Creative is not a department

Creative is not a department

The creative department is changing. What was once a traditional, distinct team (often in twins and more recently triplets) is now evolving into groups of micro-specialists. And new technologies continue to breed new specialists.

For a long time, we’ve understood that creative thinking is no longer just about “the big idea.” It’s now about many big ideas, delivered across many different platforms, linked together with a strong storytelling thread.

The most exciting channels aren’t necessarily those that brands pay for in a media sense. While paid media still plays a role in delivery, rich storytelling is happening elsewhere, and this is where the contemporary creative needs to play.

Brands must be transformed into better storytellers, and communicate through immersive brand experiences, revitalized customer experience and loyalty. Storytelling must weave together physical, digital and communications experiences into a coherent whole. But that is fundamentally different to the old integrated thinking.

Rather than starting with an idea, often created by thinkers trained to deliver to a paid media schedule, then weaving together disparate channel solutions, the new model brings together an array of disciplines from the starting point. This is where true innovation begins.

And it’s the disciplines that are changing too. Unifying a traditional ad agency with a digital agency and perhaps a design studio in a Monday morning WIP is not going to deliver this outcome. The hive, or collective creative mind, is made up of diverse micro-specialisations. Imagine a team made up of a real-time data analyst, UX architect, environment designer and decision scientist… What would they create together?

While increasingly some larger companies are bringing design and creativity in-house, we believe there will always be a role for a more generalist approach, often as an addendum to the in-house team. After all, innovation often comes from bringing experience from one category to another, so the exposure to a wider set of problems can only enhance the thinking.

Ask yourself:

– Am I starting with the solution or opening up the problem to enable innovation?

– Have I recruited a sufficiently diverse set of problem solvers to drive a new outcome?

– Am I thinking about all of my owned channels as critical to my brand’s storytelling?


By Kon Marinis, 8th December 2016

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