PRmoment Leaders PA Mediapoint PA Assignments PRCA PRmoment Awards Winners North Creative Moment Awards 2024 PR Masterclass: AI in PR

Where is the best place to be if you want to come up with creative PR ideas?

Ever since Archimedes’ “Eureka!” moment as he stepped into his bath, bathrooms have been the source of many brilliant ideas. Paul Sutton, head of digital PR at agency Bottle PR, says that he always gets his best ideas in the shower, but as he points out, the problem is that it’s difficult to write anything down. Sutton believes that great ideas occur when you aren’t consciously looking for them. He says “I find that the best ideas come when I'm away from the hectic office and thinking about other things. It can be driving in the car or cooking an evening meal, but it is when my mind is concentrating on something else that the best ideas come to me. And if I need particular inspiration, I'll hit the shower!”

With ideas coming, apparently, out of the blue, it might be better for your business if you step out of the office. Rassami Hok Ljungberg, director of PR agency rassami, is another PRO who finds that the best time for ideas is not at work, but instead, when she is doing something completely different. She explains: “This is when you may see, read or hear something that triggers inspiration and great ideas.“ Ljungberg claims that it is rubbish to think that anyone can think of ideas on demand, and that the harder you work the better ideas you have: “You need a bit of rest, something completely unrelated, so that your brain can do the work subconsciously”.

Another proponent of getting away from the office is Jason Gale, managing director of integrated PR and marketing consultancy Handmade UK. He says that he gets his best ideas and inspiration from travelling around London: “It can be when I am in a taxi or walking through Soho, that a great idea will come to mind.”

Jane Herbert, managing director of PR agency Pilotmax, thinks that you shouldn’t just get out of the office, you should get as far away as possible: “Some of my best ideas have come to me when I'm on holiday. When you take yourself out of your usual environment in that way and relax, you're not trying too hard to come up with solutions. Your brain just works away and suddenly comes up with a flash of inspiration. The secret is to make sure you always have a notepad and pencil with you so you don't lose your ideas.”

If you are trying to come up with a brilliant idea, and you can’t get away, you could try letting your mind do the travelling. And the further away your mind wanders, the closer you may get to the answer you are looking for.
Andy Green of, author of Creativity in Public Relations, gives three tips for coming up with great ideas:

“Firstly, it's about developing and nurturing a 'creative ear' – seeds for great ideas are all around and it's a 24/7 thing of being ever alert and open to opportunities. It's hearing or seeing someone do something real good or unusual in an unrelated field and then applying it to your immediate task.

“Secondly, it's about asking the beautiful question; every time you are being creative you are essentially answering a question – how can we get media or social buzz interest in ... The heart of outstanding creativity is asking the right question. You can tell when you have a beautiful question as your ideas ooze out: equally, when you are stuck, rather than force your prompting of more ideas, go back to your original question; refine it, make it tighter, more specific.

“Thirdly, change your environment and simply give yourself time. 'You've been on the train again!' is a reply from the office when I have been on my travels and the train journey has given me incubation space to reflect and muse, as well as provide a different environment to the usual.”


Maja Pawinska Sims, director at Besparkle Copywriting: “I think brainstorming works, if you make space and are in the right mood. Coming up with ideas quickly isn't the same as rushing.”

Alan Twigg, director at agency Seventy Seven PR: “I love changing the environment, for example by going to a coffee shop, bar, a park – the British Museum is a favourite place. Also, trains work for me, and my wife is a great person to brainstorm with too.”

Ian Whiteling, editor in chief at web channel “I find our best ideas come after brainstorming sessions with key colleagues and associates, both in the office and outside it. A change of environment and structure can provide a creative spark.”

Claire Thompson, freelance PR consultant: “I'm a big fan of mind-mapping – it helps ideas to grow out, and when you find an idea whose tentacles reach out to loads of other mind map branches you know you have a winner!”

If you enjoyed this article, sign up for free to our twice weekly editorial alert.

We have six email alerts in total - covering ESG, internal comms, PR jobs and events. Enter your email address below to find out more: