BOSTON – First it was “Reach out and touch someone” for AT&T and now the ubiquitous “Green Line” for Fidelity Investments. Jim Speros had a hand in both creative endeavors, along the way refining his definition of creativity.
“To create disruption, you have to start by being a curious person,” Speros, EVP of Corporate Communications at Fidelity, says in an interview with Beet.TV.
Beyond simple curiosity, he believes there are three pillars to creativity, which Speros defines as “drawing upon your eclectic thinking and experiences and putting it together in a surprising way.”
To be intellectually curious, “You have to look at music, art, science, technology, fashion, trends, news events and study other categories in other companies,” Speros says. “You have to put something in that repository before you can draw from it.”
Second on the list is having varied personal relationships. “If all you do is hang out with people that are exactly like you, all you’re going to be doing is reinforcing the same things that you already know,” Speros says. “I like to put it as inhaling your own fumes.”
Lastly, he thinks more people should learn how to “adopt more of a risk-taking attitude, because out of great risk taking comes great creativity.”
While at AT&T, Speros was credited with placing the first Internet banner ad in 1994—when Mark Zuckerberg was in grade school and social media consisted of bulletin board systems. Now he is all too aware of the impact of platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
“A bad string of social media commentary can absolutely destroy a brand very quickly,” Speros notes. “Were in control of the experience that we serve up, but the interpretation of that experience is defined by the consumer.”
He takes a dim view of the term “mass media” but thinks it can be achieved through a different approach than that traditionally taken.
“There is some element of reaching people in mass, but the way you get to mass might be through a series of highly personalized interactions enabled by addressable television, mobile technology and so on,” Speros says.