Charting the future of public relations
Creativity In PR 2013: Budget Emerges As Biggest Barrier
Arun Sudhaman
Holmes Report
President/Editor-in-Chief

Creativity In PR 2013: Budget Emerges As Biggest Barrier

A lack of budget has overtaken a lack of time as the biggest barrier to creativity in the PR industry, according to our new global study.

Arun Sudhaman

Creativity In PR 2013: Budget Emerges As Biggest Barrier

A lack of budget has overtaken a lack of time as the biggest barrier to creativity in the PR industry, according to our new global study.

The Creativity in PR report is co-authored by the Holmes Report and creativity experts NowGoCreate, in partnership with Ketchum, based on a survey of 600 PR people from more than 35 countries across the world.

Earlier this week, the study launched by revealing that creativity is critical to how businesses perceive PR value, even as the PR industry struggles to find a business model that can help it genuinely prove its creative capabilities. Yesterday, we looked at how the client-agency divide extends to perceptions of the industry's creative quality and big ideas.

A free PDF of the report can be downloaded here or viewed at the end of this story.

54% of respondents pointed to a lack of time as the biggest factor which stops them or their company from being creative. 44% chose a lack of time, the factor that ranked first last year. The same proportion, meanwhile, say client feedback or risk aversion is a barrier to creativity.

Much of the anecdotal comment collected by the survey pointed to the challenges that continue to limit the industry's creative ambitions. 
 
“For a client there is a perceived risk in taking a creative (read, more expensive) idea to market," said one agency respondent from Australia. "Unlike advertising, we do not control the end result of the editorial (unless, as some agencies do, they are paying for content – but that's another conversation)."
 
"So there is a perceived risk in offering a creative idea which runs an increased risk in "not having the client taken seriously", and the idea itself ends up being more interesting than the reason why you went to market in the first instance. Plus, the vagaries of editorial mean that with a lack of control in the editorial outcome, it makes clients nervous. We cannot guarantee the way the story will be carried."
 
Catalysts and drivers
 
 
Improving the use of insight is cited most often (33%) as a catalyst for greater creativity compared to ‘more time’ in 2012. Also rising in importance is the ability to take more risks (32%). Resourcing — budget and time — continue to be seen as areas ripe for improvement, as is a better knowledge of creative tools. Significantly, options such as hiring a planner, hiring a creative director or ‘more fun’ garnered relatively little support.
 

It is one thing to talk in general terms about creative standards, but a more useful picture emerges when respondents are asked to zero in on the areas where an increasing need for creative thinking and ideas is seen.

Content creation comes out on top (74%), reflecting surging demand from brands, followed by integrated ideas (64%), digital comms (59%), content marketing (44%) and media relations (41%). In common with in-house findings, paid media scores considerably lower (15%).

When asked which factors drive great creative work, respondents again ranked ‘great storytelling’ first (73%). And, once again, insight/planning came second (59%). However, emotional resonance took third spot this year (48%), followed by content creation (43%).

Significantly, fewer respondents cited purpose as a creative driver compared to last year (34%), reflecting the paucity of purpose-driven campaigns in the Holmes Report’s recent Global Creative Index.

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