The Director of Strategy at Geometry Global, Mafe VillasBoas, recently discussed with Trend Hunter how she is able to spark creativity in her own work.
How does your team generate great ideas and do you have certain rituals to make creativity happen?
We have an extensive internal process that talks about behavior dynamics. It basically starts with a deep dive into six dimensions of a project – so we investigate shoppers, consumers, brand, culture... All that good stuff. Then we create a “purchase decision” journey which is basically a behavioral map of what our shoppers/consumers are doing.
After that, we map a "center of gravity" within that journey. The "center of gravity" is a pivotal moment where we can activate that particular shopper in order to change their behavior. The combination of the six dimensions of exploration and that "center of gravity" is incredibly powerful. That combination is what fuels our creative ideas.
What are some barriers to innovation and how do you get around them?
Geometry Global is all over the world, we have thousands of people working across the globe. One of the barriers to innovation for me is size. The bureaucracy and the systems of big agencies. And not only big agencies but also big clients. I think the biggest barrier is actually getting a system to buy into an idea and coordinate the logistics of making that idea happen.
The way we get around it is usually through smaller projects, so projects that are a little bit “boutique” if you will, within these companies. They’re more cutting edge and then we can really push to innovate within a larger system.
Do you have specific rituals for resetting to be creative?
I listen to podcasts and read the paper a lot. I pull a lot from real world, current events. I think it’s the way we stay connected with real life instead of "marketer" life. It’s basically whatever is in conversation in pop culture, in politics, etc. I try to stay updated so I can craft my strategies speaking to that.
What are some examples of things you can do to create a culture of innovation?
Here at Geometry, one of the things we do really well is education. We have a really strong internal education program. With those we try to get everyone on the same "innovation" page, keep everyone up-to-date with what’s happening in the world.
What do you think your industry will look like in the next 5-10 years?
I think traditional advertising, and the advertising industry, is at a pivotal point where if we don’t innovate we’re going to be obsolete. To be honest with you, I feel that the future of advertising will have to do with crafting products and not campaigns. I think it’s a matter of offering services more than offering one-off buzzworthy little things here and there. It’s more about creating platforms and creating products than creating campaigns. That’s happening right now. I don’t think advertising will ever go away but I think the future will be more around products and platforms than campaigns.
What's the most unconventional thing you have done to get creative inspiration?
I think moving continents. I’m a strategist, and I have this motto where a strategist is only as good as the problems they encounter in their career. I feel if you stay in one place and encounter only one type of problem you don’t get creative with your solutions. So moving continents was a big one for me, trying to find different products and problems and be creative with my solutions.