Found! The best place to go for creative and innovative ideas?

Do you like new creative ideas?

I do. I love it when someone comes up with an idea that is genuinely clever, new and racy. I get excited by the potential opportunities such ideas present.

In almost twenty years as a marketer I have seen my fair share of agency pitches for advertising campaigns. Or proposals for communications collateral to support a proposition launch. I’ve seen budgets for such campaigns as low as a few thousand pounds to many millions.

But no matter how much budget was available to entice the agency to win the job, I’ve occasionally felt disappointed when I see their pitches.

Sometimes they are too “samey”. Others are too safe or lack any originality. Granted the agency responds to a brief written by me so I have to make sure that I haven’t caused my disappointment with poorly written requirements. But when I know I have given a strong brief, the heart sinking feeling of disappointment is even harder to bear when a pitch lacks that unique spark.

For the last few years I’ve been involved with the Product Design students at The Glasgow School of Art (GSA) to run a creative project. Last year we asked them to invent four original ideas for a brand new financial services company.

In the past I have been very impressed by the concepts the students have come up with, so I was looking forward to seeing what their ideas were. Could they make financial services interesting?

Needless to say their presentations overwhelmed me. The six students had locked themselves away in a brainstorming room for a week. Not only had they met our brief and come up with four concepts, but they had also produced posters, leaflets and copy explaining the proposition, and flow charts to show their processes.

creative and innovative ideas?

The Material the Students put together

Their production was professional. The material was eye-catching. Their copy was simple and to the point.

But the jaw dropping moment came when I realised that they had come up with two ideas which were genuinely original. In fact they were innovative, clever and racy. I almost felt like nipping out and filing a few patents.

Yes really their ideas were that good.

Okay so there might have been a bit of naïvety in some of the high level concepts, but these students are not (yet) business people.

And here’s the thing. They put all this together for a prize amount of just over a grand.

Their ideas were fresher, more interesting, and more exciting than agency pitches I have seen for a hundred, maybe a thousand times that amount of money.

creative and innovative ideas

The Innovators

These students have a very bright future.

And do you hear me big corporate enterprises? If you end up employing one of these guys, don’t you dare stifle their creativity with bureaucracy and governance.

And if you are thinking of spending a fortune on an agency, why not try some students first, and then refine their ideas with an agency later? That’s what I’m going to do. I bet I end up being disappointed much less in future.

Now it’s your turn: I would really like to hear your stories about new creative and innovative ideas. Where do you go for inspiration. What’s the most unlikely source of innovative thinking that you have found. Please leave a comment below or paste a link to your own articles.

If you want to talk about creative and innovative ideas in your marketing strategy, get in touch. Send me a message and let’s talk!

Jeremy Chadwick on Group Optical Health Benefits and Vision Care – MPAF11

In the UK it’s compulsory for companies to offer workers that comply with particular circumstances an ‘appropriate eye test’ paid for by their employers.

Offering more than the standard optician test can be a great employee benefit.

And of course there are schemes out there that can make this more affordable for businesses. It’s also an opportunity for advisers who have corporate clients.

My Guest on Episode 11 of the Marketing Protection and Finance Podcast is Jeremy Chadwick.

Jeremy Chadwick on Group Optical Health Benefits

Hear Jeremy talk about the positive benefits of Optical Health Care which not only looks after eye health but can also help detect other illnesses early and allow early treatment.

He also talks about Vision Care from VSP and the opportunities this can bring to advisers.

Click here to TWEET this Episode.

Who is Jeremy Chadwick?

Jeremy is the EMEA Managing Director for VSP Vision Care, the largest vision benefits service company in the world with over 70 million members. In addition to the UK VSP also provides vision care benefits to the US, Ireland, Australia and Canada.

Jeremy has worked in the insurance field for more than 20 years and has significant experience with strategy, underwriting, operations, customer service and distribution across multiple distribution segments.

In his spare time Jeremy is a keen fell runner.

Jeremy’s Links’s Links:

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Now it’s your turn:

If you enjoyed this episode – Jeremy Chadwick on Group Optical Health Benefits and Vision Care – please leave a comment or a review on iTunes. And if you know anyone who would enjoy the show – please share it with them. You can use the buttons below to share on social media.

14 Best Business Books Recommended by Financial Services Professionals

What’s the best business book you’ve ever read?

