WFA Report Addresses The Decline Of Marketing Creativity And What To Do About It

A new WFA report lays out the role of creativity in marketing and advertising, and how its value is perceived in the brand marketing community and what steps might be taken to bolster the creative process.

But it’s an agency person-- Natalie Lam, Chief Creative Officer APAC and MEA, Publicis Groupe—who neatly sums up the complexities surrounding the issue.

In the report, released today, Lam states, “It's a tough job to be a client nowadays because there's a long checklist of things you must do: the KPIs, the ROIs, measurement, checking the boxes - oh is this purposeful enough? Are we featuring enough diversity? … Everybody's time is finite. So once you check all the boxes, there's very, very little time and effort and energy left for true creativity."

Yeah, it’s complicated. But hey, humans are involved so I guess that goes without saying.

WFA says the report, titled “Clients and Creativity,” is the first global study to focus “specifically on clients’ roles and the part they can play in tackling the decline of creativity in marketing and advertising.”

And the report points to a huge disconnect in marketer thinking about creativity. On one hand, 82% of the 600-plus client-side marketers surveyed in dozens of markets globally said creativity is marketing’s most potent weapon. On the other hand, just 28% said they regard it as critical to the success of their business. Okay, it sounds to me like the burgeoning marketing procurement process is having an impact on overall thinking about creativity, which I think is what Lam was saying in part.

Key barriers to more creative marketing, per the report, include, risk-averse culture, short-term-focus, having too many decision makers and reductions in budgets.

As to boosting creative performance, the report outlines several areas. Better client briefs top the list. Obviously, they need to be well thought through but also written “in the context of trust and transparency between the client and their collaborators.”

And for the risk adverse, the report urges “get comfortable with the uncomfortable.” Instead of focusing on risk, focus on whether the work delivers against the brief and encourages consumers to act even if it makes you cringe a bit.

Also, figure out a way to address the too-many-cooks issue. The report suggests that a simplified RACI plan would help. That stands for responsible, accountable, consulted, informed and means that you need to be clear about who the ultimate decision maker is.

The report is great food for thought on the marketing and advertising creative process.


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