There is a new breed of agency being born out of the disruption brought by technology, one that acknowledges the fundamentals of PR but puts creativity at its core, allowing it to adapt to changes in new and surprising ways – often with staggering results. Is the key to creativity employing a squadron of tattooed bearded hipsters sipping on kelp and butterscotch frappuccinos?
No. There is a fine line between creativity that serves a purpose, and creativity for the sake of appearances. Our CEO often jokes that if you leave a designer to ‘be creative’ without the comforting confines of a proper brief, what you get back is “green hair”.
What does creativity in PR mean? According to the 2014 Holmes Report into Creativity in PR, a global study of more than 600 PR professionals from more than 35 countries around the world, creativity is still not at the level it should be in PR.
Alarmingly, the report found that the majority of the PR industry “remains unconvinced that it is investing enough in creativity”. Even worse, clients have a far less flattering view of creativity than agencies do. Only 1.5% of all client respondents would rate the quality of creativity in the PR industry as “inspirational”, while 6.5% of agencies would do the same. There is a clear disconnect.
If creativity is key to our success, how do we go about fixing our current situation? A study by MSLGroup in Paris, titled ‘Future of Creativity’, identified eight drivers that the PR industry should adopt if it wants to secure a more creative future. They are:
- Purpose + people: Purpose and creativity have a symbiotic relationship, with the two consistently raising the bar for each other.
- For mobile, by mobile: The intersection of form factor and mobile user experience opens new avenues for creative ideation.
- The intimacy of insights: Intimacy helps build and convey trust. Get to the intimate insight to change behaviour.
- Custodians of collaboration: Collaboration with audiences can lead to stronger messages, proud influencers and better creativity.
- Organising for real-time: People have come to expect instant creativity from brands. But there’s nothing instant about real-time.
- Riding the flow of fluidity: Agencies must evolve, becoming more nimble and fluid, if they’re to deliver on whole ideas.
- Have the smarts for it: Smartness is dynamic. Smart ideas come from minds that recognise change, and embrace it.
- Creation via constraint: Creative breakthroughs are often a by-product of limitation. Embrace your constraints.
How will creativity shape your PR campaign in 2015?