December 21, 2017

Need Inspiration? Look Outside Your Industry

We’ve been talking a lot recently about what inspires the PHOS team. If you couldn’t tell from our article last month, we get inspiration in all kinds of places: music, food, books, fashion and more.

It’s been a pretty enlightening experience as we learn more about how we’ve come up with new ideas and strategies. Our largest lesson: inspiration is everywhere and you don’t need to only look to your competitors for new ideas.

“Creativity is applying ideas from seemingly unrelated areas to solve a problem.” – Jon Saxton

Resist the Urge to Do What You’ve Always Done

A real lesson from a real Dad: If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve already got.

For those of you who have been in one industry for years, it’s easy to get caught up thinking a certain way without considering the possibilities. “A manufacturing business can’t do things the way a software company does. Right?” Well sure, your internal processes, services, and target audiences are all different. But, there’s a lot of inspiration that can be taken from companies outside your realm of expertise.

With that spirit, today, I’m encouraging all of our readers to look outside their industries for inspiration. Here are a few areas we like to look beyond the norm for inspiration:


When developing a logo for a client, many times, the concept that’s chosen was inspired by something outside the industry of the client. Our design team spends a significant amount of time early on in the project performing heavy research on who our client is, what their story is, and what they want to convey.

Once that is defined, we begin sourcing inspiration from a multitude of places. Shapes, colors, and typography are all inspired by things, places, or companies. The result is a mission-centered brand that is unique to the client’s competitors and is symbolic of its service.

Web Design

Inspiration for web design can come from so many places. Not only can the aesthetic design be inspired by other industries, but the functionality is also subject to a world of possibilities.

You may not think of coding as a highly inspired process. If so, you haven’t met our developers.

Our development team at PHOS has captured the art of taking something beautiful and making it work really well. But not all of their ideas come out of thin air. They spend a lot of time looking at other websites, learning the newest capabilities, and brainstorming with other marketers on what they’ve seen out there.

Most recently, we’ve taken a lot of inspiration from a large local university for a larger church website. There were tweaks to the sitemap, workflow, and how a user manages the website, all based on the success of a design that is in a completely different industry.


Messaging strategy is all about defining a tone and voice for a company, and then telling the story of a company in a compelling way. Of course, target audiences and buyer personas are a huge part of what defines this. But, there is plenty of room for inspiration in the way that you deliver content. The channels, platforms, frequencies, etc.

Our marketing team is continuously inspired by the way people get their stories out there. We’ve seen companies use gorgeous email campaigns, compelling social media hashtags, and powerful messaging to tell a story.

But, we never limit ideas to one or two companies or industries. In fact, the things we write or launch for a utility company are inspired by things that a software company is doing. A Facebook post for a mortgage company may be inspired by a grocery store. And it goes on and on!

One of our clients is a manufacturer of high and ultra-high vacuum components with a powerful mission to empower transformative science and technology. When developing a messaging strategy for them, we did not look at other manufacturing companies, rather companies that have a high-level mission as well such as Dell Inc., Intel, and Cisco.

The result was a unique take on the way they speak about their company and their products.

I’ll end with this: if you’re stuck, stumped for ideas, craving for something new, look somewhere else.

Don’t do what you’ve always done. Don’t do what your industry has always done. If you do, you’ll get what you’ve already got.

Alexis Fillmer

With a strategic mind and a love for culture and leadership, Alexis spends each day working to get the most out of every idea and person on our team. As our Director of Operations, she’s responsible for creating organizational clarity, ensuring excellence in our services, and creating a culture in which our team members can flourish.

Outside of PHOS, you can find Alexis playing with her son at the park, starting a new house project (and maybe finishing it), at the nearest farmer’s market, trying a new recipe, or scoping out live music with her husband.