Creativity and innovation are the heart and soul of any company or organisation that wants to remain relevant, competitive and effective. Like elsewhere, there is a growing appetite for creative ideas and solutions in the Middle East that can make you stand out from the crowd, reach people and be engaging.
Recently, someone referred to me as "oh, you are our creative corporate person". I found this rather complimentary - not being a ‘creative’ - who are and should be revered - but equally felt I was being placed in a restrictive box. After all, creatives are not just the ones who know how to design, write or come up with the creative campaign concepts. Creativity also involves generating ideas and solutions that have the power to relate to the people around you and connect to your audiences.
I have worked with some of the most traditional – often perceived as ‘non-creative’ – businesses around the world, such as heavy industry and professional services. However, these were often the ones who were the most inspiring as they demonstrated such eagerness to engage in conversations and explore the ways and means in how they could make things better, innovative, and create exciting positive change infused through the adoption of creative thinking.
At the end of the day, we are all humans - emotional and wanting to feel inspired. That inspiration can come in many forms, it may come from a powerful speech by a CEO that connects and resonates with you, a purpose-related stakeholder meeting, a policy meeting or an ‘all singing and all dancing’ event production. It is more than creating compelling words and images; it is how you apply creative thinking to business solutions.
In a world that is now more connected, faster and more cluttered, communications-wise, it is creative ideas that will drive the business forward by solving business challenges, engage audiences and resonate on a human level when we also tap into the emotional and human-centric approach.
When we apply creative thinking to purpose, then we see real change happen, real ways to connect with audiences in ways that make your brand stand out, be relevant, take a stand on an issue. As we have seen recently with Unilever this can also drive growth – their 28 sustainable living brands grew 69 per cent faster than the rest of their brands, thereby delivering 75 per cent of their overall growth.
If we unleash and empower people to apply the lens of creativity and use their creative thinking then we unlock a wealth of new ideas to apply to the business, to clients if you are an agency, and continue to innovate in the approach.
Teri O'Donnell is founding partner and chair of Manara Global
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