elaborate your responses are.

2. Torrance’s ‘Incomplete Figure’

Ellis Paul Torrance developed the Incomplete Figure test. This drawing challenge formed part of the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking (TTCT), a creativity-oriented alternative to traditional IQ tests. The result is a game similar to exquisite corpse.

You’re given a shape (like the one below, courtesy of What I See When I Look At), and then asked to complete the image.

 What I See When Spiral

(Click on the image to see some examples)

3. A Beautiful Constraint

Try imposing limits and restrictions on your work.

Hang on a minute. You’ve been going on about breaking free from constraints and self-imposed limits. What gives?”

At the risk of sounding contradictory, limiting yourself can actually help you be more creative.

“Adopting a ‘Transformer Mindset’ means viewing our constraint positively and possibly increasing the ambition along the way.”

(Source: http://www.abeautifulconstraint.com/the-process)

 

It is surprisingly easy to spend a lot of time doing very little.

Do more with less time! Force yourself to complete tasks quicker and with fewer resources.

 

 For example:

Write a story in 50 words. Then halve it. Reduce it further to 10 words. Or 6 words.

 

Creative constraints are the premise behind the One Minute Briefs I regularly enter (One Rule. One Minute. Create an Ad). Or the lipograms I write (no ‘a’ and no ‘e’).

If you impose restrictions you force creative thinking and problem solving. But most importantly you build resilience and you get over the fear of failure.

Because you don’t allow yourself time to be afraid of the outcome.

All you are focused on is getting the task done. Who cares what anyone thinks? Just get something done.

This can be transferred to any number of creative scenarios. Take the Status Quo approach to music and only use a small handful of chords in your song. Or limit the amount of colours you use in your designs.

These restrictions can bring out your most creative side.

Take Away Thoughts

Free your inner child.

Be childlike in your approach to tasks. We are all always learning.

Have fun. Create without restraint. Don’t self-edit. Don’t worry about what anyone thinks of your ideas. This will be liberating.

Ideas are a process, not the end product.

Make mistakes. Learn from them.

Keep up to date with my regular creative challenges on Twitter and via my blog. Join me as I explore more ways to help you break free from the fear of failure.

 

Gareth

 

 

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I stopped using ‘e’ and it was hard!

Proud as a peacock with my lipogram efforts

Look! It’s a lipogram minus that fifth symbol in our Anglo-Saxon syllabary!

My last post about not using ‘a’ in my writing was fairly fruitful. But now a similar trial has found its way onto my lap(top). My task? To draft a lipogram without using that fifth symbol in our Anglo-Saxon syllabary at any point in my post.

I told you so!

Why am I doing this ridiculously tricky task? A pal said that I should.

That’s it…

To his mind my prior post was too straightforward and had nothing to it.

Don’t assign any “A’s” to your writing? No probs! Any fool with a modicum of insight and imagination can do that!

But that fifth symbol. That sign that is customarily found in our writing. Omitting that is a fitting confirmation of skill (and impulsivity).

Prior to this I thought I was foolhardy. Now I know that I am just a stubborn ass in my pursuit of lipogrammatic triumph.

I want to say to my old amigo “I told you so! I told you I could do it!”

So it’s onwards and upwards from this point forward.

Sitting on top of a building looking down at the world beneath your feet.

THIS is strikingly difficult.

But still a fantastic brain workout.

As with my last post of this kind, I truly savour how writing drills of this sort focus your mind. By imposing limitations and constraints on your work you ask that your brain think in distinct ways to find solutions.

It boosts your vocabulary too!

Any author or artistic individual will find this kind of activity fulfilling and possibly a bit hooking.

I know I do!

Mostly to confirm that I can actually accomplish such a tortuous task.

This is why YOU should try it.

Lipograms afford you an opportunity to amplify your capacity with words.

If you blog, you must try this task.

If you find joy in writing, you will fancy giving this a go.

If nothing, it’s a fantastic distraction from doing actual work! I think that is a major contributing factor to my frolics with lipograms.

As with anything you do, it’s a bit of a thrill to find triumph in any taxing task.

Writing this lipogram was fun.

And that’s most important.

I found I was grinning on many occasions during my writing. Such silly actions can add fun to a working day, and possibly stop it from spiralling down into banality.

It’s a way of splitting up that long list of tasks you must finish, with original and unusual thinking. It might aid you in accomplishing your goals by providing you with a surprisingly vanguard approach to your work.

In summary…

Writing should thrill you.

So add fun to it!

