The Creative Process Usually Begins In The Shower

The Groundswell's "Three Questions" posts are a simple way for creatives like you to hear from other creatives in different spaces.   Today's 3?'s were asked to Tim Trudeau from Syntax Creative.  

1) Every job or project has some level of creativity when it comes to storytelling, marketing, sales, activation or content creation, in your work where does the creative process begin for you? 

The creative process for me usually begins in the shower. Some of my best ideas are generated while I am scrubbing to and fro. While it’s not the ideal place, especially for collaborating, there’s something that can be learned from this. My life is busy. My wife and I home-school and have four kids. Between all of that, I am juggling keeping happy 130 different companies that I have contractual agreements with. When I am not flying or driving to meetings, I am video or teleconferencing. I’m not proud of it, and, besides, everyone is busy.

So what’s my point? The shower is the only time where there isn’t a bright screen (or two) in front of my face or a person inside of my ear. In fact, the bathroom is actually quite "boring." It’s the opposite of stimulating and doesn’t fit what most people would consider to be a creative space. However, it’s the only time where all of the noise and distraction stops long enough for my brain to truly begin to feel alive again. You can’t force creativity. It’s what happens when you open up the windows to let fresh air in. I don’t even have to try to be creative in the shower. It happens automatically. My point in all of this is that you can’t have a creative process if you’re always in go-mode. There has to be a time where you are quiet and outside stimulation is at a minimum. This can be tough, especially for someone in my situation, but it’s mandatory because creativity is such a huge part of what we do. In fact, it’s half of our business name.

2) In your opinion, what is the most effective tool you use to communicate your product or brand message?  

The most effective tool I use to communicate is my mouth. In person is best, but a phone or video call can also work very well. Again, not the most practical concept when trying to communicate to an entire culture (or at least a very large group of people). Like above, there are a few things we can pick up from this that will help us when communicating from things other than our mouth.

a.       Don’t say anything on social media that you wouldn’t say in real life. This is not to say don’t be bold or honest. It means, in real life, if you see a large body-builder, you wouldn’t get up in their face and start calling them names, and so on. Also, in real life, we have manners. At least we are supposed to. Using those manners on social media will go a long way.

b.      Don’t dismiss physical and/or verbal feedback. In real-life conversations, we have the ability to have someone push back or ask questions when they are confused. Or, for everyone else, we have the ability to see someone’s face while we are talking. This feedback is valuable and helps us to continually adjust how we are communicating in real time. On social media, many people login say something and leave. They aren’t around for the feedback, and that feedback is actually what will help you get better at using social media and understanding your audience.

3) What inspires you about your work?

The thing that inspires me most are obstacles. I love problem-solving. My whole life has been an obstacle course — one that would cause many to give up or shut down. For me, as early as I remember, I’ve walked through life with a smirk on my face, saying, "Come at me, bro," when an obstacle reveals itself. My job and the industry that I am in are like the world’s best obstacle factories. The standards, policies and staff are constantly changing.

On top of that, I am working with labels and artists who often want to do the opposite of whatever those standards are. As if just doing the opposite is somehow "creative." Many times these labels and artists are ignoring all of the feedback that people are offering, in terms of how they would like to consume the music, or what they like about an artist, and so on. My job is to figure out how to let a label or artist express themselves in a way that is honest and to work that into an ever-changing infrastructure that makes that side happy. I have to minimize the gap between two opposing forces — forces that actually need each other to survive but somehow are both blind to it.

So, again, if my job was easy, I would be bored. I love showing up and having a brand new "emergency" every single day and, then, having to come up with creative solutions that makes everyone happy. Maybe after this I’ll go into politics. Just kidding.

Read Next: 3 Questions with Chad Kerski from IAMOTHER (Pharrell Williams Brand Marketing Co.)

Written by Aaron Manes For The Groundswell
The Groundswell is a Communications Strategy and Digital Marketing Agency
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