45% of clients site “creative” as the main reason for the agency review! Do you know what they mean by ‘creative”?
No matter which research you look at or who you speak to this number stays about the same. That means almost half the reviews are triggered primarily by this issue called “creative”.
All we need to do is fix this “creative” issue and it should be plain sailing from there. Right?
That’s all well and good as long as you understand exactly what you are fixing. It used to be when a client referred to creative, they were referring to the creative work itself. The creative idea, the visuals, the copy and the overall creative impact of the work.
At the recent Mirren new business conference held in New York they convened a panel of clients who responded to questions from the attendees delivered via twitter. Several of the clients commented on what their definition of creative is. Needless to say it is way more complex than it used to be. The game has changed and we as agencies need to change with it. No longer is creativity the primary responsibility of the creative department.
Today “creative” includes:
Creative use of technology: Widgets, ARG’s (Alternative Reality Games), custom applications, mobile applications etc.
Creative use of online media: First time ever for the brand to own MySpace’s home page, content federation strategy vs. build it and they will come or unique use of YouTube etc
Creative use of social media: Strategic integration of social media into the whole brand experience with associated metrics.
Innovation with limited risk: The thirst for innovation continues however more so today than before the appetite for risk is minimal. The agency needs to prove out the concept as far as possible to prove viability.
Digital creativity within the strategy: A number of the clients referred to the need for a digital strategist as part of the team. They felt strongly that a lack of digital expertise up front in the ideation process would lead to uninformed and poor creative work.
Creativity that delivers results: Creative now is also judged by the way it solves the business problem and how effectively it delivers results.
The resounding message that came from the clients was that of collaboration. The need to have a cross functional team of experts work together to address the brief right from the outset. The old approach of creative’s’ cracking the idea on their own and then sharing it with the other groups is no longer a viable approach.