Leading with creativity can be one of the most effective management tools available, but living a creative life seems to me to be a perfect scenario. Being known as “creative” gives license to just have more fun. Sometimes even more respect. As an individual you can have offbeat hobbies, dress with fashion flair and think “differently” – all under the banner of being creative. The older (and maybe wiser) I get; the more I like this image.
As a company leader you will kick it up a notch by incorporating humor, an open-book approach or make larger, fundamental changes to bring your image and your policies more in line with today.
As one who has spent her adult life as an image crafter, maybe it is time to tweak my own persona. Have you thought about who you are in the eyes of others and who you’d like to be?
It’s not really about being a different person or operating differently as a company; it’s about bringing forward parts that were in the background. Often, these creative elements are what bring connections with our family, friends and customers.
Here are two examples:
Chrysler took a stodgy Detroit image and while poking fun at “made in Detroit” turned it into an entire campaign that sold cars and raised stock prices, all told through the eyes of local residents and images of their city. What’s different about this new Chrysler image and the previous one? Pride – in not only their vehicles, but the city where they are made.
College Football – they might be the Ducks, but their new uniforms are causing quite a raucous. And if you watched the University of Maryland game at the beginning of this season you knew as soon as the team came on the field this was going to be a different kind of football. In college sports, the name of the game is to reach the under 25 audience, and that is done through social media. There are few plays better than mixing sports and fashion to reach the younger generation. Proof: The University of Maryland lit up search engines and Twitter for weeks afterward as people across the country talked about the new uniform design. It’s not just about football scores or team results; it’s also about image. And about the impact on the team paraphernalia sales – which have gone through the roof and become a significant revenue stream for athletic departments. Thanks to Nike and Under Armour (whose founder is a former University of Maryland football player) and the financial success of this season, we will certainly see more creative expression on the gridiron in the years to come.
If ever there was a time to re-think who we are and what image we project as individuals, leaders or company owners – it is now. After all, in this economy we have little to lose and those who are creative are being seen as “innovators”. Both ways you win.