Assist and boost your brain into thinking in distinct ways. If your writing is stagnant you will find this kind of activity handy. It’s a practical way out of mind rot.

Why not play along? Do your own lipogram.

Push your mind and your words to work for you.

So, in conclusion…

I want to proclaim this as a linguistic victory.

I’m as proud as a bird with ridiculously long tail quills!


Gar’th

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Is it possible to write a blog post without using the letter ‘a’?

Man writing a letter in his journal

OR, “Is it possible to write without using the first morpheme in the English linguistic system?”

This is difficult. Every other word I wish to use includes the forbidden letter! I don’t know why I set myself this test.

Never mind. Here goes.

I’m proving nothing, except being one dogged, determined moron, striving to justify this ludicrous blog.

It’s completely impulsive; needless even. But there you go. Up to this point it’s been shown to be possible.

How long will I keep it up?

Who knows! I guess it depends on the following five things:

1) My sheer bloody-mindedness. The demented willingness to continue with this buffoonery.

b) The need to hit the prerequisite word count for blog posts. You know, for SEO purposes of course.

c) It gives me more time to think of which keywords to include… Which ones get reproduced often enough throughout this post? Plus, more words will help hike up my word count.

d) People like lists! Or so I’m told.

e) The childish joy I derived from contriving this list without using the letter in question.

Lightbulb

Letter could be the keyword I’m looking for!

Come to think of it.

It does seem the most likely. So I’ve included it in the sub. Then it becomes obvious to everyone. It is definitely the subject of the blog.

Envision the Google query: blogs touching on the subject of letters.

Completely nuts!

But honestly, this isn’t so difficult, now I consider it.

I think I’ve proved the point I set out to prove.

It is entirely possible to write enough semi-coherent content without using the letter I set out not to use.

I think I’ve done pretty well to get to this point. Even though it’s not my best piece of written work – quite repetitive I feel – I hope it will get me noticed!

It’s been childish, frivolous, idiotic, but downright good fun! If you enjoy writing, of course.

But now I think I’m done. So I’m going to sign off.

Why don’t you try it?

Go on. Test yourself!

Let me know how it goes! Comment below or Tweet me.

G’reth

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It’s Been An OMBelievable Start to 2018: January in Summary

Cheeky monkey smiling at the camera. Just like me this January!

It’s been a whirlwind start to 2018. January has been a month full of exciting developments. Here’s my OMBelievable summary of the year so far.

January: Out With The Old, In With The New

The bubbly had barely left the bottle and things were already afoot. There was no hanging about. By the end of the first week of the new year I had re-launched my website with a fresh new template.

There was a new blog with the promise of regular new content and a determination to make things happen.

Straight into fifth gear!

Welcome OMBoard!

January 15th, and the days were about to get a lot brighter.

This was the day I became an OMBassador and member of the OMBoard. A real honour. It was an epic email to wake up to from Nick Entwistle (so much scrolling!) and a powerful end to the second week in January.

This is INKredible!

The dust had barely settled on the OMBoard announcement. But there was more big news to be had in January.

Only seven days had passed since becoming an OMBassador when I officially joined the Social Ink team, January 22nd, as Content Marketing Manager.

I’d previously worked with Chris and the team back when they were Just Consulting Ltd. as a copywriter and editor. I love what they do and I admire their work ethic. This was something I wanted to be a part of.

A total no-brainer!

Time to make an imPACT

I cut my teeth with Social Ink pretty quickly. My first blog post went live January 24th – The Value of Social Media for Business: Where’s the ROI?

This was quickly followed by a piece for #NationalStorytellingWeek – Social Media is Storytelling: Build Your Brand and Boost Engagement on Social Media Through Narrative.

Since then the content has been coming thick and fast, with further blogs, podcasts, Facebook Live discussions and infographics amongst the ideas already in the pipeline.

Keep checking the Social Ink Blog and Facebook Page or join our All About Digital Marketing discussion group on Facebook for updates.

Jan in 60 seconds! (43s actually)

To crown it all off, I set myself the challenge of completing at least one OMB for every brief set in January. Just to keep the creative juices flowing.

And here they all are. Edited together in celebration of one helluva month!

So, here’s to February!

(And every month after that)

Gareth

 

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Say “yes” more. Except when you mean “no”!

Yes written in grafitti

I’ve found that my default response when asked if I’d like to do/try something, go somewhere or meet someone new is typically a noncommittal “we’ll see”. Which in fact is a dressed-up “maybe”. But in actuality is an unequivocal “no”. I have decided, upon reflection, that I need to say “yes” more.

