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DECEMBER - BUMPER CHRISTMAS EDITION!


Hello you!

Welcome to this bumper Christmas edition of The Comms Creative!

This festive edition is a newsletter stocking bursting with creative gifts to read and do over Christmas:


Remember, everyone who posts their Christmas comms creative challenge efforts to Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn (with the hashtag) goes into a draw to win a one of five mystery gifts.

Did you miss me?

A few of you messaged asking where the November issue was and the answer is…

I didn’t write it! 

I’ve been working like a dog  - a dog who took on too much work.  



I'm learning to say no, and now I've vowed to take on no more work until late March.

While I was in ‘JFDI mode’ to get so much stuff done, I just couldn’t find time to think creatively enough to cartoon or write. 

Do you find life gets in the way of you being creative?

Where you have so much on that you go into autopilot and neglect the not-vital-but-fun stuff?

I do.

Even though it feels like a treat to take time to cartoon and design some fun content for this newsletter - it’s also really important to my work. 


Ideas I have while I make this always inform my work, and it helps me think more creatively.


Having a regular goal (like I do with this monthly newsletter) means we make more effort to make time for it.

Even if we miss a few, we do more than we would without a regular deadline.


I believe we should all have a side-project or hobby that lets us regularly explore and exercise our creativity.

Do you write, or paint, or build Lego stuff, dance? What you do regularly to keep that creative pizazz running through you? 

If you don’t have a specific creative hobby (and even if you do), PLEASE take part in the Comms Creative Challenge, which is designed to your power up your creative potency.

Do something for you.

All the challenges so far are on my website - have a go!

It’ll be inspiring to see your efforts during the Christmas season.

Recent creative
comms stuff I liked
  
 

Backwards poetry



These backwards poems are almost irresistible to readers. We're wired to to see these and want to work out both meanings.

There are more of these fantastic poems, and I hope they succeed in helping people suffering this Christmas. 

 

A creative way to start important conversations with our loved ones



This one from Organ Donation Wales reminds me of that Matt Damon video campaign for Water.org.

I love this idea of an organisation being more subtle with it's messaging, creating online content with the kind of storytelling that feels like it lives on Facebook.

Sneak preview time!

 

Now I’m a Social Media Marketing Awards winner, I’m inundated with requests for social media training masterclasses! How lovely!

I’m fully booked until March - but if you fancy learning with me, next year I’m going to be taking on students for my AWESOME online course.

We’ll have live interactive video lessons online, a learning zone with templates and workbooks, plus some surprise fun stuff. 

More details to come on that, in the meantime, be the first to hear about this unique course - get on the waitlist.

 

Join the waitlist

Creative tip of the month

Make a gif

Can't find a gif that fits the bill? If you're anything like me, you scroll through loads of the things. But it might be quicker and easier than you think to make your own.

Here's how I made one.
Make a gif in a few minutes
Let me know if you've had a play with it!

Or share it with us all on Twitter or Instagram with the #CommsCreative hashtag.

Special guest Q&A - Emma Rodgers 

Our Q&A guest this month is the most innovative, dedicated communications leader in public services right now. This is a FACT. 

She manages to be strategic AND fun, creative AND a person who gets the details right - just an all-round communications and marketing champ.

 

Hi Emma! What should readers know about you?  

I am head of communications and marketing at Stoke-on-Trent City Council and have over 20 years’ experience working in major private and public sector organisations.

And yes I do remember the fax – eeek! 

I am a proud national Digital Leader Top 100, vice chair of Lgcommunications, the professional communications body for local government and mega honoured to co-organise commscamp with Dan Slee and other lovely people. 

I am mum to a fabulously strong and funny 9 year-old daughter, I play volleyball and I still love dancing ‘till the wee small hours’ on night outs.  

What are your creative strengths when it comes to comms?

I am particularly interested in digital solutions for communications challenges and how we as comms professionals can aspire to digital creativity. I love being able to take a campaign concept and tailor it across a number of channels to directly change behaviour and perceptions.

People fascinate me and I have a particular strength in using nudge theory, data, insight and evaluation as invaluable tools to take an idea forward into a campaign that can make a real difference to people’s lives.
I love that as professionals we can take a theory and translate it into something creative that people can empathise with.  

One of my favourite examples of this is a fails campaign that I did with colleagues back in 2013 which hugely changed young people’s perceptions towards alcohol.

Who is your creative hero? 

Sounds cheesy I know but I’m inspired on a daily basis by colleagues that I work with. They show real creativity in all that they do, often with very little budget which I believe can help to generate some of the best ideas ever.

