That, of course, depends on what you’re measuring, how the things being measured relate to one another in the context of the measurement, and most importantly, why it’s being measured. I find this question particularly challenging in the context of measuring creativity. Creativity is both an art and a science requiring imagination and skill. And, this inherent relationship makes “judging” creativity both objective and subjective.
The Holmes Report just released its second Global Creative Index that weighs scores using a formula that places particular emphasis on Best of Show winners of major PR competitions. This year, the Index also included a ranking that awarded points based on an agency’s size so as to declare the agency that is “pound for pound” the most creative of them all. This calculation is tied to how many people work at each agency being evaluated.
I find this “pound for pound” ranking very curious. I’ve been in the business a while and have worked both sides of the award show circuit. It used to be that agencies were content to be honored as “large” agency or “small” agency, designations that are traditionally delineated based on their client billings.
The logic used to be that the variance in billings was closely tied to scale of talent and production that were relatively consistent throughout the industry. Of course, the debate then was around large agency production advantages vs. small agency scrappiness, bolstered by clients’ willingness to take greater risks.
Today’s blending together of responsibilities for paid, earned, shared and owned channels across the agency–client–media landscape has further blurred the lines of differentiation between agencies of all disciplines and sizes. As a result, it is getting ever harder to discern not only industry alignments, but also ownership of ideas, executions and results. And the shift in technology has been an even greater equalizer, further begging the question, “Is size relevant?”
In the end, the only thing constant is change. Small agencies can quickly grow into large agencies, large agency’s frequently restructure their client teams, and their creatives break off and form small agencies to accommodate client and talent changes. It’s the circle of life. I believe it is an agency’s creative approach, it’s “one-ness”, if you will, and not the size of its staff, that ultimately contributes most to its creative success.
I think Master Yoda summed this up best:
“Size matters not. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship.”
May the force of creativity be with you!
Debbi Reinschmiedt is vice president – designer curator at Ketchum West.