How many opportunities have passed me by? How many experiences have I missed out on? How many people have I failed to meet?

What is the total loss to the self, thanks to the unholy trinity of “we’ll see”, “maybe” and “no”?

I need to say “yes” more.

It’s important to say “yes”. But only in response to the right questions.

Only yes is yes written in chalk on a blackboard.

Since realising my love of “no” and disdain for “yes” I’ve started noticing similar patterns of behaviour in other people. It’s like waiting for a bus, and then two come along. Or spotting people glued to their phone screens as they walk down the high street. Or worse still,  scrolling through their feeds whilst out “socialising” with friends down the pub or in a restaurant. Once you notice it, you can’t un-notice it. You start seeing it everywhere!

People say “no” (or any number of the more passive utterances) all too readily. It becomes an instant reaction. Perhaps to buy time to consider what you’re being asked to do. Maybe because it’s become ingrained through habitual use.

I think it’s borne out of the fear of the unknown.

We’re scared to take risks.

New experiences, people, even opportunities, represent risk. And as an unknown quantity our immediate reaction is to shy away from them.

We are afraid of the unknown.

Will Smith described it best, recounting his confrontation with fear when skydiving in Dubai. We’re not actually afraid of the act itself. Once we’re there and experiencing it we commit and enjoy. It is the anticipation that frightens us.

“You realise that the point of maximum danger is the point of minimum fear.” – Will Smith

The build-up to an opportunity or new experience is scary. Because we have time to think.

Once we allow ourselves too much time to think, we convince ourselves not to go through with it. We psyche ourselves out. All of a sudden our brain has conjured up an infinite number of reasons why we should not be doing this thing that we will likely benefit from greatly. And that’s when it becomes easier to simply say “no”. That’s when we automatically make up excuses, reasons why “now is not a good time”.

The fact is, “now IS a good time!” If not now, when? This realisation has been a catalyst for me, and something which I’ve written about previously. It’s time to get out of your own way!

Don’t fear the unknown.

Say “yes” more. Unless what you should be saying is “no”.

Come again?

Let me put it differently.

How often have you said “yes” to a request (or a passive “ok”) when what you really ought to have said was “no”?

I do it all the time. Why is it suddenly so hard to say “no” when that’s exactly what you want to say?

How many times have you been asked to do something extra at work, when you’re already up to your eyeballs, and said “yes”?

Don’t be afraid to say “no”. You’re already quite good at it when it comes to opportunities for personal growth and experiential development!

Say what you mean and be clear about it.

Say “no” when you mean “no”.

Don’t be afraid of what the other person might think of you. You don’t need to placate them with “ok”. Be clear. Say “no”.

Similarly, don’t be afraid to take risks. Take opportunities when they present themselves. Don’t fall into the trap of always saying “no” or “maybe” and never doing anything. Say “yes”. And mean it.

The anticipation, the build-up, will be scary… The event itself will be exhilarating.

Say “yes”. Unless you really have to say “no”.

And remember… “No” still means “no”.

Buy try to say “yes” more.

Gareth

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Businesses need a One Minute Briefs strategy. These are the top 6 benefits.

One Minute Briefs OMB Live 4 Event Photo

A One Minute Briefs strategy has a multitude of benefits for any business or enterprise. No matter the size or the scale of your operation, involving One Minute Briefs in your marketing strategy guarantees a return on investment.

WWF Logo

 

This is why charities (like WWF and City to Sea), awareness campaigns (such as The Drum’s Do It Day and Lyttle Fight), corporate bodies (including Grant Thornton), and businesses globally (as varied as Twisted Lingerie and BioSure) are choosing One Minute Briefs to enhance their marketing strategies. It’s an easy way to promote your work, business or cause. (See my previous post on the importance of getting noticed and promoting yourself.)

Grant Thornton Logo    The Drum Logo     Twisted Lingerie Logo

These are the top 6 benefits experienced by businesses who’ve engaged with OMB.

1.     One Minute Briefs is a verified account

Twitter Verified TickThat small blue badge is an indicator of influence. One Minute Briefs is officially recognised as an account of public interest on Twitter. And it’s not just because Twitter says so. Businesses who’ve engaged One Minute Briefs in their marketing campaigns will verify this too.

2.     Immediacy

One Minute Briefs is the complete digital agency. It is based entirely online and run via its social media platforms (Twitter and Facebook). This working model harnesses the immediacy, accessibility, portability, connectivity, interactivity and convenience offered by the internet to offer real-time responses to client briefs. This aligns with its founding principles: One Rule. One Minute. Create an Ad.

