Happy Leap Day!
As you’ve noticed, Leap Day happens but once every four years. It’s an “extra” day—a day we may very well forget until it’s nearly upon us. And when it arrives, it seems to throw off the rhythm of the week, and the month.
Most of us are commemorating this special day by showing up to work and doing our jobs. A handful may be meeting at Shooter’s after work for happy hour. But for the most part, this is just another workday.
And that’s a shame. How often do we get an extra day? (Yes, I know: every four years. It was a rhetorical question.)
Marketing departments should be spending Leap Day doing something creative and inspiring—something that could help shape the direction of the business for at least the next four years. Some ideas:
- Brainstorming. True story: Back in my PeopleSoft days, I was once sequestered for a three-day brainstorm. The Powers That Be weren’t happy with their ad agency, so they pulled a bunch of us out of Creative Services, stuck us in a conference room, and asked us to come up with new concepts. (They even ordered us four kinds of pizza.) We came up with some killer ideas—all of which were rejected. But I think seeing a bunch of concepts that really pushed the envelope helped our executives figure out what our message wasn’t, so they could more easily figure out what it was.
- Spying on the competition. Go ahead—scour their websites. Read any of their printed pieces you can get your hands on. Spend some time on their turf, so you’ll be better prepared to defend your turf. Bonus: You’ll probably be pleasantly surprised at how many clunky headlines and broken links their sites contain.
- Team-building. Hey, you work with your marketing colleagues for 40 (read: 50-plus) hours per week. Why not get to know them better? You don’t have to do that fall-backwards-off-a-stepladder-and-hope-someone-catches-you thing, but you can plan activities that encourage people to share tidbits from their extracurricular lives. Have an awards ceremony where everyone gives and receives at least one award. Ask people to bring in their old school photos. Host a Good Karma Lunch. That sort of thing.
Of course, if you’re just now reading this on Leap Day, it’s obviously too late to make any big plans for this year. But what if, in the spirit of Leap Day, you designated one hour per week as Leap Hour? You and your team could spend those 60 minutes trying out some of these ideas.
You could even order four kinds of pizza. It sure beats eating leftovers alone in your cubicle.