3 October 17

At our recent Cannes insights session, we asked some of Australia’s leading PRs and marketers, “Is creativity a strategic priority in your business?”  On the surface this appears to be a relatively simple question, but as we discovered from our subsequent discussion, prioritising creativity within an organisation varies considerably. The conversations provided us with a strong insight into the reality of marketing in Australia and what the future holds for commercial creativity.

Within many businesses, marketing departments are under pressure to deliver a strong return on investment for their brand, most predictably in hard sales figures. Others in the discussion group reported a strong backing for creative thinking that could help reframe the brand or amplify its over-arching business strategy.

Gaia Grant from the University of Sydney’s Business School, highlighted the pressure on businesses to maintain creativity within their organisation: “We were all kids once, and we all had that creative potential as a child,” she said. “But something happens in our life spans and as adults and we seem to lose that creative thinking. Creativity is a life skill and it’s something we need to develop throughout our lifetime. You can’t have innovation without the ability to think creatively.[1]

The “something” that Ms Grant refers to can be a myriad of factors, summed up by our network within our discussion groups.  Pressure to report hard data on the basis of campaigns, coupled with a sometimes cynical attitude towards creativity and what it can provide for the business. Creativity cannot be simply seen as a strategic priority within a business, it needs to be baked within the business’ DNA.  An organisation will only move successfully creatively, if it is led from the top.

 “Fearless Girl” was created by asset managers, State Street. In cold hard terms, State Street’s modus operandi is to make their clients’ funds profitable. Yet, as an organisation they felt strongly that companies in the financial sector didn’t have a strong enough female representation, and created a bold creative statement that completely reframed their business with their statue. It can change and totally reframe a business’ reputation and standing within their sector.

A Cannes Lion is a powerful recognition of creativity in itself, but as we discovered from our respondents at our insights session, it can provide a vibrant touchstone of what is possible for a business when creativity becomes a strategic priority.

[1] https://www.cmo.com.au/article/579823/why-creativity-puts-magic-marketing-leadership/