The Importance of Creativity in a Recession


By Dan Licht (@thedvl)

The Great Recession. Are we in it? Are we out of it? Did it ever exist? You can find people who will argue all three sides, but whats pretty plain is, whatever it is, many of us are dealing with smaller budgets, smaller staffs, and expectations that are just as big as ever. Here are three ways to start thinking fresh so you can hit your numbers without breaking your bank.

The Creativity of Bartering

So youve got less money and fewer people to meet your newly raised goals. Not ideal. But theres a silver lining, although it may not look like one.

Your collaborators, your clients, your partners and your service providers – theyre all in exactly the same boat.
The question is how to start using this to your advantage. In a word: bartering. Start thinking about what you need – who can provide it – what they need – and what you can do.

For instance, maybe your team can handle the communications for the IT department in exchange for a loan of some of the hardware in their closet. You save thousands of dollars in your supply budget, get the new tech you need, and they save thousands of dollars for the temp they would have hired to replace the communications person.

The Creativity of Jury-Rigging

You cant afford the focus group or market research that you want. Does that mean you cant test your ideas at all? Does that mean youll have to present them with no data backing them up?

Nope. It just means youll have more interesting kinds of data. Maybe less quantitative, but still extremely valuable – and an extra cool story to tell.

Find everyone whos Twittered about your brand – by definition, tech-savvy, brand-conscious and influential – and invite them to take a survey. Or do man-on-the-street interviews and edit them together to bookend your presentation.
You get great qualitative data that tells a story – and may end up having more of an impact on your audience than a PowerPoint deck full of statistics and charts.

The Creativity of Desperation

Yes, this is the worst case. Youre the last man (or woman) standing. Your team has been decimated, and youre all thats left. All of the same work still needs doing. But you know what time it is?

Its time to present all the crazy ideas. Its time to stick to your guns. Its time to realize that they need you right now, very badly, and that presents you with a certain amount of leverage.

Its not time to give up. Its time to do all the things you always wanted, that nobody would listen to or agree with. Its time to stand up and have some off-the-wall ideas to save your job, save your team, save your brand and save your company.
Its time to get things done.




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