The key to unlocking business potential and business success

2011-11-22 00:00

A COMMON quip among business people is that in a downturn, the first budget to be cut is marketing and advertising. Businesses need to re-evaluate the basis on which they make such decisions.

To understand the business of creativity, one has to understand the relationship between creativity and genius, which is in essence, the difference between an ordinary mind and one of genius.

Unfortunately, no educational system on the planet puts as much emphasis on creativity as they do logic.

Without creative thinking it is impossible to discover the next breakthrough product or for the product once discovered, to break out and be noticed in a crowded market place.

Make no mistake, creativity is not exclusive to advertising agencies or designers nor is it only associated with art.

Creativity is not wild and crazy or even foolishness — creativity is the use of the imagination or original ideas, it is applying out-of-the-box thinking to find a new approach, embracing innovation and daring to do things differently — all of which are critical for business survival and success.

Growth in business demands creativity. It is what separates successful businesses from their competition.

It is no secret that in times of economic uncertainty, businesses shift their focus from long-term strategy to short-term sales when in fact a recession is not the time to trim brand portfolios, but to expand them and take advantage of changing consumer behaviours.

According to Millward Brown — a leading global research agency­ — lessons from recent recessions provide powerful arguments for maintaining a longer-term view, even in the face of pressure to cut advertising and communications budgets in favour of promotions.

Marketers who resist this pressure and use their budgets effectively and creatively will find that their brands emerge from the tough times in good competitive shape.

Where then does a business lacking in creativity source original ideas and boundless imagination to grow and generate profit? The answer — the advertising and communications profession.

Why then is the contribution of advertising and communications to business questioned especially during a recessive economy when businesses need to break through excessive clutter to reach consumers — their means to revenue, profit and growth?

Consumers are inundated with information — the average adult is exposed to anything from 3 000 to as much as 10 000 messages in any form, be it television, print, radio, social media or banner advertising in a single day.

For a brand to stand out and be seen, creativity is essential. Fresh, innovative, new, out-of-the-box ways to reach and talk to consumers are needed.

The advertising and communications industry understands the psychology of consumer behaviour. Who better than professionals who are not only inherently creative but also trained and experienced to tackle business problems for the purpose of generating revenue to assist businesses break through the clutter, stand out and be noticed?

Psychology Professor Walter D. Scott wrote: “As our nervous system is constructed to give us all the possible sensations from objects, so the advertisement which is comparable to the nervous system must awaken in the reader as many different kinds of images as the object itself can excite.”

Advertising and communications uses creativity to do just that — to awaken consumers from inertia and drive them to action.


• Odette van der Haar is the CEO of the Association for Communication and Advertising.

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