Creativity in PR – An Academic View – Dr Sara Jones, City University London

 In our study we asked: do you have a creative process in your business?

– 69% have a process (compared to 71% in 2012), whilst 28% don’t

We received a lot of anecdotal comment about whether process has a place when devising ideas. At Now Go Create we’re pretty surprised this debate is still going on. This is largely a question relevant to the agencies in our study, and in our experience, those agencies that have a creative process are the ones winning creativity awards and rooting their ideas in solid strategy.  Lack of process and planning is negatively affecting how clients feel about the quality of creative thinking. Clients expect there to be a process, a way of arriving at ideas. There’s no other fundamental business area where the outcomes are left to chance. If you look at creative businesses and unpick what they do there’s always process involved, it’s not accidental. Lauren Branston, ex Communications Director at The Coca-Cola Company, now founder of her own consultancy has been pitched 100’s of ideas in her time.

Demonstrating creativity adds real value to the work that a PR agency delivers.  PR agencies can be guilty of having a narrow view – saving it for big consumer PR campaigns and otherwise ignoring it.  And this report again shows that the approach to creativity is not sufficiently invested in, or process driven or rigorous enough. I believe that it is important to try to embed creativity into everything you do.  From a tweet to a multi million pound pitch, originality can help give you competitive edge.  However, it only works if tied to a clear strategy or narrative.  Creativity for creativity’s sake can be a confusing waste of everyone’s time.  There is nothing more brilliant than a creatively brilliant, strategically sound idea.” 

Our Founder, Claire Bridges is studying for an MA in Creativity working with leading thinkers in the field of creativity including Dr Sara Jones, City University London, Course director, Masters in Innovation, Creativity and Leadership (pictured). Sara’s view:

I firmly believe that anyone can be creative, but that creativity thrives in environments where there is a deliberate effort to stimulate, support and reward it, whether through applying proven techniques and processes, investing in training and time for creative thinking, or nurturing an appropriate organisational climate. Different industries and sectors tend to have different views on creativity – for example those in the creative and cultural industries typically have different views to those in engineering, law or medicine – but experience shows that the businesses that succeed are those with a clear vision, and an appropriate strategy to support that vision. Therefore if your goal is to be creative, a deliberate approach to supporting creative thinking is very important.

There really isn’t anyway around it! We were surprised that only 4% of respondents to our survey were HR professionals working in PR. Creativity is an undeveloped human resource and the HR function is the link between leadership’s creative ambitions and making it real on the ground, day-to-day. This covers things like rewards, training, culture and incentives and is the route to a sustainable creative culture.

Find out more about the MA here


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