Is PR addicted to a fast-food diet of creative conformity?

We continue to debate the ups and downs of our brilliant industry and our convergence with other disciplines, notably advertising.

Don't get lost in conformity, warns Chris McCafferty
Don't get lost in conformity, warns Chris McCafferty

Rarely, however, is our core currency of creativity given enough prominence in these debates.

And it’s fundamental. 

It’s fundamental in our desire to win the great convergence race we’re all engaged in.

Get it right and we race to the top. Get it wrong and we race each other to the bottom with ever-decreasing circles of creative, budgets and margins. So, do you crave creative conformity or foster creative diversity?

Sadly, I believe large swathes of our industry are engineered for conformity. What’s worked before? What’s the shortcut to coverage? What’s the survey question?

To me it’s simple.

If PR cannot break its addiction to the fast-food diet of celebrity driven, surface level, float-it-down-the-Thames, make-something-bigger conformist creativity, we will lose.

We will lose our opportunity to lead. We will lose our opportunity to future proof. And we will lose our opportunity to grow in influence and budget.

Which, given our expertise in earning, not buying, attention, would be a crime.

My favourite mantra is "If you’re doing something the way you’ve always done it, you’re probably doing it wrong."

Let’s do more to celebrate and foster diverse creative thinking. Diversity of channels and platforms. Diversity of partners.

In today’s world of distributed influence and fragmented media, there is no excuse for lazy, me-too conformist creativity.

Diversity in creative thinking is everything.

And, yes, before someone picks me up on it, I admit it. I did once float a 45ft model whale down the Thames to help save the western gray whale. It’s the exception that proves the rule.

Chris McCafferty is the founder of Kaper

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