Creativity is the true value for clients

How many times have clients - both internally and externally - come to the PR team seeking creative solutions to solve business challenges? For clients, creativity is the secret sauce that helps differentiate products from competitors, capture new markets, define a reputation, or escape a challenging situation. For agencies, creativity helps land our brands on national and local news, build business with new assignments, and win accolades with shiny industry awards.

How many times have clients - both internally and externally - come to the PR team seeking creative solutions to solve business challenges? For clients, creativity is the secret sauce that helps differentiate products from competitors, capture new markets, define a reputation, or escape a challenging situation. For agencies, creativity helps land our brands on national and local news, build business with new assignments, and win accolades with shiny industry awards.

The wonderful and exciting out-of-the-box and game-changing power of creativity is too often only tapped for the big idea and major pitch. In fact, the power of creativity is truly unleashed when we make it a daily way of life and apply it to all projects. A good approach to the creative process is believing there are solutions to every client challenge. Some of the most creative solutions are, in effect, smart ways of handling everyday assignments. From media relations, to product launches, to corporate social responsibility, creativity is the discipline that allows us to turn a client's need upside down and look at it from a different vantage point.

And while clients often hire agencies for a particular expertise, it is the ability to creatively respond to problems that provides true and meaningful value. Too often, PR practitioners get caught in the routine of reprising what has worked before, rather than seeking new and innovative approaches yet to be proven. It takes courage to recommend a new approach to a traditional project, and it takes fortitude to stick by your guns and try to sell it to the client. But, more often than not, the risk turns into a reward for both the agency and client.

We all need to seek to infuse smart, creative solutions into daily assignments. For instance, sometimes, creative solutions demand a bit of bold and brash delivery.

In March, our partner Pizza Hut announced that if any of the 16 seeds in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament upset a one seed team in the first round, Pizza Hut would give out 300,000 slices of its new Pizza Mia to the students at the winning school. While the historic upset and accompanying pizza bonanza didn't happen, Pizza Hut built awareness for the giveaway and the new Pizza Mia by partnering with New Mexico basketball coach and former NCAA Tournament winner Steve Alford to conduct radio interviews the week of the tournament.

Next time you are in a team meeting listening to updates, instead of asking for next steps, seek a different way of responding to the assignment. Instead of a clip report, send an online link to a video. Instead of a group brainstorm, pose one question and ask for the entire agency to respond. Instead of a PowerPoint presentation, create an entire slideshow with visuals. Challenge your team to practice daily acts of creativity.

Lisa Robinson is the chief creative officer at Zeno Group and the managing director of the Zeno LA office.

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