The Definition of Creative

by Michael Hutzel

I hear the word “creative” about 142 times each day. And as I would with any word I hear that often, I began to question what it really means. In the marketing and advertising community, it’s very generic; “creative” describes the work an agency produces or a person’s thought process. Or it can describe an individual and their role. Inundated with definitions, I think we have lost the true meaning of what it means to be a Creative.

As a self-professed Creative and a creative director, I can definitely say that the word is both overused and misused. Let’s start with the context of a title. Being labeled a Creative prescribes you glasses, fits you into skinny jeans, and a gives you a particular taste in music, coffee, and people. Ironically, I fit into that stereotype—but I reject it completely. Why? Because it has absolutely nothing to do with creating.

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The word “create” means to bring something new into existence. So, if you want to look the part, your work better speak louder than your vinyl collection or your haircut. The title doesn’t belong to every creative thinker in the marketing/advertising world. People are wrapped up in the theatre of what they think today’s ad/marketing professional is supposed to be. Can you be a creative thinker? Of course. But don’t downplay what it means to truly bring that idea to life.

Crafting something is what defines it. Write the copy or code, design the ad, direct the photo shoot, and don’t stop short at talking about it.

How do we close the curtain on the theatrics and get back to the core of what we are supposed to do? I thought about it for a while and came up with the core traits that I believe reach beyond persona and make someone a true Creative:

Flexibility
Working on an ad campaign or the next great web app is fantastic creative work. But let’s be honest, it’s only half the challenge. A Creative can be tasked with deadlines, communication issues, political pitfalls, and egos. Being flexible in the sea of bullshit makes you stronger. If you remain rigid, both you and your idea will break.

Iteration
You must love the process. You have to desire feedback with a good team you can trust. If you want your copy, art, or code to inspire thought or action, expose it to time and thought.

Industriousness
Be diligent and hardworking. This to me is absolutely the most important piece. You have to care about your work more than your persona simply because something inside of you demands that you get better.

Curiosity
If you love the craft, you want to learn about it is much as you can. Be nosey about the shop across the street, take time to investigate other creative work, and be willing to measure yourself against others in a healthy way.

Humility
This is the key ingredient for great collaboration. Creative ideas can come from anywhere, but you have to pull your ego back a little to allow the idea to reach its potential. And whatever you do, give yourself room to learn from your mistakes.

The key to being creative isn’t any single ingredient, but an eclectic combination of many. You can’t claim your title until you’ve learned to let go of the theatrics and combine the traits of a true Creator. Anything that is not a part of true creation is just part of the show.

Michael is the chief creative officer of FoxFuel Creative. He loves British music, vintage German cars, and American history—and his sarcasm know no borders. #DreamBig

New Year’s Dissolution

by Henry Pile

We’re about four months into 2016 where New Year’s Resolution deaths tend to spike, so I wanted to encourage you with a story:

Some time ago, I made a New Year’s Resolution to start smoking. Don’t ask. I was in college and at the time, it made sense. I executed this resolution within 3 hours of midnight and held on to it for many years.

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I haven’t made a real resolution since.

Until 2016. This year, I resolved to write a poem every day for the entire year. I studied creative writing in college and I have been published in multiple journals and periodicals.

Have you ever heard stories about people who see music? I see poetry. I stare from the passenger window at the group of high school kids crossing the street and see swirling colors, smoke and dust wrapping them like translucent blankets. And, I want to write about it.

I started strong. Daily, I put words down. They were, by and large, not good, but they were there. Like exercising, I knew practice would build muscle and sharpen the saw. I focused on my feelings and my response to the world around me. I embraced discomfort and excitement alike. I opened myself up to moments of vulnerability and it felt wonderful.

Then, I missed a day.

Then another

Then five.

And just like that, all that I relished about my resolution hung like an albatross stinking up the room. No one smelled it but me.

Too many real-life responsibilities took center stage and writing was written off. Here I am, too many days into the year, and giving up. Or am I?

No. Instead, I am giving up on the idea that writing daily is an all-or-nothing gig. I am giving up on the self-imposed rigor that amounted to more regret than success. To write is to write. I won’t wait for fickle inspiration. I will not succumb to the fallacy that writing every day is the only answer. I will, however, write. Maybe it will only amount to 298 poems, but that’s still a helluva lot.

In my day to day role at FoxFuel, I don’t spend all day working on a singular client. I have to let go, switch focus, and jump right into the stream of a different job. A rush of cold water and mild panic embodies the pace of work, but I can’t afford to fret about the work left undone. I come back to it later after giving all my work proper attention. Nothing is written off or left undone.

Whatever your work stream, whatever your resolution, whatever your current status—pick it back up. Maybe it hurts in the beginning, but imagine how it will feel to run through the tape at the end. Resolve this year to finish what you started.

Lipscomb Is Hiring a Director of Digital Marketing

FoxFuel recently landed Lipscomb College of Business as a client, and as we do with all good clients, we help them find top talent to flesh out their marketing teams.  Apply through their site, and feel free to CC me, or let me know that you’ve applied (you must apply through their site), and I can put in a good word. Here’s a few excerpts from their job posting:

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Primary Responsibility:

Responsible for the ongoing development and management of all digital assets used in marketing including, but not limited to, the university marketing website(s) as well as social media/networking sites. The candidate must also have proven ability to effectively collaborate with partners across the university to implement digital content and online marketing activities that are aligned with the university’s brand, values and goals.

Job Related Skills:

  • Commitment to the University and its mission, programs, and future aspirations
  • Strong, collaborative, energetic individual with a deep personal commitment to the highest standards of ethics, confidentiality and professionalism
  • Strong organizational skills and an appreciation and attention to detail
  • Ability to communicate effectively with University representatives, parents, students, alumni, donors and representatives of the business community
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills

A results-oriented individual who demonstrates the ability to work well with people at all levels of an organization, warmly develops relationships with diverse constituencies, and simultaneously employs keen judgment.

Experience: A minimum of five to seven years experience in digital marketing.

Hiring Statement:

Lipscomb University is a private, Christian university associated with the fellowship of the Church of Christ and governed by religious tenets held by the Church of Christ. Preference will be given to applicants who are members of the Church of Christ.

Check out the full job posting here: Director of Digital Marketing.

Good luck.

April Fools’ Gold

Each year on April 1st, the biggest and brightest talent in the digital world get together and produce what might be their proudest work—April Fools’ Day jokes.

This year, April Fools did not let anyone down. With several companies going all out on a production level, let’s just say the talent lineup was spectacular. And though many gave it their best effort, there were a few that stood out amongst them all.

 

Quilted Northern Rustic Weave

Quilted Northern tapped into a fast-growing demographic of the natural and locally made artisan movement. What they created hit the nail right on the head.

 

Mark Zuckerberg for H&M

This one is a joke for the tech guys who, when it comes to wardrobe, prefer the familiar. And though it was not made by H&M themselves, kudos to the guys who had the brain and savvy to pull it off.

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Lairbnb

This Airbnb spinoff offers lairs for rent from Superheros and fairytale characters.

 

John Stamos and Netflix

Our clear winner is Netflix, along with everyone’s favorite Uncle Jesse.

Step 1, a ridiculous and obviously fake documentary:

 

Step 2, a meltdown that would strike terror into poor little Michelle:

 

Step 3, a warm and fuzzy apology:

 

Thanks for laugh, ya fools.