That’s a question I ask each of my guests on the MPAF Podcast. After ten episodes they’ve named books I’ve read and enjoyed plus many I now have on my “to read list”.

And here are the 14 best business books recommended  by Financial Services Professionals on the show.  Of course there are more than ten!

Click the image or the title to see the book on Amazon.

14 best business books recommended  by Financial Services Professionals

Boomerang (The Meltdown Tour) by Michael Lewis

Michael Lewis’s drives through Europe’s economic innards and describes the consequences of a world plagued by debt. Politically incorrect enough to keep me happy. What about you?

14 best business books recommended  by Financial Services Professionals

Who Moved My Cheese? by Doctor Spencer Johnson

Ever feel like you live in a maze? Cheese represents your goals in life in Spencer Johnson’s story that mimics reality. It’ll only take an hour to read.

14 best business books recommended  by Financial Services Professionals

Improve Your Punctuation And Grammar by Marion Field

Their, there, they’re. A great read for anyone upset by apostrophe abuse.

14 best business books recommended  by Financial Services Professionals

In for a Penny: A Business Adventure by Peter Hargreaves

Financial services entrepreneur Peter Hargreaves refreshingly outspoken on what it takes to succeed. He could teach the Dragons a thing or two.

14 best business books recommended  by Financial Services Professionals

Start Your Business Week by Week by Steve Parks

In 26 weekly steps, this cleverly structured book will walk any budding entrepreneur through everything you need to know and do, in the exact order you need to do it, to get your new business up and running.

14 best business books recommended  by Financial Services Professionals

Flash Boys by Michael Lewis

Lunch definitely is for wimps in this modern take on Wall Street which swaps braces for computer code. Now, the world’s money is traded by computer code, inside black boxes in heavily guarded buildings. Even the experts entrusted with your cash don’t know what’s happening to it. And the very few who do aren’t about to tell – because they’re making a killing.

14 best business books recommended  by Financial Services Professionals

How to Get Rich by Felix Dennis

“Making money is a knack, a knack that can be acquired. And if someone like me can become rich, then so can you – no matter what your present circumstances. Here is how I did it and what I learned along the way.” So writes Felix Dennis, who believes that almost anyone of reasonable intelligence can become rich, given enough motivation and application.

14 best business books recommended  by Financial Services Professionals

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Over 70 years old and still relevant today.

14 best business books recommended  by Financial Services Professionals

The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris

Read Tim Ferris’s advice and you really will believe you can cut your working week to just 4 hours. But do you think it really is possible?

14 best business books recommended  by Financial Services Professionals

Made to Stick – Chip and Dan Heath

What is that makes urban myths so persistent but many everyday truths so eminently forgettable? How do newspapers set about ensuring that their headlines make you want to read on? And why do we remember complicated stories but not complicated facts?

14 best business books recommended  by Financial Services Professionals

The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell

New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell looks at why major changes in our society so often happen suddenly and unexpectedly. Ideas, behaviour, messages, and products, he argues, often spread like outbreaks of infectious disease.

14 best business books recommended  by Financial Services Professionals

Never Eat Alone – Keith Ferrazzi

In Never Eat Alone, Ferrazzi lays out the specific steps – and inner mindset – he uses to reach out to connect with the thousands of colleagues, friends, and associates on his Rolodex, people he has helped and who have helped him. He then distills his system of reaching out to people into practical, proven principles.

14 best business books recommended  by Financial Services Professionals

Not Knowing – Stephen D Souza

In order to thrive in these worrying times, this book proposes we head, uncomfortably, towards the unknown, not away from it. By developing a unique relationship with Not Knowing we discover a new way of living, working and succeeding in our modern world.

14 best business books recommended  by Financial Services Professionals

Permission Marketing by Seth Godin

Whether it is the TV commercial that breaks into our favourite programme or the telemarketing phone call that disrupts a family meal, traditional advertising is based on the hope of snaring our attention away from whatever we are doing.

Seth Godin calls this Interruption Marketing, and, as companies are discovering, it no longer works.

Instead of annoying potential customers by interrupting their most coveted commodity, time, Permission Marketing offers consumers incentives to voluntarily accept advertising.

Now it’s your turn:

What’s your favourite business book? Please leave a comment below and a link to your recommendation. And if you want to appear on the MPAF Podcast to talk more about your business, do please get in touch.