Improving radical creativity for business

Creativity in marketing is an edge that every entrepreneur can use to grow a business and stand out. [iStockphoto]

To stand out, your business category must be different from the competition. You must be visible. You must be seen, and marketing is one tool to get there.

Creativity in marketing is an edge that every entrepreneur can use to grow a business and stand out. In his book slingshot, Gabor George Burt talks about ways of harnessing creativity that is bound to change your profit margins.

What customers want

Recent research has found creativity as the single most important quality for smart leadership that guarantees future success. In business, customers by nature desire things they do not already possess.

The satisfaction frontier for customers is always beyond their grasp. The question for the business owner is how then do you always keep the customers excited?

This has to do with motivation, get down to what motivates customers, which is about creating business relationships which in principle, are like our personal relationships.

The question is how do you make customers become attracted to a business offering or a brand? You have to think of what the customer wants. Many times, this has to do with a collection of experiences and the desire to experience things that they have not experienced in the past.

Add purpose

To win the customer, you must add purpose or meaning to the things that excite the customer. By doing this you can sustain an ongoing business relationship.

The vision should always be to delight your customers, which means the relationships must be strong emotionally. You need to understand that this kind of relationship is short-lived.

This is because if customers like what is being offered, they are likely to treat it as a new normal or the status quo and they will consider that as the new standard. For the relationship to last, you as the business owner will need to be continuously refreshed in terms of the connections and offering you are making for the customers.

You must keep innovating and differentiating yourself from the competition. This is a continuous cycle of innovations and pushing the boundaries and this has tremendous value for your business.

Why creativity matters

A study that interviewed employees working in many different companies showed that 98 per cent considered creativity to be important to their work, yet only two per cent thought that their workplace encourages and nurtures creativity.

And as it turns out there is this disconnect. By nature, we are all creative as this was our natural state when we were children. When Thomas Edison, the greatest inventor of all time, was asked what he thought was the greatest innovation of all, he said without hesitation, the mind of a child.

This is where it all starts, if you think about it everything that surrounds us was born out of someone's mind and then brought to life.

Innovation shortcut

Gabor further in his book Slingshot talks about three key principles with profound impact in a business setting. First, is the principle of innovation shortcut.

More often when we think of innovation, we tend to associate it with the creation of new product categories, but Gabor argues that to innovate and re-imagine or transform, you do not need to invent something new.

You do not need to be the first to bring something to market that never existed. That's risky and resource intensive. Rather, the innovation shortcut is about combining already existing components into new ways that unlock unprecedented value. This is powerful especially in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic because companies are resource stretched.

Define experience

The second principle is to continuously expand the definition of the experience you deliver to your target audience, by asking what more you could do for your customers. It would help if you thought of how you can systematically push the boundaries of the value that you create for your target audience.

Take a moment to imagine or think about what brings you joy and puts a smile on your face. Then apply the same to your target audience. Your work is to bring a smile to the faces of your customer when they experience your product or services.

Your challenge is to keep your customer constantly happy. One way to start delighting your customers is by rephrasing and expanding the definition of your business. The key is to make your business irresistible by empowering your clientele and activating the potential to connect with your customers at a deep level.

Customer pain points

The last principle is to identify and transform your customer's key pain points into points of delight and excitement.

This is the core engine of establishing your business growth and sustaining relevance. A quote from Dave Grossman reinforces this principle; The human equation is to multiply the joy and divide the pain. Pain shared is pain divided; joy shared is joy multiplied.

As a business leader, you need to understand you are in the business of multiplying joy and dividing pain and if you consistently do this you will have the attention of your customers, who ultimately want to maximise their joy and alleviate their pain as much as possible

Finally, injecting humour into your marketing campaigns has incredible power in creating bonds and connections.

It's one of the tools for smart leadership and organisation are moving towards engaging leaders who can help unlock humour in the workplace. The key element is playfulness which is required in today's workplace to motivate teams and close on sales.

-The author is a Senior Budget Officer at the African Development Bank and the author of Unlock Your Body Budget.