My team and many other colleagues from up and down the country spot their creative gaps and go on to not only teach themselves new talents to fill these gaps – whether it’s animation, filming or on-line skills for example – but become experts in what they have learnt.

MASSIVE RESPECT I say.

I also love to see new entrants in the industry get kudos for what they do and find initiatives such as the Young Creative Council’s database of hero female talent inspiring.

What is the piece of creative work you’ve seen that you wish you’d done, or that you’d like to see more of in comms?  

I play sport and absolutely love the ‘This girl can’ initiative. I wrote a blog about it when it first came out and while I wasn’t convinced by all elements, I really appreciate that it has a clear and simple premise of getting women to do more whatever their age, ability or size at its heart.

More recently I wish I’d done Scotland’s new campaign that confronts racism and transphobia. I am looking forward to seeing the difference it makes.  
 
What advice would you give to a comms professional to help them tap into their creativity? 

Don’t let corporate boundaries hold you or your ideas back. Always be human and be proud that we as communicators as I say ‘can work to the lowest common denominator’.

This to me is about championing real-life, a sense of humour and what may sometimes seem like stupid ideas. You’ll be surprised at how some seemingly ridiculous ideas can end up growing into something amazing.

Finally don’t ever stop learning or lose connections with your creative spirit. If you’re in comms and this happens, you’re done for.

What projects are you working on right now?

As part of my interests outside of work, I’m checking out venues and locations for an extra commscamp in May next year with Dan Slee – hopefully it will be Stoke-on-Trent.
 
I’m honoured to be one of the judges for Darren Caveney’s brilliant unawards and I’m looking at how we can further develop the LGcommunications Future Leaders programme for 2019 and beyond.

This year’s course was four times oversubscribed so I’d advise any budding future leaders to watch lgcomms.org.uk in May when next year’s round of applications opens.

@CommsCartoons


I believe!

 

This month's #CommsCreative Challenge


Remember the three rules of the #CommsCreative challenge

 

1. The thing you create doesn’t need to be brilliant, it’s about playing. Van Gogh was probably rubbish the first time he tried painting.

2. Taking part is fun, but also a good opportunity to think about things a bit differently. Do something new.

3. Share your efforts on Twitter and Instagram and chat with people who have shared theirs!  We’ll keep each other motivated and inspired. 
 

December: a Christmas calligram (15 minutes) 

You're going to make a calligram - where text is arranged visually, in a way that forms an image associated with what you're saying.

Like this poem about the Eiffel Tower
 👉

This task is mainly about expressing yourself and you seeing words more visually.  

I got a creative kick out of looking at letters as objects and shapes as well as being tools for creating sounds in people's heads.

WHAT YOU NEED

  1. A pencil, a rubber, a pen and some blank paper.
  2. Some festive cheer 

STEP 1. DECIDE THE SHAPE


In pencil, draw or trace the outline of your Christmas tree - lightly so you can easily rub it out later. It can be another shape of course, do whatever you like.
 

STEP 2. WHAT ARE YOUR CHRISTMAS SENTIMENTS?


On another piece of paper, jot your thoughts on what Christmas means to you.

Maybe you hate it because it's a lonely time.  Maybe you're addicted to mince pies. Perhaps you want to wish people a cool yule.

You can write one word, a phrase, a sentence, a paragraph or a poem. 


 

STEP 3. FIT YOUR WORDS IN THE SHAPE


In pencil, fit the words into the shape.

STEP 4: INK IN, RUB OUT

When you've got it how you want it, go over it in pen. 

Erase out your pencil marks and if you like, add a splash or colour. 

 

STEP 4. POST THE CALIGRAM


Publish it for other people to find.

Take a picture on your phone (or scan it if you're fancy) and post it to your social network of choice.

You COULD even go totally old skool and print it on a Christmas card.

 

STEP 5. DON"T FORGET TO TAG IT WITH #COMMSCREATIVE


Have a look for other people's posts and get a chat going with other creative comms people.
 

Comms chuckles

 

😂 A comms hero from history.

😂 There's always that one prick you can't avoid at work.


😂 My leadership style: the true version.

😂 Not right for every company, but this certainly makes it's point clear.

Comms training with me


If you need a masterclass in creative communications, I am your woman.

You can book me from late March 2019 to come to your offices to deliver training, or have a fab away day at a snazzy London hotel. 

You get workbooks, goodie bags and most importantly, skills and confidence to bring back to your desk.

I've been chuffed with feedback from my engaging content course. Big thanks to the super-talented Sarah Gooding, Social Media Manager at Give As You Live , who left me this lovely recommendation:

Creative reading for you



MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!
 
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