Banksy’s Dismaland is an excellent showcase of pure creativity, and has generated significant public demand and media attention. By mixing every child’s Disney-esque dreams and fantasies with the subversive and sometimes disappointing adult world (“a family theme park unsuitable for children”), Banksy has illustrated how an original and creative idea can generate a frenzy of attention.
While PR professionals may not share the Bristol-based artist’s criticisms of what he perceives as rampant consumerism in our society, they must certainly be envious of his ability to tap-in to public consciousness to communicate a clever and compelling message.
While the profession demands that its employees are extremely well organised and possess strong communications skills, equally important is the ability to think outside the box and convey unique and interesting ideas and stories to the advantage of clients or, if in-house, the company they work for. This is especially important in the modern media environment; as print circulations continue to shrink, PRs must be able to think laterally in order to secure coverage and break onto new digital channels.
You don’t have to have been to Central Saint Martins or wear funny sunglasses to be creative however. Simply breaking normal routines can help, for example a brainstorm with colleagues in a less formal setting can get the creative juices flowing. Another method is to collide two totally separate existing ideas to create a new idea. This is championed by Sir Richard Branson who impress the acronym ABCD for “Always Be Connecting Dots”. Professional bodies are also now offering courses in how to be more creative – the CIPR, for example.
Not everyone is blessed with creative prowess, but the ability to look at well-trodden ideas in a fresh light is something almost every PR professional needs to invest time in improving.