'Heck, we all need more H2O in our lives!' - What Inspires Me, with Ketchum's Alicia Solanki

Ketchum London's deputy MD, brand, reveals what stimulates her creative mind.

Water

I have my greatest thinking moments when I am surrounded by water. The shower, the rain, the sea; I find the sound and sensation of water to be deeply inspiring, and it’s unblocked many a creative jam over the years.

If your mind is as active and restless as mine, finding a sensorial escape can be transformative and therapeutic. It also allows your mind to flex in new ways and I’m a huge believer in the power of external stimuli to unleash inspirational thinking. We’re not going to be doing our best work staring at a screen 24/7, especially in a virtual context, so look around your home, garden or neighbourhood for that perfect sensorial spot. Invest in a fountain. Heck, we all need more H2O in our lives!

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My roots

I may not have grown up with privilege in the context we now talk about it, but I consider myself immensely privileged to have grown up as a first-generation British Asian in an Indian household bustling with uncles, aunts, grandparents and cousins.

Working in London can sometimes feel like working in an echo chamber. It can offer an idealistic view of the way things are, and the way messages should be heard. It’s at times like these that I draw on my Midlands roots, northern education and my Kenyan/Indian heritage to bring some outside-in perspective. Consider ideas from another vantage point. Walk in the shoes of someone else. Ask yourself: ‘What if...?' I love the saying: ‘A tree without roots is just a piece of wood’ – it explains why connections are critical to getting you to see things in a new light.

Patterns

As someone who has self-diagnosed trypophobia (aversion to irregular patterns or clusters of holes or bumps), this might seem totally odd, but I love looking for patterns in things… just as long as it’s not honeycomb!

I could be cooking, travelling, looking at buildings or observing people; because my mind naturally thinks in a very visual, compartmentalised way, finding patterns in things is instinctive to me and yet a source of great inspiration. I find it’s a great way to form hunches or hypotheses about things in life and shortcut your way to a potential trend that you can test. Patterns are all around us. They’re free to observe. You just need a sticky mind to collect the stimulus. What you do with them is up to you!

Superheroes

I am intrigued and inspired by superheroes. Beyond the capes and the masks, I love what they represent and the life lessons we can glean from their individual struggles and awkward place in society.

Stan Lee was a genius creator in this regard – creating incredible worlds for people to escape into. From the original Fantastic Four to more modern movies like Black Panther, I love the plot nuances of superhero movies and the political, social and economic observations that are often baked in. They inspire me to consider how I approach narratives and storytelling, as well as learning to clearly articulate the problem my client’s product is trying to solve. The classic hero/villain plot line lives on beyond the Marvel and DC universes in my PR world.

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