Immediacy is fundamental to One Minute Briefs. And this is a key benefit to any marketing strategy.

Generating quick responses to global events and developments is what One Minute Briefs prides itself on. It thrives on immediacy. Your business could greatly benefit from this approach.

3.     Reach

At the time of writing, the last 100 tweets by One Minute Briefs had reached an estimated 33,851 accounts along with 93.3k impressions. These figures relate to a Fun Friday brief set purely for creative kicks.

However, when you look at the numbers more closely, there is a much bigger picture to be unearthed. Consider the old ‘chain letter’ concept in the dark ages before digital.

The chain letter idea aims to convince the recipient to make numerous copies of the same letter and then send these on to a predefined number of recipients. This becomes an exponentially growing pyramid. One letter, one message, is spread widely and quickly.

Let’s turn this digital.

If 80 people are tweeting concepts and ideas in response to a brief, One Minute Briefs will retweet them to a potential audience of 15.6k followers every time. Multiply 15.6k by 80 and you’re into the millions.

One Minute Briefs LogoThis is just the start. One Minute Briefs is not the only profile tweeting content. Those 80 people are also sharing their content with their followers. And retweeting content they like or admire made by other contributors to the brief. With each follower having on average 300 followers of their own the reach figures really start stacking up quickly. Each tweeted ad in response to a One Minute Brief is exceptionally far-reaching. Like a chain letter, it becomes an exponentially growing pyramid. Only faster. With a greater, global, reach. And each post is a bit of content to advertise your product, business or cause.

Now that’s based on the premise of 80 people responding to a brief. Imagine the impact a prize or incentive might have?

The increased uptake from One Minute Briefs’ online community at the thought of ‘winning’ more than just kudos would grow the potential reach and exposure your business could enjoy exponentially. After all, this is the platform that got the NHS Choir to Christmas Number One, beating Justin Bieber to the top spot, in 2016.

NHS 4 Xmas No. 1 Logo

4.     Huge talent pool

With 15.6k followers (mostly interested or working in marketing and advertising ), One Minute Briefs has instant access to a significant pool of talent. This includes designers, copywriters, developers, art directors, photographers, videographers, marketers, account managers… The list goes on.

How many agencies can say the same?

5.     Quantity and choice

One Minute Briefs is and ideas generation machine. It’s the very principle behind it. No idea is discounted. Every idea is valid as a step towards the final outcome. And One Minute Briefs’ followers (the OMBLES) feed off this; collaboration, development, improvement.

Every idea, every concept, submitted in response to a brief stimulates new thinking, new ideas, new concepts, amongst the huge talent pool of followers and contributors. This quantity of ideas, the variety and choice of concepts made available by a single brief is a massive benefit to businesses.

You can enjoy witnessing the creative process as it unfolds in real time. Engage with it and enter into conversations and discussions with the creatives as they respond to the brief. Choose which concepts, and indeed how many, you wish to push out across your social media channels. You don’t just get the end product, you get the Full Monty.

6.     Low risk. High Gain.

When all of these benefits combine you experience the optimum success model. The risk is virtually non-existent. The potential gains are huge! The cost of providing prizes as incentives (along with One Minute Briefs’ commission) is nothing in comparison to the coverage, reach, quantity, choice and immediacy of work submitted by the biggest online marketing and advertising talent pool available.

If your business hasn’t considered a One Minute Briefs strategy, it should.

What’s the best that could happen?

Follow @OneMinuteBriefs on Twitter. Send a Direct Message. Start benefitting from everything that One Minute Briefs has to offer.

And whilst you’re at it, give me a follow too: @alvo_muses.

Gareth

 

Other businesses who have benefitted from working with One Minute Briefs include:

(Header image courtesy of Erika Szostak http://www.erikaszostak.com/)

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Get Noticed. Get Out Of Your Own Way.

Silhouette of a man, standing in the shadows, desparate to get noticed.

It’s time to get noticed. Again.

I’m not the biggest U2 fan. I think their best music can be found in their earlier albums. However, they never fail to strike a chord (pardon the pun) lyrically.

There’s always a single or two on every album that has lyrics that really resonate. None more so than their recent release, Get Out Of Your Own Way.

It’s been a long hiatus. I haven’t written a blog post in years. And I’m pretty ashamed and appalled by this fact.

