Friday, December 13, 2013

Business Artists: Brand engagement through creativity

The focus on design innovation and the influence of digital communication has  placed a new emphasis on creativity. Creative disciplines such as graphic design, creative writing, video production,  copy writing, product design and art have risen to new heights of strategic importance. Even in the most conservative of corporations these disciplines can add business value.

Pure creativity has never been so important or valuable to businesses. The frequency of content generation, customer dialogue, product and service enhancements in creating a competitive advantage has increased significantly

Still more often then not in larger organisations creative roles are stifled by internal processes, rounds of internal stakeholder changes, and opinion led feedback. To the extent that often the person producing the creative concepts has little input into the process or the result.

The issue with creativity as I see it is that everyone envies it, everyone wants to contribute to it, and a lot of us are afraid of it because it is has high visibility. Yet we all know a great creative idea when we see it, so our nature is to try and copy these ideas rather than let the creative process unfold. Hence, the phenomenon of copying an ad style, fashion trend or digital content style until it becomes unoriginal.

A challenge for business process models is fostering creativity, simply because even when it is scoped, framed and time-lined it takes many unexpected directions. This makes it difficult to replicate, impossible to micromanage and inconsistently executed.

The on-line environment is paradise for creative types. It has no boundaries and perpetuates continuous learning and improvement. It enables creativity to be the 'hero" and appreciation to be fed back  immediately; with a simple like or favourite button share. Creativity flourishes because it is devised, presented and shared by the owner without constant change for change sake. 

Creativity even in simple forms, such as eye catching graphic design, can be a competitive advantage. In the on-line world where story telling, display and content rule this is particularly the case. In a world full of clutter, it can lift the profile of a brand and captivate audiences. A simple clever product feature, attractive package design or captivating 
copy can achieve cut through and drive brand choice.

Imagine if this same principle was applied to corporate business structures. A division of BUSINESS ARTISTS rather than MARKETING SERVICES. Respected for their unique skills and ability it engage internal and external audiences.

Creative skills and services are mainly grouped into corporate design or marketing functional responsibilities. In many organisations these roles are viewed as business services that respond to requests to produce desired outcomes. I have found when this is the case individuals in pure creative roles are less likely to be part of brainstorming sessions or initial solutions framing. They respond to briefs rather then being able to contribute to them. Yet in my experience these individuals are well trained in creative process methods and have a lot of suggestions/ ideas to offer.

In the same way that mathematical genius has made algorithms 'king' and 'geek' the new cool, I am sensing a shift in the esteem and profile of creative thinkers and professionals in conservative cultures. I think of these roles as Business Artists. Professionals charged with creating content, copy, visual design, smart features to delight, impress and inspire current and new customers.

Brands that achieve engagement will have a competitive advantage. Business Artists will ensure that brands can frequently communicate in a compelling way, stand out in a cluttered market, and engage with audiences through 'cleverness'. It is not many brands that can launch first to market, widely acclaimed product and/or service innovation. However, brands can connect with us like never before, if they take the time to 'create' with the aim to delight their customers.

Here's to Business Artists making the everyday less predictable in surprising ways.

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