John Zeigler explores creative effectiveness to build business growth



In 2011 the IPA, the professional body of advertising, media and marketing in the UK, released “The Link between Creativity and Effectiveness.” Written by Peter Field and using data from the IPA databank, the paper compared the scale of hard business effects achieved by the creative-awarded campaigns, with the effects of non-awarded campaigns. The conclusion: creative-awarded campaigns were 12 times more effective at driving business effects such as share, sales, profit, and loyalty than non-awarded work.

This is no surprise to DDB, yet clients continue to challenge us on agency fees and our value/price ratio. Today agencies have become so efficiency-focused we have forgotten creativity is an art —not a science —that needs careful crafting to produce optimal results.

We see brands struggling to differentiate themselves with sometimes the only difference being brand reputation and the creativity that supports it. It’s now widely accepted that a brand’s competitive advantage is mostly these intangible assets. In fact, more than 50 per cent of a corporation’s value today is composed of intangible assets – up from 20 per cent four decades ago.

I believe it’s time to use our greatest asset – creativity – to prove to brands that agencies can build the business growth they are seeking. I call it Engaging Creativity for Growth, or put simply, ECG. At DDB, it’s matching our best minds in the agency with a brand’s key decision makers to devise ways to look at the business problems and drive business growth, not just a reaction to an advertising brief. Engagement is about discussing the issues that keep clients up at night, not what TVC we should run this year. It’s using the right tools ‒ whatever is at our disposal ‒ to get to creative ideas that will help clients sleep a little better.

All brands should be pushing their agency to pursue creative, award-winning work. This should be an ongoing passion for both client and agency, not just because creativity is most likely the only way to differentiate their brands from their competition but because the research says great creative campaigns generate better business results, “up to 12 times the effectiveness.”

Creativity clearly is the client’s secret weapon in the war for growth.