I don’t buy into empty New Year Resolutions or cliché New Year, New Me rubbish.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” ~ Aristotle

 

Actions speak louder than words. Just do it. Call it what you want. I haven’t been doing it. I haven’t been putting my words into action.

New Year is an arbitrary point in the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. January 1st in the Gregorian Calendar is an arbitrary starting point to the New Year (fashioned so that Easter falls at the same point in the lunar cycle every year). So, in an equally arbitrary fashion, I have decided that now is as good a time as any to get noticed again. It’s not a New Me. It’s just Me. I’m back.

I’m blogging. Posting. Sharing. Updating. Creating content that interests me. If it interests you too, great!

When I first launched my website in 2013 I had a fairly regular blog where I wrote about the creative process, explored the ins and outs of social media, commented on adverts that interested me and creative work that inspired me. That content drove traffic to my website. It helped me get noticed. It gained me followers. Clients. And, most importantly, I enjoyed it. I enjoyed writing. Creating. Sharing. And all the conversations and interactions that resulted from it.

Old garetalvarez.com landing page - Welcome to my workshelf.

Then I just stopped. I didn’t stop being interested, I just stopped writing about it. I didn’t have the time.

Sorry. What?

I didn’t make the time. So I stopped getting noticed.

And it’s this that I am going to change.

This is my plan to get noticed

One Minute Briefs Logo

Taking inspiration from One Minute Briefs (@OneMinuteBriefs) and Nick Entwistle from the Bank of Creativity (@BOC_ATM)and now Trunk Agency (@TweetsByTrunk) I plan to “get sh*t done” this year.

Write it down. Post it. Share it. Whatever it is. Just do it. There is no point in doing nothing. So let’s do something.

Create scribbled in pencil.

Nick once said, “there is nothing more important than the work you do, to get the work that you do noticed.” Or words to that effect.

And that’s what I plan to do.

This year I plan to spend more time promoting my work. It doesn’t matter what it is. It doesn’t matter whether people like it or not. You can’t please everybody. And if you set out to try to please everybody you’ll create nothing meaningful.

If you don’t take the time to work on promoting the work that you do you’re as good as invisible.

It’s not just good enough creating. Share what you create. Be visible. Get noticed.

And that’s my plan this year. I have a new website. It’s going to be cleaner and neater. I will update it regularly with new content. New posts. My latest work and endeavours.

Now is the time to “get sh*t done.” Do work to get the work that I do seen. Share more. Post more. Create More. Get back into old habits.

No more excuses.

It’s time to get out of my own way and get noticed! Again.

Gareth

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Catatonia – What to do when you’re stuck

Being stuck on a task can feel a little bit like this.

There’s always a point in the day, week, month, year, your life, when you get stuck. It’s that point when you find yourself staring a lot. Trapped in a middle-distance focus. Eyes partly glazed. Brow partly furrowed. Brain partly dead.

What’s Going On?

You might be tired. Overworked. Bored. Uninspired. Bored.

So you stare.

And things just continue to happen around you. Out there on the periphery.

You half-acknowledge people. You robotically go through the motions. And when you finally snap out of your catatonic trance you have no recollection of anything that’s happened! 

It’s like being drunk. Only cheaper.

Now What?

These are difficult times.

Perhaps not in the grand scheme of things, but they can feel difficult. Especially when there are things that need doing – there always are – and you just can’t bring yourself to do any of them.

Not interested in the slightest.

In fact. Maybe, if you ignore them, they’ll go away?

Better still, they might get done by someone else!

That’s unless it’s work that only you can do.

You’ve checked your smartphone for the hundredth time. Let out a big long sigh. Done everything imaginable to procrastinate and avoid the inevitable. But it still hasn’t gone away.

What’s The Solution To Being Stuck?

So, here’s the trick.

Banging your head against a brick wall is only going to give you a headache. And, at most, you might scuff the paintwork.

It’s pointless. You’ll get nowhere. You’ll feel worse.

Instead. Do something fun.

Distract your mind with an activity that you love.

Give your mind a rest. Change your focus. Free the subconscious. Let it wander. Break out of your trance.

STOP STARING!

Try a smile. Have a conversation. Write something. Draw something. Mess about on Photoshop. Do a One Minute Brief. Watch a silly YouTube video.

And when you’re done. When you’ve finally forgotten the burden that was weighing you down. Go back to it.

It’ll get done.

Unless the reason you’re stuck is because you went out for a couple of drinks on a school night and you’re hungover.

Then, tough.

Drink some water and soldier on!

I’m off to drink some water.

 

Gareth

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