Creativity As A Catalyst For Business Success


Creativity As A Catalyst For Business Success

One idea has the power to transform a brand from boring and bland to interesting and exciting. The idea may spring from an organization’s need to reach a larger audience or forge a deeper connection with an existing audience. It may come from a need to engage employees on a higher level.

The right idea can change perception and alter behavior, or drive traffic and grow revenue. Studies show organizations that embrace creativity outperform their competitors on key performance indicators such as revenue growth and market share. Creativity is a competitive advantage. A way to differentiate. A way to define your business as one that puts thought and purpose behind each communication. One that communicates more effectively than the competition.

The biggest challenge for business owners may not be how to increase productivity or profit margins, but how to harness creativity to realize the full potential of their brand. More often than not, a company-wide boost in productivity and efficiency will arise from a more creative, engaged culture.

In a world where maintaining the status quo, and conformity to social norms is prevalent, creativity is a valuable asset. Let’s explore the many ways creativity can become a catalyst for business success.

Fostering A Creative Corporate Environment

According to a study by Adobe and Forrester Consulting, 61 percent of senior managers do not view their companies as creative. Who are they waiting on to initiate a more creative company culture?

Leadership must create the opportunity for open dialogue and higher levels of employee engagement. This means an office culture that recognizes and rewards the value of new ideas and contribution.

Company meetings that encourage participation and focus on gathering authentic employee opinion will help brands flourish. By enhancing communication between departments and amongst all employees, each gain a new perspective and appreciation for the other.

New pathways of thinking can be developed to improve customer relations and internal processes. A more creative environment is being cultivated.

A creative culture elevates your organization to greater heights of awareness and achievement. It empowers employees with the confidence and motivation to perform at a higher level.

When we are free to express our true selves in an environment that value new ideas and encourages contribution, discovery and growth happen organically. The same can be said for business, marketing, and problem-solving. The freedom to explore new experiences and opportunities is the driving force to becoming the best version of a person or brand you can be.

Team building exercises and motivational seminars have a remarkable impact on a company culture, but too often the effects are short-lived. Fostering creativity in a work environment must be authentic, and come with sustainable long-term goals and objectives.

Changing the environment can be a catalyst for new ideas. Ways to alter employees’ perspective include:

  • Walking meetings outdoors. (Steve Jobs was famous for these.)
  • Monthly company outings.
  • Designing a more comfortable, bright, branded office space.
  • The option to work from home.

One other strategy that can help grow creativity within your business. Encourage your employees to read, and find new sources of inspiration. Some businesses even allow company time for personal projects. This is how Google has continued to innovate and move into so many other aspects of the web than just search.

Your employees’ individual passions can help grow your business’s success.

Developing A Memorable End-to-End Experience

First impressions of a brand are 94% design-related. Still, companies operate with outdated websites and lackluster marketing collateral. Their sales process is underwhelming and has little to no online presence. This creates an opportunity for the competition to differentiate themselves and offer an experience better serving the customers needs, reach a larger audience, and gain market share.

At the core, brand identity and messaging must be compelling and unique. The brand mission must motivate. The design must be aesthetically pleasing, evoke emotion, and communicate a high-perceived value. Time is money- advertising and sales presentations must be worth paying attention to. An informed content marketing strategy that creates click-worthy content for each step in the buyer’s journey, and builds engagement with a loyal audience through thoughtful and interesting communications.

To create and deliver this consistent, conversion-minded end-to-end process of consumer-focused interactions, it requires planning. It requires knowledge of design, technology, the target audience, company needs, and capabilities.

Developing a brilliant brand experience is rooted in great design. Design can either capture the users attention and evoke emotion or ignore users needs and be completely ineffective. It must be aesthetically appealing. Interesting and inviting. The design of your trade show booth, the content of your online videos, the look of your print collateral- all are empowered by great creative and design.

This extends to every consumer touchpoint. The website and other online platforms need to communicate a high perceived value of the company’s products and services. The message must connect, keep users on the page, and convert them into loyal to customers. Trade show displays must be inviting, interactive- sales materials must be professional and impactful. Every piece has a purpose.

In short, there needs to be a continuous movement from outdated and underwhelming to modern and memorable. This is true for any customer interaction including marketing, public relations, and sales.

Leading brands and agencies have known for many years that more creative work delivers better results than ‘safe’ and rational advertising. What has been exciting in more recent times is to see the emerging proof of this; the hard evidence that creative work is more memorable, more effective, and more able to drive overall business performance.

Keith Weed, Unilever from his foreword to The Case for Creativity

Harnessing the Power of Creative Marketing Strategies

Many organizations never achieve the breakthrough creative moment that becomes a catalyst for business success. Most never make the attempt. Even fewer succeed.

But now more than ever, in an overcrowded marketplace divided by fragmented audiences and short attention spans, the risk of a creative marketing strategy is often worth the reward. Ideas and advertising that capture the consumer’s attention and leave a lasting impression are invaluable in the age of information overload. They increase engagement, build awareness, and generate measurable revenue for those willing to be adventurous, different, and authentic in their brand expression.

Brands such as Arby’s, Old Spice and Dos Equis have succeeded in building tremendous buzz online with a remarkably entertaining social media presence. Their consistently compelling and humorous tweets, brand voice, and must-watch video content set a high standard for how to engage online.

However, consumers are tired of being interrupted. This is evident by the fact 26 percent of desktop users have an ad blocker installed. A creative marketing strategy must extend past paid advertising campaigns to shape the customer experience and brand collateral.

This may include:

  • Edutainment in the form of infographics, videos, and gamification
  • Memorable and remarkable event experiences
  • Direct mail campaigns and print media
  • Sales presentations and materials
  • Social media communications
  • Thoughtful, unique branded products

Each interaction is an opportunity to create a positive experience and build trust, loyalty, and ultimately, revenue. Make it worth remembering. Educate. Entertain. Evoke real emotion and truly engage the audience on a higher level.

Driving Revenue By Being Different

What makes you different makes you interesting- this makes the brand discovery process even more important. Still, organizations fail to communicate their unique value, brand personality, or differentiate themselves in a significant way.

Creativity is not a switch to be flipped, it is a practice learned over years. It is unique to the individual. Creativity stirs a natural rhythm of new ideas in each of us. It blooms into a deeper understanding of a problem, brand, or audience.

To develop a brilliant brand strategy with inspired creative and breathtaking design, the right people and process must be in place. Sometimes it takes some time to bloom. Other times, the idea and strategy are obvious and quickly implemented.

A knowledge of both how the message will be delivered, consumer behavior, and buyer intent is essential. An understanding of how these products and services are different from the rest. This requires clear communication and worthwhile collaboration. It takes courage, and sometimes failure if you are willing to take enough risks.

The results of successful creative work can be measured in sales, improved web analytics, and a growth of your businesses visibility and platform. Perception of the brand changes- consumers remark at how impressed they are, and are more likely to engage with and share content.

Cultivating a company culture that puts a high value on ideas and creative problem-solving, the unique personality of employees and values that encompass the brand that encourages a business to flourish and fully realize its potential. Reveal an organization’s true self with help from our Guide to the Brand Discovery Process.

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About the author

Jason McSweeney is a marketing specialist and brand identity designer chosen as one of '13 Rookies On The Rise' by Advantages Magazine in 2011. His writing has been recognized by national publications such as VIBE Magazine and the Advertising Specialist Institute, in addition to WCKG Radio, Counselor Magazine, and Weekdone. View his Work or connect with Jason on LinkedIn.