“creativity is not a department”

Creativity is defined by most as the ability to create or invent something from nowhere. As Chiat Day says “creativity is not a department” and cannot be confined to simply the jobs that explicitly refer to it in their titles like copywriters or art directors. It is also present in all other parts of the business by innovative thinking – known more as a ‘small c’. On the strategy side, creativity is important in understanding our audience and formulating solutions to build brand love. A recent study by Millward Brown identified that the most important reason for an ad being shared is that it is noticed amidst the noise. 

The power of two is a concept that many experts in the industry have noticed about the creative process. Essentially it is the blending of two unconnected things to create something entirely new, a never-before-seen combination… So not actually creating something from nowhere as defined above. James Webb Young, the first chairman of The Advertising Council, wrote, “An idea is nothing more, nor less than a new combination of old elements”.

In order to create valuable creative ideas, one does not necessarily need to be creatively gifted. Most believe that anyone has the capability to change the world as long as they have the right tools and framework. Although there maybe truth to the fact that some people are more suited to the creative process and find generating ideas comes more easily to them. These people are known as ‘T-shaped people’ as they combine specialist knowledge with ‘outspiration’ from less familiar disciplines. Nevertheless, it is thought that people are able to become more creative with practice, time and effort, just like any other skill. The golfer, Ben Hogan, joked that “the harder I work, the luckier I get”. Eno and Schimdt created a set of cards called Oblique Strategies which supposedly help the mind through the creative process with a series of cues.

One undebatable aspect for good creativity is the environment you are in. In an ‘always on’ digital world, it can be difficult to focus at one task at hand and allow you mind to ruminate ideas. There never seems to be enough time to just sit down and think creatively especially when the results are not immediately tangible. Within the workplace, it is equally vital to foster a safe place to share ideas, opinions and constructive criticism. Involving people of different ages, gender, cultural backgrounds, religions, and sexual orientations to contribute to the idea generation stage is critical for avoiding advertising faux pas. Such as Kylie Jenner’s Pepsi advert which appeared to mock the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement. Instead, powerful campaigns can emerge that tap into cultural moments in an appropriate way. An example of this is Jigsaw’s Love Immigration campaign at Oxford Circus. It showed the company standing up against racially motivated hate crimes whilst promoting the values of their brand. The emotive concept and resonates with people especially within London, a city with one of the highest diversity rates in the world. The use of the word ‘Immigration’ instead of ‘Diversity’ was less safe but received more attention for being more topical. 

With the opportunities for creativity increasing every year due to the evolving media landscape, the importance of effective creativity is vital to influence an audience emotionally (tap into their instinctive system 1 thinking), increase ROMI by about ten times and create an authentic narrative for the brand. 

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