It’s fair to say that no business could survive without a degree of creativity. The type of ideation that generates new, unconventional products and services has to exist in some capacity for every successful organization. The question, then, must not be about whether or not creativity is important—it must be question how important creativity is to business.
Nicole Fallon opens a piece on the crucial nature of creativity by citing a study by Adobe and Forrester Consulting that found that “82 percent of companies believe there is a strong connection between creative thinking and business results.”
This figure is a good starting place for a discussion of the value of creativity. It shows that (at least nominally) a majority of businesses seem to find creativity both important and tied to success.
Yoni Ben-Yehuda’s thoughts on creativity’s relationship to brand success also reveal business leadership’s valuation of creativity. The approach “becomes paramount as you try to grow your brand and accomplish the objectives your organization sets.”
Importance of Business Creativity in Brand Growth and Adaptation
The specific mention of brand growth here is our first key insight into the way that creativity is important. When your company seeks to associate characteristics with the brand(s) it promotes, creative thinking is vital.
Let’s say a company’s brand of headphones has been profitable for several years, but is beginning to plateau in terms of consumer excitement and loyalty. Growing the brand creatively might involve reaching out to a film studio to feature the product as a protagonist’s constant accessory. Or linking it to a new consumer identity—the affordable, comfortable headphones of the modern college student, for example.
Conventional thinking would likely promote only more basic strategies, such as analyzing distribution or cost of the product; creative thinking will surpass these strategies to evaluate customer needs and desires, and grow your brand even further.
The iPhone facial recognition capability, says Lauren Landry, fits into the “seamlessness user experience” that has become synonymous with the brand. The creativity involved in facial recognition stems from its synthesis of an appealing feature with the brand’s preexisting history of simple, clean design.
It’s not that Apple had this feature to market quickly, because faster is not more creative or necessarily better. Simply put, better is better—and creative reinforcement of recognizable brand characteristics is better.
Importance of Creativity in Marketing
Other creative strategies for brand growth include new strategies or uses for the brand, and extensions and expansions of category and line.
Take the example of a facial tissue brand. Customers will expect certain brand signifiers in a tissue (softness, an appropriate price, etc.). When a company expands a line of tissue to include lotion, it’s a pleasant surprise. It not only meets customer desires but dovetails with existing brand characteristics.
Creative marketing can go a long way towards brand definition and growth. It can even sometimes allow a brand to thrive almost independent of the product. For this, we need to look no further than the fabled Pet Rock of 1975.
In short, the pet rock was… well, it was a rock. Consumers were buying rocks, at about $4.00 a rock, as ‘pets’. Packaged in a little box with air holes and including a humorous 32-page “official training manual” called The Care and Training of Your Pet Rock, the Pet Rock was brilliantly marketed.
Of course, great marketing can’t protect a bad product forever. Maybe the pet rock wasn’t a “bad product”. But it certainly wasn’t a great one. And eventually, the public stopped putting a premium on creative marketing. The phenomenon, in total, lasted about six months.
So, creative thinking has limitations. It can’t supplant old-fashioned quality products. But it can transform those products, and drive up revenue, more than we might think possible. And, crucially, it’s important to more parts of your business than those that face the public.
Importance of Creativity within your Team
There are many of ways employee burnout can happen. Injecting creativity into your office culture can mitigate many of these factors. Counter feelings of departmental isolation by bringing disparate functions together for meetings and planning sessions.
Encourage the restructuring of individual workspaces to reflect employees’ style and interests. At least, you can do that when everyone is working in the office.
Both of these approaches will make employees feel more valued as people. They aren’t seen as mere assets. And it increases a sense of togetherness.
At TruScribe, our interest is in communications, and providing a creative and effective way to boost the engagement and retention of your communications. Internal communications can be some of the most important ones you’ll send, so infuse them with creativity to make sure they land.
With whiteboard video, for example, scientifically proven design principles work to increase engagement of your audience with your message, at the same time other principles work to increase retention.
Training materials, policy changes, your weekly staff meeting—don’t let their messages go in one ear and out of the other. With the right creative approach to internal communications and policy, your team will react quicker to new protocols and plans, and embody the improvements you need to see in your organization.
Creativity isn’t important in an abstract, “wouldn’t-it-be-nice” manner. It’s important in a very direct, literal way that can directly affect how a product is designed, how it sells, and how your team continues their work. Creativity can turn a rock into a million-dollar idea, grow a brand, and drive up productivity.
How does your company incorporate creativity into its processes? Do you find creativity to be important, or a happy accident? What was the last time your company took a creative approach to a problem or initiative, and how did it go?