June 13, 2014 smz-blog

The Creative Key Is Empathy


When approached with a problem everyone has a creative vision. The best way to tackle it though, seems to be in knowing if it aligns with the thoughts of the people it’s aimed at influencing. Is it relevant, exciting, and worthwhile to the consumer?  And this is the reason why at SMZ we Listen and Think first before simply proceeding with the Do.

The key to brainstorming may be to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. A lot of energy is wasted by not building on a foundation of empathy, and understanding, or at least contemplating, what it is that the consumer wants. In an article on 99u.com about creative and empathy, Jake Cook says, “If you spend time observing and talking with people who use your product or service, fantastic creative ideas start to appear. Also, features you once thought were critical become irrelevant as your audience tells you what their true emotions are behind the decisions they make.” And while the downside is that once intriguing ideas can be thrown by the wayside, or hit directional dead-ends. Isn’t it better to see things from the useful, if not unorthodox, angles of consumer opinions right off the bat?

And the effort to empathize can pay off, “As creatives at SMZ, adopting this empathy-first approach has some unexpected personal benefits as well. Having an empathy-first mindset helps you push through the inevitable creative roadblocks. It’s not about creating a portfolio piece. It’s about helping the people you now know solve their problems using your unique skills,” says Cook.

So while an idea can stand up in a conference room, the question is whether it can stand up to the forces and pace of real life.

Read the full article here

Katie Green, Creative Intern

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