A new WFA report, “Clients and Creativity” produced in partnership with Contagious and The Observatory International, reveals a disconnect among client-side marketers between those who recognize creativity as a marketing “superpower” and the much smaller number who recognize it. considers critical to the business. In addition to shedding light on the role of creativity in the industry, the report also talks about how its value is perceived in the brand marketing community and solutions to empower the creative process.
According to the results: 82% of the 640 client-side marketers surveyed in 34 different markets, including the United States, China, Brazil, India and the United Kingdom, believe that “creativity is the most powerful weapon. more powerful in marketing”. Yet only 28% consider it essential to the success of their business.
“It’s hard work being a customer these days because there’s a long checklist of things you have to do: KPIs, ROIs, measurement, checking boxes – oh is- useful enough? Are we presenting enough diversity? … Everyone’s time is limited. So once you have checked all the boxes, there are very, very little time, effort and energy for true creativity,” admits Natalie Lam, Chief Creative Officer APAC and MEA, Publicis Groupe.
The research identifies the benefits of taking creativity more seriously, with 33% of customers saying creativity was “business critical” and more likely to say they were “growing”, compared to 25% of respondents from the “maintenance”, “recovery” or “decline” companies.
Main barriers to creative marketing
The biggest barrier to creativity isn’t lack of direction or lack of boldness, it’s a culture of risk aversion (51%), followed by short-sightedness (48%) . Too many cooks spoil the soup: 44% of respondents believe that too many levels of decision-makers and a reduction in budget (40%) were their biggest obstacles to creative performance.
“Creativity and innovation are not a democratic process. Not everyone has a voice,” says Vicky Free, Global Marketing Manager at Adidas.
“As the role of marketing is increasingly complex and integrated with other functions, creativity is something within our control and an area where we should demonstrate our contribution to business success. Take a more creative path forces us to challenge our organization to feel more uncomfortable,” said WFA CEO Stephan Loerke.
Top Areas Marketers Should Focus On
To give creative performance a boost, the report outlines several areas for improvement.
- Best client brief. You will never get a great job without a great brief.
- Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Discomfort of the park: does the work comply with the brief provided? Does it advance your brand? Will it connect with consumers and encourage them to take action even though the execution may push your comfort level? Start doing it right.
- Strong Culture will lead to better abilities.
- Consider brand value. Set KPIs to monitor not only short-term activities, but also long-term brand perceptions. Align them with stakeholders (internal and external).
- Alignment can be the death of creativity. Layering in decision making is guaranteed to slow outputs. Keep it simple, be clear who the ultimate decision maker is.
- Don’t reject rewards. Cynics may think rewards are selfish and don’t make a difference, but evidence suggests that highly rewarded creatives outperform as an engine of growth.
- Best customer, best job. Work with your agencies to build mutual trust. The report reminds clients to remember that agencies aren’t “vendors” – they’re essential partners who improve the marketing mix.