Misty Bell Stiers

Executive Creative Director, Isobar US

Misty Bell Stiers, Executive Creative Director at Isobar US, blogs for Dentsu Aegis Network about the five steps creatives can take to do their best work and positively impact the world around them in a post-COVID-19 landscape.

1. Feed your soul. Let go of industry myth. Do not fall for the idea that just late nights and endless rushed days beget brilliant creative. It is the afternoon bike ride with your favorite playlist, the early morning haiku writing session, the afternoon baking bread. It is taking time to get lost with your favorite author, dance with your favorite musician, be present with your favorite people.

These small acts of creativity, separate from our normal corporate rush of days, stretch our minds and feed our souls and allow us to sit before that empty screen, those blank white boards and endless stickies to create work even more meaningful and beautiful then a midnight crash session. Sure, some of those high-pressure moments turn out just the thing – but they aren’t sustainable. Nourish your creative spirit to feed a lifetime of impactful storytelling.

2. Let go of old patterns. Just as we have been forced into being uncomfortable to solve the world around us in so many ways these past months, we must embrace that same discomfort in our professional lives. How we have always done, the tools we use and shortcuts we have developed need to be peripheral to our endless exploration of what’s next, how else we can do, who else we can reach.

3. Don’t lose the connection. There has been an amazing moment happening where instead of being uselessly distracted, we are consciously connected. Every text has begun to carry meaning, calls with old friends are lifesaving. The definition of the word ‘connection’ hasn’t changed, but the way it feels to say and experience has.

We have all become curators of how we connect – meaning and purpose have risen to imperative levels. It is not enough to simply be relevant. Not enough to “have a cause.” We must not just involve but empower.

4. Be generous with your stories. With empowerment comes the need to not just tell the brand’s story but allow room for our consumer to be the hero in that story. Give them not just reason to believe, but authority to act. Create. Do.

We are the enablers, the facilitators of stories that will live out in the world and create something new and better. Let our consumers be the hero in that story. Make room for them.

5. Do not forget why you are here. We have chosen to be tellers of stories, builders of experiences - it’s a magical place to be. We are able to use our skills and know-how to create true change, to affect businesses, the way people see things – and I truly believe, that when the circumstances are right and we’re able to see them clearly  - when we remember the true humanity in those stories – to consider the data and the business and leverage the technology  but most importantly keep the soul and heart of it all  - the real heroes of the narratives we build -when we keep the people we are speaking to center -  we have the opportunity to change the way people live their lives and we are given the opportunity every day to change the world.

But don’t forget you are the hero in your own story as well. Give her room to breathe, give him room to grow. Don’t stop making that homemade bread or taking those long bike rides. Don’t leave behind the poems you’re writing write now, or the paintings you have started. Keep nourishing the garden you have planted and the nightly games you play with your kids. Keep living creativity for yourself, too. Feed that part of your soul, protect it, fight for it.

We aren’t in the Thunderdome, as much as it feels like it some days. We DO need more heroes. It’s only by remembering the humans in all we do, including ourselves we can make the impact we all show up for every day.

At least that’s why I show up every day – with the faith that this may be the day we create something that makes the world an unbelievably better place.

Misty Bell Stiers is Executive Creative Director at Isobar US. For more insights, you can listen to our #OnBrand Podcast with Misty where we talked about the unique opportunity agencies face when it comes to building a new creative culture.