The New Year has brought with it the usual lists of major trends in marketing for the coming year. By and large, the lists are interesting, thoughtful and likely, on the whole, to be accurate. What these lists do not contain, however, is anything with eternal relevance. In marketing, one of the few things that will be as relevant in 1,000 years as it is today is creativity.
I first learned of the Creative Industries Federation in a newspaper article about its launch. An organisation set up to promote the UK’s creative industries sounded like a very good thing indeed, so I looked it up and requested more information. The organisation seemed to have such a clear idea of its purpose that, having only read the website and exchanged an email or two, I signed up my firm.
When I sit with a blank sheet of paper, I possess neither the arrogance nor brilliance to presume I can fill it with creativity entirely on my own.
Successful marketing needs real creativity. You cannot build brands and businesses on fluffy thoughts and lazy ideas. The question is: where do creative ideas come from?
Well, when I sit down with a blank sheet of paper in front of me, I possess neither the arrogance nor brilliance to presume that I can fill it with exceptional creativity sourced entirely from my own thoughts. I draw upon the vast creativity of the artists whose work I can access online and in galleries, at concerts and exhibitions. I speak with colleagues and friends. I stretch ideas to absurd proportions. I leave them to fester and see how they develop. I go through many creative processes but sitting at the very core of it all is the creativity of others.
Let me share a practical example. Back when I was a student, I was writing an essay on immigration. I struggled with bringing clarity to the ideas I was trying to express. At the time, Institute of Contemporary Arts had an exhibition that touched some of the issues I was writing about. I went along and was particularly struck by one work, by an artist whose name I sadly cannot recall, where a light bulb had been taken from a supermarket in Germany and placed in a Korean store in the US. There are a number of immigration narratives stitched through that piece; in particular, it makes a wonderful point about the unseen benefits of immigration very simply and clearly. It helped me greatly with my work. I’ve loitered in galleries ever since.
Moreover, many marketing specialists have arts-related backgrounds. I’ve worked with designers who started out in fine art and copywriters who are poets. It’s rare to meet a creative specialist who doesn’t have a side project or hobby. The number of screenplays, novels and short stories quietly saved on the servers or PR firms and ad agencies is astounding.
A creatively rich environment is essential for marketing. We must protect and promote the arts and creativity of the UK if our marketing and advertising potential is to be fulfilled. So, why did Evolving Influence join the Creative Industries Federation? It seeks to secure the future of a business critical resource.