Working in brand development marketing where I need to generate new ideas for product concepts and ways to reach and speak to the audience, it’s important to not only know your audience, but equally important to seek inspiration from various sources out there in the big, wild world.
If you are lucky enough to work somewhere that serves a lot of trend and market information on a plate for you then that’s a fantastic start, but keep an eye on what else if out there to inspire you can be extremely valuable. Here are a few sources I lean on to fuel my creative reserves…
Shop ‘til you drop
A Nielsen report on who’s winning in the market in whatever category your brand plays is great, but in today’s world where niche competitors are taking risks and trying new things that big players may be reluctant to, it’s worth keeping an eye out more broadly. And limiting yourself to your category also may not serve you well, as innovation can come from an adjacent or even unrelated category.
K-beauty has surged in popularity in facial skin care, and now it is extending into body care. Pop into Sephora, Ulta Beauty, Boots or Bath & Body Works and you will see face sheet masks everywhere. I remember working on the Dove Men+Care team and checking out the Korean beauty stores in Flushing in New York to check out exactly what was coming out in Korea without paying for the airfare.
Keeping an eye on this trend and something like the sheet mask format is now inspiring brands in other categories like body. Check it out…
Shopping the market is perhaps more of an obvious source of inspiration but one source I have found interesting working in Fragrance category, which has potential to be more rooted in fantasy and fictional storytelling is a visit to an Art museum. Living in New York I am privileged enough to be surrounded by amazing museums, galleries and even street art.
When exhibitions as fabulous and engaging as Alexander McQueen’s Savage Beauty come to town, you can’t help but be energized by the creativity. For me Fashion is a barometer for visual trends that go on to pervade the masses, and specifically for products like fragrance in packaging and advertising.
Finally, I was listening to the podcast Damn Good Brands recently and was inspired by the interview with Chris Kooluris, a creative media specialist and disruptive marketer. His approach to PR blends pop culture relevance with humor and stunts that surprise and delight the audience. He created the Total Eclipse stunt in 2017 where Bonnie Tyler surprised guests on a Royal Caribbean Cruise ship to perform her classic hit the very moment of the actual eclipse. His inspiration, as he states in the podcast is to read the news and be immersed in to culture. He comments just how small stories in the news can blow up and grab even more attention if cultivated and creatively blended with an interested message or personality that all play in to relevant popular culture.
Brands like Oreo know the importance of tracking what’s trending in media and culture at large. Even they got in on the total eclipse action with a clever social post.
Never underestimate the power of seeking out new inspiration. It can fuel new thinking, creative ideas for new products or even clever ways to communicate with your audience. Where do you get your inspiration?