Global PR Summit 2015
The most important event in the global communications world’s calendar.
The key global benchmark of PR agency rankings, industry size and global comms trends.
The most creatively awarded PR campaigns and agencies in the world.
The Holmes Report profiles marketing and communications innovators from across North America and EMEA.
In-depth annual research into the PR industry's efforts to raise creative standards.
Coverage of the Cannes Lions from the Holmes Report in association with H+K Strategies.
Creative work, trends and views from the global public relations industry.
Dedicated to exploring the new frontiers of PR as it dives deeper into social media, content and analytics.
Our coverage of key technology PR trends and challenges around the world.
From brand marketing to conscious consumerism, coverage of key marketing and PR trends worldwide.
Coverage of healthcare PR and marketing.
Financial communications, sector news and mergers and acquisitions.
Coverage of global corporate reputation and communications news and trends.
The world's biggest PR awards programme, dedicated to benchmarking the best PR work from across the globe.
A high-level forum designed for senior practitioners to address the critical issues facing the profession.
Exploring the innovation and disruption that is redefining influence and engagement.
The Holmes Report's annual selections for PR Agencies of the Year, across all of the world's major markets.
Bringing together in-house comms leaders with PR firms to discuss critical global issues.
2013 has to be the year that the PR industry ups its game creatively and takes the fight to the advertising world and beyond.
Holmes Report 08 Jan 2013 // 12:00AM GMT
Our industry is experiencing a wrenching crisis of creativity. The poor performance of PR agencies at last summer’s Cannes Lions has been much chewed over and predictable excuses trotted out (no time, small budgets, lack of staff, lack of tools etc).
Then came a Holmes Report study revealing that more than 50 percent of PR professionals felt PR creativity levels were “ordinary or worse.” For a supposedly creative industry that’s pretty damning.
Having spent 15 years working in award winning creative agencies (including VCCP, Ogilvy New York and Naked Communications) and now working in PR at The Good Relations Group, creativity is a subject I feel strongly about. Creativity is the life-blood of any advertising agency, so much so that egos are indulged, tempers fray and mountains get moved to bring an idea to life. Clients get sold and re-sold and re-sold an idea if an agency believes in it. An idea can change everything. At worst, PR creativity can seem to mean getting as many post-it notes as possible up on a wall, or cringe-worthy clichés and tacky celebrity photo-shoots.
In my experience there are three elements that PR agencies need to focus on if they want to improve their creativity. I don’t think that the solution to our creativity crisis lies in simply hiring a creative director (although I actually do think that PR agencies need them). Rather, it lies in a culture shift towards curiosity, constraints and conflict.
Creativity starts with a curious mindset. Without curiosity there can be no creativity. The most curious people are the most interesting, constantly collecting experiences and ideas from everywhere. They make unexpected connections because they are open, alert and plugged in. It’s the agency’s job to create a curious culture. The American documentary photographer Walker Evans said about curiosity: “Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long.” That sentiment should permeate everywhere.
The second thing to think about is constraints. Marissa Meyer, then head of user experience at Google, gave a talk at Stanford in which she said that creativity loves constraints. She was referring to technological constraints such as pixel size, file sizes and download speeds but Meyer makes a valid point about creativity generally. PR creativity suffers because it is unfocused. I was amazed to find out that, often, creative briefs are not written. How can you possibly know what problem you’re trying to solve without a proper, considered brief, complete with constraints?
What would have happened if Michelangelo had been told to paint whatever he wanted in the Sistene Chapel? Or if he had been told to paint the ceiling in order to cover up the cracks and damp or to paint the ceiling using red, green and blue? Those briefs don’t lead to much creativity. However when he was told to paint the ceiling in a way that inspired the audience to believe in the greater glory of God by bringing to life key bible stories then unprecedented creativity was unleashed. Constraining briefs unlock great creative ideas.
Finally, I think PR agencies need to embrace conflict more. Advertising agencies are filled with conflict. It doesn’t always make for a fun working environment, but it does make for better creative work. The triangular structure of ad agencies (suits, planners, creatives) means that everyone constantly faces internal battles which sharpens up ideas long before they are sold to clients. A bit of fear does wonders for an idea. PR agencies need more arguments and more balls.
One quote in the Creativity in PR study read: “PR people are fearful pleasers and wimps. Instead of fighting, we whine. It’s easier.” I agree. 2013 has to be the year that the PR industry ups its game creatively and takes the fight to the advertising world and beyond. It’s never been a more exciting time to be a creative obsessive in the PR industry.
Amelia Torode is head of digital and innovation at the Good Relations Group.
Aarti Shah 02 Jul 2015
Only 40% of the Influence 100 are active on Twitter — and the most active users tend to be men.
Paul Holmes 28 Jun 2015
A question of definitions, a time to stop sounding so defensive, and reasons to really celebrate cre ...
We feel that the views of the reader are as important as the views of the writer. Please contact us at [email protected]Signup for Newsletter Sitemap
© The Holmes Report 2014