By Kelli Krenek
Gather around the fire, grab a marshmallow, and get ready for Socality Camp: a retreat for the creative soul. An outdoor experience for artists, creators, and leaders. Things are about to get in tents. ;)
I honestly didn’t know what to expect going in. The camp was open to creatives from all industries and walks of life who practice vastly different forms of creativity. There were photographers, content creators, web developers, graphic designers, PR reps, even a speech therapist in training.
And we were all going to be stranded together—with no cell reception or WiFi—in the beautiful Canadian Rockies.
Moraine Lake. And no, that is not blue Gatorade. I checked.
Here are three takeaways from our fireside chats for the creative in all of us.
One of the biggest topics that kept coming up was authenticity (one of Decode’s values coincidentally). In my opinion, it’s the most important element in cultivating trust, loyalty, and a strong brand. People know when you’re being real and will call you out when you’re not, especially on social media.
Authenticity has a humanizing effect, a critical component to connecting with consumers. In order to be authentic with your audience, you must be vulnerable. Here are a few places you can start:
You are not obligated to share everything with everyone, but it’s always nice to see your human side.
Instagram vs. Reality. Photo credit: Ben Moore, @1moore_ace
Frustration is a normal part of the creative process (and of life). But look at it as a good thing—the opportunity to build a door where there is none. Frustration can drive you to solutions. You get to decide whether you regress or progress. And part of progress is leaning on people around you, asking them questions, doing research, watching videos, listening to podcasts. Start with the resources in front of you.
As you pitch or test ideas, be willing to let people think you’re crazy. After all, everything ever created started as an idea. Take risks and keep thinking of outrageous what-ifs!
Yeah, it was super cold. But hey, “crazy” makes for good content! Photo credit: Dave Herring, @ohbedave
As you create, take a step back every now and then. Take stock of your progress, identify your roadblocks, and discover your next steps. Create a roadmap to keep an eye out for potential opportunities. You might have to change direction, but things will come together.
In context of marketing campaigns, this means adapting, building upon, and optimizing. The idea you start with is rarely what you’ll end up delivering. One of my favorite examples of this concept in the real world is how our Ill Advice campaign for Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group started as a “yo mama” joke during one of our brainstorming sessions (yes, for real)!
Lake Louise. We were going to hike here, but the trail was closed due to bears. So we connected the dots and went to Emerald Lake instead.
Even though we were from all over the world and had different passions, one thing all campers had in common was the ambition to create with purpose. And personally, I think everyone has more capability than they realize to create beautiful things.
Shoutout to all the speakers at Socality Camp for these nuggets of wisdom!