2021 has been a year of change and, in some cases, adversity. But some creative professionals channeled disruption and hardship into creation and innovation.
As you begin to set forth into 2022 and think of the mark you’ll want to make on the world, you may want to tap into some inspiration from outside sources. After all, sometimes the best way to uncover new ideas is to look outside of your own comfort zone. That means looking outside of your echo chamber on social media, beyond your professional networking circle and even outside of your industry.
Not sure where to start? That’s why we’ve created this handy guide! Our goal is to spotlight five brands across different industries that are pushing creative limits and bringing new ideas, products, designs and experiences to the market.
Any designer can spot that distinct blue from anywhere. And don’t even get us started on the cloud and camping motifs! Salesforce is a business-to-business (B2B) tech company — and that space often gets a bad rep of being stale and boring. Salesforce has turned this stereotype upside-down, using playful cartoon graphics, distinct characters and an overall camping theme to bring the community together.
Creative kick starter: What does your community represent? How would you visualize them via colors, graphics or characters?
Luxury brands have always been exclusionary. Part of their draw was that they were at a completely different level than other brands — and in most cases, out of reach for the general public. But Gucci has realized that in this digital era, Gen Z and millennials have more mind and wallet share, so it has to adapt in order to resonate.
Between its creative partnerships and kitschy designs, Gucci has tapped into novelty and nostalgia to drive its creative. It has experimented with AR and social commerce, created diverse collaborations (like with The North Face) and even rolled out new shopping concepts, like a physical space that includes a restaurant and the digital Gucci Vault, a curated concept that combines old and new creations.
Creative kick starter: Are there any adjacent or partner brands you could collaborate with? What other companies or businesses does your audience love that could be a good connection for you?
Industry: Entertainment & Streaming Services
By the time you’ve read this, you’ve likely created, shared and consumed many Spotify Wrapped videos. The hallmark experience from the music streaming services shows how powerful data can be when it’s aggregated and presented in a visually compelling manner.
This is just one of many ways Spotify doubles down on user experience. The entire service is built around making music discovery and consumption as easy as possible, and for turning something so personal into a community-driven activity. Plus, its aesthetic is quintessential modern, cool and artsy hipster…and we love it.
Creative kick starter: Do you have any insight into your audience that they’d find fun or fascinating? How can you distill that information into a broader story around the community, products and services you’re creating?
Industry: Consumer-Packaged Goods
If you follow Oreo on social media, you know why we just had to add it into the mix. It knows the product is the center of everything it does, but it finds ways to take cues from pop culture, the latest news and hot internet trends to drum up buzz.
When you see that bold blue and black, you know what to expect. But the social media and creative teams are always looking for ways to put a new spin on the brand to maintain relevance. Just look at its Oreo Cafe at the American Dream Mall in New Jersey, or its growing collection of limited-edition cookie flavors.
Creative kick starter: What pop culture trends and figures can you refer to for creative inspiration? How can you use social media tools and storytelling to share your creations and drive word-of-mouth?
Industry: DTC & Retail
Thinx is a direct-to-consumer (DTC) brand that is part of the sustainable period care movement. Sure, on the surface, this seems like a not-so-fun topic, but its branding and creative teams have done some incredible work to make the company fun, approachable and relatable. Just go to its Instagram account to see what we mean!
Between user-generated content and reviews, you’ll see in-depth posts about how the products work and sustainability issues that impact the market. And if you’re lucky, you may see a fun meme or even a recipe for a delectable treat like “PMS Pie.”
Creative kick starter: What topics are relevant to your audience, but possibly adjacent to your brand and products? How can you bring them into your content mix to create a more robust library of information and resources for your audience? How can you distill information in an easy, even fun, way?