• Kara Maddox

7 Reasons Creatives Should Define Your Story & Solution


1. Creatives Give You (An} Edge.

I was a problem child. I wanted to know why with everything. My default mode is also an open mind. I follow my gut, I get into trouble, I take risks.

I have a team who takes risks too, and that works because our core values work: radical transparency, autonomy and flexibility. We invite all flowers who enjoy this type of soil.

Okay, pause flower metaphor -

An edge can be as simple as the right connection.

I’ve been researching how physical space impacts creativity, so I can mimic similar attributes in the digital space. I spoke with Pat McMakin at Ocean Way Nashville on this very topic.

It seems natural light makes a HUGE impact on the creative edge of musicians. This 'light' factor is what separates Ocean Way from the rest.

Creating the right space is paramount.

Many studios are blacked-out to ensure optimal audio quality, but Ocean Way does things differently. Light shines through stained glass windows in warm hues. They're housed in an old, gothic church - the perfect place to get down and vibe.

A lot of the technology – the blinking lights, the chords, the equipment is hidden within the Asian-inspired furniture to help both the engineers and the artists.

Noticing change is part of the creative process.

McMakin explains it well. He says, “I've been an engineer for most of my career. And I can tell you, when you lose sight of day and night, it interrupts your circadian rhythms.

I've had studios where I walk in and it was snowing and you walk out at 11 o’clock at night, and there’s snow on the ground. I don’t see it changing. I don’t’ see the day lighting then dimming.”

And this connection to the day, to the light, to all things outside the studio is what makes the studio so calming.

Environment is everything - and that means online too.

2. Creatives understand mind-body connection

How do you create the right online environment? How do you create a sense of calmness – a window to the ‘outside’ world online?

A lot of the magic really does go back to circadian rhythms.

In fact, Harvard Business Review just published a study about the best times to post content, and it has to do with understanding our biological clocks.

Boosted posts earned $60,921 more in annual revenue in the afternoon than in the morning and entertainment and lifestyle stories generated the most amount of link clicks. Why?

The science behind these findings is rooted in biology.

In short, “human working memory exhibits inherent variation across time of day and is highest when we wake up in the morning, lowest in mid-afternoon, and moderate in the evening." We should follow this same schedule online, too.

--> most important point: we are more likely to seek out new information when we first wake up. That's usually the morning.

3. Creatives understand community

Align postings with the ebb and flow of natural light – and shift your focus to user generated content.

If you think about it, it makes sense. Think Burning Man – a huge festival in the desert of Nevada.

When I first Googled 'Burning Man,’ I was super confused.

Why go to this remote place with a bunch of people you don’t know without music? Sure, there might be music, but people don’t go for the music. What gives?

Year after year Burning Man is simply more – it’s a mentality.

It's a space where artists gather, build things and then, you guessed it – burn them to the ground.

It works because the people make the experience collectively, and when everyone goes home, fans have both their personal experiences and group experiences to talk about.

Your brand’s online presence should be like Burning Man.

Create the environment, set the rules.

Allow fans to make something of the space by adding value. The goal is the story, the experience, so fans can go back and tell their friends, ‘hey, look what I did here…’

Plain and simple that’s just cool because it places your brand in the center of it all without being the center of attention.

4a. Creatives model fellow creatives

Brands like Sharpie tap the art community all the time. They know when fans trust their artists, they'll trust their product.

Sharpie uses brand ambassadors to show their brand is both practical and innovative. Through their platform specific campaigns (check out Insta here), they help fans solve a common problem by adding a touch of color.

Cracked iPhone? No problem - you have Sharpie!

Team KJM follows similar patterns – we use different social media outlets to connect with different art communities. So far, it's working.

4b. Creatives value story

Here's our latest - a few weeks back I ran into Sam Silvey at Spectruss. Well, technically a series of events lead me to his agency, and I appreciate that.

Sam owns a full service marketing agency in Chattanooga.

We all met for lunch at Stir – an upscale, modern seafood place located at the iconic Chattanooga Choo-Choo.

The restaurant fit the bill – they’re known for being inventive, artisan friendly and sourced locally. A perfect setup for a meeting of creative agencies.

We ordered and talked about how the meeting came to be. Hannah found Sam while researching social media agencies in the southeast. We liked their daily tips tactic...

...and decided to try it out.

We also talked about staying human with karate. As a black belt, a two-time national champ and junior Olympian, I jumped at the opportunity to train at Dojo Chattanooga while we were there. Why wouldn’t we?

You see, it’s the plans you don’t have that define your story.

5. Creatives go with the flow

If I had planned every single moment of every single day while visiting Chattanooga – I wouldn’t have made it to kick-boxing, wouldn’t have traveled 1,120 feet below the earth’s surface, wouldn’t have been introduced to Genesis the Grey Kid.

He’s life wrapped up in human form. He told me an important piece of advice when we met at, you guessed it, Stir, at the close of my trip. (weird restaurant coincidence??)

He said – a collaboration is like a kiss, you need trust, you need attraction, you need the courage to push through the grey. You need faith.

He drops a lot of wisdom on his Twitter page. He's great - a true honor - cheers to JW blue.

Living is a lot like writing; sure, you have a loose outline, but eventually you just have to go for it. That, and trust your gut.

6. Creatives invest in people

When a team member brings a lead, I’m over the moon.

Companies – big businesses in general – spend millions (billions??) each year on consultants, sales teams, monetary incentives, etc. – to encourage their employees to deliver more, more, more. While this is good, I think it’s a little bit backwards.

Resume flower metaphor:

Think of it this way – it’s like gardening on asphalt. Can it be done? Sure, you can do it if you have the proper resources – the flower pots, the watering system, the types of flowers that require hot, hot sun.

Your garden isn’t set in stone. It’s defined by the types of flowers that come your way organically. Could you collect seeds along the way? Sure, you could, but where would you plant them?

Use the online landscape to cultivate your seeds.

Instead of buying that top-notch fertilizer to help any flower grow, why not take a more focused approached by cultivating the species you currently support?

If you understand the long-term goals of your employees and provide them with the right resources to reach their personal goals, your team will work harder, faster, more efficiently because they’re invested.

As we move into 2019, we are excited to focus on two initiatives – ABC Connect and our Bridge Program.

Our mission is to support the creative community both online and off, and that starts with our team. With the Bridge Program, we help recent grads find their dream jobs. One of our teammates, Sherry Wynn, recently signed with IBM, Austin campus. Cheers to Sherry!

ABC Connect connects artists to businesses and businesses to communities. We’re currently working on a mural project in the Chicago Western Suburbs. More to come on that soon!

7. Creatives make for a better future

The truth is we all face future worries – and we can't know what will happen. We do not know what 2029 will look like, so how are we supposed to prepare the next generation for a future we cannot predict?

We need to focus on skills computers cannot cultivate.

Let's get back to problem solving – back to critical thinking – back to living. These skills take a lot of work, and the only way the younger generations will hunker down is if they are pursuing a passion they cannot live without.

It’s that tingle that keeps me going. That feeling I get when I make something new, when I see a great film and think oh snap I can make that! When I see a work of art and my mouth drops open - those moments of tingle are what separate me from my computer and you from yours. Don’t ever forget that.

At KJMdigital, we connect artists to businesses and businesses to communities. And the KJM Team works because our mission and values align with what we value - radical transparency, autonomy and flexibility.

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