Inspiring Minds with Amy Charlotte Kean

Review by Dan Sear, EssenceMediacom

The Inspiring Minds series aims to bring interesting and thought leading speakers to marketing talent from across Scotland.  The most recent talk covered the hot topic of creativity and was hosted by Amy Charlotte Keen.

Amy proved to be a very engaging speaker and host.  Her presentation ranged far and wide across her experiences within the advertising industry, her experiences in academia and even her success in the world of poetry.  Audience participation was encouraged but it never felt like anyone was being put on the spot.  I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to release my inner poet.

The topic of creativity is very relevant at the moment, with a widely recognised decline in advertising effectiveness being attributed in part to a lack of originality in the way brands present themselves.  Amy was very effective in skewering the generic feel of current ads, whether around the identikit Covid brand campaigns or the ubiquity of the ‘… your …’ strap line (‘Feed Your Happy’, ‘Explore Your World’, ‘Obey Your Thirst’).  It said something that Amy’s example of real and highly effective creativity dates back to 1999 – the jaw-dropping ‘Double Life’ ad that launched Playstation and still feels relevant and powerful today.

There were three key lessons I will take away from Amy’s talk and look to apply in most own work:

  • Creativity takes time – You can’t expect to come up with new and original ideas whilst battling the tyranny of your inbox.  You need to step-away from the day-to-day and invest quality time in generating, exploring and developing new ideas.
  • Failure is good – Coming up with ideas that are genuinely creative and differentiating is hard.  Most of your ideas won’t be good, but don’t be downhearted – these are stepping stones to something better
  • Beyond the brainstorm – Creativity isn’t just about sticking post-it notes onto a whiteboard.  Try techniques such as stream-of-consciousness writing or poetry to generate new perspectives.

I’m sure everyone who attended found something that they will take away and use to be more creative in both their professional and personal lives.


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