The Strategy Department


Is Creativity a Means to an End – Or an End in Itself?

Brand building, advertising and creativity are inseparable since marketers have recognised the importance of engaging the mind, heart and senses. There is no refuting creativity’s value to our industry. Great creative has the power to be noticed, to be remembered and – in our highly connected world – to be shared. It even has the power to defeat two of the biggest obstacles facing the industry in 2016: commercial fatigue and consumer apathy. The message is clear: today’s consumer is far less tolerant of commercial disruption. However, is creativity not, by its very nature, disruptive?

Herein lies the conundrum: We must disrupt in order to be noticed – but is it enough to disrupt for the sake of disruption alone? Similarly, can a brand ever treat creativity as an end in itself? Creativity without a strategic basis, has the potential to do more harm than ever before. Although today’s consumers demand to be entertained, can we ever justify creativity that is overpowering or self-indulgent, at the expense of an underlying brand strategy or message? People will always take note of an engaging idea. The problem lies in a creative idea that is so arresting, so consuming, that it detracts from the brand itself. And surely this defeats the very purpose of branding or marketing?

Given the current state of our industry and economy, with marketers being ever more conscious of maximising their return on investment, we must ask: Is it perhaps time for our industry to be more critical of the role of creativity and vying to capture the attention of increasingly discerning consumers? And in this light, is there even a case for continuing to pursue creativity for creativity’s sake?

Mike dos Santos, The Strategy Department

At The Strategy Department we develop clear strategies that give brands a strong foundation on which to grow. With our combined experience across multiple industries and channels, we build strategies that deliver measurable results.


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