Creativity is just one of the many pillars of what we do as PR professionals. It comes in many forms, and sometimes needs taming. However, as with everything, there are always lessons to be learnt – some are new, some are to be reinforced; but all are equally important.
In 1960s France a group of poets and mathematicians came together and formed the Oulipo. The aim of this group was to produce creative works through extreme constraints, such as only using one vowel or constructing poems that are palindromes. They believed true creativity only exists when constraints are applied, as there is no outside influence, and real thought was necessary.
B2B and B2C communications are conceptually similar, as we try to toe the line of brand guidelines and remain on message, all the while being as creative as possible. At Babel, the product we’re looking to promote often isn’t physical or tangible; it can be difficult to convey something that the target audience cannot touch or experience for themselves. Being able to say what it does and how it helps, then boiling that down into terms where one can believe it has a physical impact on society is crucial.
Like the Oulipo, rules can be used to enforce or they can be used to guide. It’s up to us to see how much we can push them to create excellence.
This picture was tweeted by a Salesforce exec attending Cannes Lions, the global coming together of PR and advertising creatives. A very knowledgeable person will provide ideas, but without someone who has the experience to draw them together, they won’t make much of a difference. Creativity makes the package complete.
But how does that help when working with business media, for example? Not all readers will be interested in the technology behind public Wi-Fi or the latest app. It is in promoting the company’s ethos and thought leadership where creativity, experience, and knowledge can really push success. From a communications and perception perspective, the main difference between a tech company doing well and one doing brilliantly is the creativity of the thought leadership behind a campaign. Creativity is the keystone, but knowledge and experience are equally as important to the success of a campaign.
Creative ideas often aren’t easily translatable from brain to paper, so it’s unsurprising that across borders, translation of creative ideas can be difficult. Cultural aspects of a campaign may work well in the UK, but if you try and translate that to France, it may fall flat. So how can we make sure regional campaigns are successful?
One way is to take the Campaign in a Box, and throw it in the bin. It may work well in one country, but there is no guarantee it will work elsewhere. Journalist taste, industry trends and public policy all play into the success of a campaign, but if adaptation isn’t exercised then the likelihood of success is compromised. This needs to be kept in mind when proposing cross-cultural campaigns. As comms professionals, it is our job to take influence from great performing campaigns and use the insights that they have to make our job easier and more effective.
Creativity is a complex thing. It’s made up of culture, experience, opinion; the list goes on. It permeates everything, and forms the foundations of any campaign, in any country, across any sector. Perspective, ideas, and prior experience all contribute, and all can drive an idea from concept to content and beyond.
“Content is King!” you hear them cry from the parapets. This may be true. But behind every good King there is a Queen, and her name is Creativity.