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How to

Small team solutions: getting fresh ideas

Estimated read time: 5 minutes

It can be hard to get inspired and be creative without a team of like-minded people to bounce ideas around with. Here’s some suggestions of activities you could do to get your creative juices flowing…


Spend a bit of time on websites (such as this one!) and read blogs, listen to podcasts and watch videos related to marketing in higher education. It’s really important to know what is happening across the sector and stay aware of trends that may work well for you.

Head onto other universities’ social media sites and see what they are doing. Is there something that they are doing really well that you can take inspiration from? Perhaps there is something you find that wouldn’t work for you, but sparks a different idea of something else that you could try.

Make sure you also look at companies and brands outside of the higher education bubble. As well as looking at inspiration related to your area, it can be really eye opening to look at other brands and think outside of the box. There might be a campaign by a fashion company that would, with a few adjustments, work really well for you too!

Change your space

Sitting in the same spot every day isn’t particularly inspiring (if you do the same thing, you can expect the same result). Move around and try working somewhere different! There is plenty of research that shows moving to a different seat increases your creativity. A great place to head to is a café, as there are things happening around you and any interactions you may have might serve as unlikely inspiration.

Creative workshops

Sometimes I just need to book myself a space, take some paper and pens, and do a creative workshop. It’s always nice if you have at least one other person to do this with but there is no reason why you couldn’t do it alone. Here’s a couple of creative workshop ideas:

  • Word games: Choose a theme or campaign that you’re working on and try to think of lots of words associated with it. Another option is to create a mind map that is grouped on types of content and get down all of the ideas that come into your head.
  • Be someone else: Try putting yourself into the shoes of the person you are marketing to and come up with some ideas from that perspective. What would you expect to see if you were being marketed to and what would really draw you in? What matters most to this person?

Conferences and networking

I’m always on the lookout for marketing in higher education conferences to attend, as I always come back with a notebook bursting with new ideas! As well as learning about what other people have been doing that has worked really well, being immersed in marketing for a couple of days encourages my creativity and always sparks plenty of ideas.

You also meet lots of like-minded people and start to develop a network of contacts within the industry. Especially when you’re in a small team or on your own, it’s great to have other people to get advice from, share successes with and bounce ideas off!

This touches on just a few of the things that I like to do to encourage fresh ideas and become inspired, but there are plenty of other things you can try too. We all think differently and are inspired by different things, so I think it’s important to experiment and find what works for you.

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