Create value & value creative

When Lee Clow speaks, you listen. The man renown for his work on Apple and Absolut at TBWA/Chiat/Day talked about his thoughts on agency compensation a few weeks ago in a video for an event organized by the 4A’s.

In the video he talks about how good creative ideas can be very valuable brand assets and that other than in most creative industries (media, artists, …) you don’t get paid for the value of what you create:

“Unfortunately, in our business, we get paid like we’re doing our clients’ laundry. We haven’t figured out that the ideas that we create can become a very powerful asset to the brands we work for. Many of the ideas — whether they be slogans or advertising forms and styles or a voice that we create for brands — could be listed on the balance sheet of our clients as an asset with millions and millions of dollars in value.”

I think he’s right to the point that the power of good creativity gets undervalued. Good creative and good results go hand in hand and therefore it’s important for businesses to realize that it’s not something you can commoditize, like Mr. Clow mentions in the video. We should – together with our clients – work out different ways of valuing ideas though:

“We’re supposed to be a creative business, but I think we have been probably the least creative industry in the history of the world in terms of figuring out how to get paid.”

With businesses under pressure due to the ongoing crisis there seems to be an always bigger focus on the end (marketing) product – what you see is what you get. The time or talent needed to make the best creative possible are often ‘invisible’ to clients which results in what Mr. Clow talks about in his video.

This also puts pressure on the client –  agency relationship, something which doesn’t lead to the best results either as shown by Frank Shuring at the ‘My message in your brain’ conference (NL). His neuroscience research showed that better client – agency relationships directly lead to much better results. Surprised? Not really. Sounds obvious, so now let’s make it happen. And let’s discuss what it is that both sides value most, so we can get out of this crisis together.

Is creativity a dirty word?

Posted in June of this year, the cartoon below is probably yet another one of Hugh’s classics. I don’t think ‘creativity’ is a dirty word for big companies, I actually believe it’s pretty popular. Still I agree with the point that Hugh is trying to make. I hear a lot of talks about ‘creativity’ at the start of a product/campaign, but once things start going it seems like creativity is the first out of the door.

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So get over to Hugh’s gallery and buy this print so you can hang it in your office ;)

Creativity World Forum

Last week I spent 2 days at the Creativity World Forum in Antwerp, a conference that got my attention because of some of main speakers such as John Cleese, Steve Wozniak, Dan Heath, Tom Kelly, Chris Anderson, … Many of them I had not seen before which made it all the more interesting. It was also at this conference that we got to SpotMe device for better networking, something I blogged about last week. Most of he links below point to short recap videos of the presentations, so make sure you check out the ones that interest you.

Day 2 - Chris Anderson
Photo from FlandersDC

First speaker to kick off the event (well after the obligatory and boring intro) was John Cleese. And just like for many of you I guess… he’s a hero of mine so pretty good start :) I must say even though John didn’t re-invent to wheel here on how to be creative but I liked that presentation a lot. John’s theory is that everyone can be creative, but that you need to get into the creative mindset for it and that you need to take time for it. A lot of his focus regarding this mindset was on the unconscious part of your brain that is very important for this. He recommended to read a book called ‘Hare Brain, Tortoise Mind: How intelligence increases when you think less’ to support his talk on this. Instinctively I could recognize myself in this (which I guess is a good thing) but there’s obviously no way I compare to John of course.

The next talk I saw was from Jef Staes. A presentation that didn’t really start of well, but turned out to be pretty interesting in the end. The analogy of the Red Monkey which is the creator, who needs to influence the pioneers first, after which you (hopefully) get followers that finally crush the settlers was an interesting one. Especially given my interest in all things ‘influence’. After Jef came Theo Jansen who I blogged about before, seriously impressed with his creations though. Fascinating to see those on stage., again watch the video. Last speaker I saw on day 1 was Steve Wozniak, and although I was seriously looking forward to that, I must say you might as well read his book.

First up the second day was Tom Kelley from IDEO, who talked about how it’s not good enough to be innovative, but how you also need to outpace everyone else. He spoke about his new book and the different roles he describes in there that are important in the innovative process, with the focus on 2 roles: The Anthropologist and the Experience Architect. Again I liked what I saw, also because it sort of ties in with some things I mentioned during my own presentation at SIME. He mentioned a good quote of Marcel Proust saying:

“The real act of discovery consists not in finding new lands but in seeing with new eyes”

He also referred to a concept they call ‘VUJA DE’ which is exactly the opposite as ‘DEJA VU’ and how it’s exactly these ‘VUJA DE’ moments they’re trying to pursue at IDEO when working on projects. Good stuff.

I was also looking forward to see An De Jonghe but that turned out to be a big disappointment. She gave 3 examples around social networking, one of which was Belgian and which took her a lot of research to find it (yet failing to point out she’s consulting for them!) Good luck we got a great treat from Dan Heath after that. His talk was related to ‘Made To Stick’ (which I loved) and since he’s a great presenter as well, this was really good. Good reminder about the ‘curse of knowledge’ and thinking about reading the book again.

Last but not least, Chris Anderson, no need for introduction right? He talked a little bit about ‘The Long Tail’ but mostly on his new book ‘Free’ which is coming out next June. It was really interesting to see how he came about this theory (talking about how “storage, bandwidth will become to cheap to meter”) and why that enables these new models. He talked about 4 models of FREE that exist in the 21st Century:

  1. A marketing trick
  2. Ad-Funded / Ad-Supported
  3. Freemium
  4. Gift Economy

… of which Freemium is definitely the most compelling to me. Really good talk again which concluded the event. So needless to say I enjoyed it, especially when you know it cost only like 300 EUR. There were more presentations but those were the ones I wanted to talk about, make sure you watch those videos!