a fully attuned sense of curiosity
a lot of material to play with don’t tell me a blank sheet of
paper is a good thing
a sense of the need to produce something deadlines are
great goads
252 brilliant marketing
Always listen to your inner voice (you may have 500 reasons to do
something but if your heart isn’t saying ‘yes’ don’t do it).
What Stanford University taught us
Professor Michael Ray, the John G. McCoy-BancOne
Corporation Professor of Creativity and Innovation and
Marketing, Emeritus, is a phenomenon who has changed a lot of
lives. His course at Stanford, which he ran with Rochelle Myers,
is spoken of with awe by those who’ve been on it. His advice is
be yourself in life
take a deep breath and ask yourself ‘yes’ or ‘no’ often the
answer simply comes to you
‘Do only what is easy, effortless and enjoyable’ that’s Jim
Collins, author of From Good to Great, who went on the
course in 1983 yes, it’s been going that long
your life is a work of art and the kind of creativity he
teaches is essential to health, success and happiness in life,
in business and above all in marketing.
It sounds a bit mystical but what is so appealing about all this is
that Michael is an obvious and keen student of human nature
and the positivism (unless you are a Van Gogh or a Proust) that
leads to great and life-changing cre-
ativity for marketers.The key for any
great marketing is to understand
who the target is, where they are at,
what is likely to engage them and
why they may be reached by what
you have to tell them. But it is not just about a transfer of infor-
mation, because marketing at its most brilliant is not a craft or a
science. This is the big lesson here. Brilliant marketing is an art.
Ted Nierenberg, founder of Dansk International Design, said
‘The uncreative life isn’t worth living.
I’m with Ted.
Creativity is high on the political agenda too
In a report recently published by the Department of Culture,
Media and Sport, it was concluded:
‘The challenge is to create a culture in higher education that links
creativity with innovation of creative value.
I love the sang-froid of government.This is more than words-on-
a-page challenge. It’s a mighty adventure that needs massive
funding. Trouble with government. All talk. No walk. All mouth
and trousers.
In recent times, the number of creative businesses (62,000) in the
UK has been growing rapidly (by 40 per cent over a five-year
period). The skills in managing creativity are improving, but too
slowly. Too many of us regard the need to do things on time and
on budget as more important than doing things brilliantly. Sir
Jeremy Isaacs (ex head of Channel 4 and the Royal Opera House,
and no slouch when it came to managing creativity) said in the
Financial Times in 1999 these timeless words:
‘Your prime role as a manager is enabling creativity to fulfil itself.
The art of creative thinking 253
marketing at its most
brilliant is not a craft or
a science. Brilliant
marketing is an art
Vodafone did a piece of research in 2005 which encouragingly
(well, I think it’s encouraging) showed the following:
28 per cent of their employees had at least one new idea a
two-thirds believed their managers were likely to listen to
new ideas
in companies where no inducement or reward structure was
in place just under a third of people never had an idea.
But it cannot simply be planned ‘today I shall be creative’ you
can try it, but don’t hold your breath. Amin Rajan, CEO of
Create, a research company, put it rather well when he described
creativity in an organisation as ‘a random explosion born out of
frustration with the status quo’. Creativity matters so much
because it is there to facilitate and drive change. And creativity
is vital in marketing, where the key aims in the quest for bril-
liance are as follows:
to be noticed
to change opinion
or to strengthen opinion
to provoke action.
Learning how to be creative
Claire Sparks of Shine Communications talks about the need to
be inspired by feeding her mind and there, in one leap, Claire
has nailed the core truth about creativity. Unless you have that
unquenchable appetite for the new, different and extraordinary,
chances are you won’t be able to join the creative club.
So how do you get into the creative zone? Here’s a ten-point pro-
gramme which can begin to turn you from a corporate duckling
into a suave creative swan.
254 brilliant marketing

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