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Posts filed under ‘Creativity’

Successful Event Promotion

May 5, 2009


It’s All About the Fine Print

The print materials used to promote and coordinate an event may very well be the glue that keeps the production together.

Sounds a bit dramatic, right?

Dramatic but true. You can have the perfect venue, book the perfect act, and make sure that all the right people know what’s going down, but in the end, success is in the details, and when it comes to putting on a big production, this means your print material!

Start Strong

Consider getting started by making a list of all the stuff you’re going to need to get printed:

  • Posters

  • Flyers / Club cards

  • Tickets

  • Table tent displays

  • Hang Tags

  • Banners

  • Signs with information and directions to help people find their way around the event.

The list can go on and on. If you’re working with a sponsor, you’ll want to consult with them to make sure you cover everything that’s important to them. They might be providing you with their own print material, OR they might just assume that since they’re coughing up the cash, you’re going to deal with everything else. Crossed wires in this regard can be event-planner suicide, so beware!

The benefit of planning for your print materials early on is that you can send them all to your printer at the same time, and the larger the order, the more likely you are to swing a sweet deal. If your printer can, for example, print your posters and your tickets in the same run, then they can pass the savings in ink and paper on to you.

Printing all your event advertising and facilitating material at the same time also means that you design it all simultaneously. Your print material can help to define the style of your entire event, so it never hurts to have a consistent theme running throughout.

For example, having event tickets that look like mini versions of your advertising posters ensures that ticket-buyers carry a little ad for your event with them wherever they go. A colorful ticket that sends out the right kind of vibe can actually sell itself.

In fact, most print materials that are basically informative can be designed to reflect the style of your event and hence to help sell – not just tickets – but the particular mood or mindset that you’re hoping people will attend with.

Again, as an example, a slick, sexy design theme on all your print material makes sure that everyone will attend dressed to the nines and ready to party, while a tongue-in-cheek vintage design theme will encourage ticket-holders to show up strutting their own unique style and ready for anything.

Follow Through To the Big Night

Once you settle on a great design concept for all of your print material, you might even want to expand the range of influence that it can provide.

For example, instead of printing just one standard flyer, consider having a new design for every week leading up to the event. These flyers can act almost like mini news bulletins, offering ticket-buyers new information and building excitement surrounding your production to a fevered pitch.

Stickers can also be money in the publicity bank. Regardless of the subject matter, people love stickers. They want to have a bunch of them, and they want to stick them up all over the place.

Print companies like The UPC specialize in design and as well as a one stop shop for all your print needs. We can be an immense help in this area. So give us a call for your next event.

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Creativity and the Role of the Leader

April 14, 2009

The Idea in Brief

In today’s innovation-driven economy, understanding how to generate great ideas is an urgent managerial priority. And that calls for major doses of creativity. But many leaders assume creativity is too elusive and intangible to be managed.

It’s true that you can’t manage creativity. But you can manage for creativity, say innovation leaders and experts who participated in a 2008 Harvard Business School colloquium. Among their recommendations for fostering the conditions in which creativity flourishes:

  • Stop thinking of yourself as the wellspring of ideas that employees execute. Instead, elicit and champion others’ ideas.
  • Open your organization to diverse perspectives–by getting people of different disciplines, backgrounds, and areas of expertise to share their thinking.
  • Know when to impose controls on the creative process (such as during the commercialization phase) and when not to (during early-idea generation).

The Idea in Practice

To enhance organizational creativity, consider these practices:

Tap Ideas from All Ranks

  • Elicit ideas from people throughout your organization. Google’s founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page tracked the progress of ideas that came from them versus ideas that bubbled up from the ranks–and discovered a higher success rate in the latter category.
  • Motivate people to contribute ideas by making it safe to fail. Stress that the goal is to experiment constantly, fail early and often — and learn as much as possible in the process. Convince people that they won’t be punished or humiliated if they speak up or make mistakes.
  • Further engage people by being an appreciative audience. Asking questions about a project and providing even a word of sincere recognition can be more motivating than money.

Open Your Company to Diverse Perspectives

Innovation is more likely when diverse people come together to solve a problem. Even within the mind of an individual, diversity enhances creativity. Individuals who have multiple social identities–for instance, Asian and American, female and engineer–display higher levels of creativity when problems require them to draw on their different realms of knowledge.

The lesson? Avoid suppressing parts of people’s identity. For example, craft a culture where female engineers can feel comfortable wearing feminine clothing.

Protect Creatives from Bureaucracy

As a fresh idea travels through an organization toward commercialization, powerful constituencies often beat it into a shape that conforms to the existing model. Protect those doing creative work from this hostile environment by clearing paths for them around obstacles.

Know When to Impose Controls–and When Not To

The early discovery phase of the creative process is inherently confusing and inefficient. So don’t impose efficiency-minded controls during that phase. Instead, apply them when the game has moved from discovery to reliability and commercialization.

Know which phase you’re in, and ensure that people with the right skills (such as ability to manage the handoff to the commercialization phase) are involved in the right stages.

Create a Filtering Mechanism

For every idea with real commercial promise, there are dozens that aren’t worth pursuing. How to winnow out the bad from the good? Have people from a variety of disciplines, functions, and viewpoints act as filters. Also consider using business “accelerators” (outside companies that test product ideas) to gauge their potential.

About the Authors

Teresa M. Amabile is the Edsel Bryant Ford Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School in Boston.

Mukti Khaire is an assistant professor at Harvard Business School. The authors gratefully acknowledge the participants in the colloquium “Creativity, Entrepreneurship, and Organizations of the Future,” whose contributions form the substance of this article.

Copyright (c) 2008 Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved

 

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