EMBRACING creativity sometimes means accepting failure, says Simon Bromfield, sub-Saharan Africa account manager for software and services company Adobe.
Cutting-edge ideas come with risk, he says. “If it doesn’t work, we can still learn from it and use part of it. We must ask, why didn’t it work?”
An international study commissioned by Adobe and published this year concluded companies that encourage creativity achieve better business results than those that don’t.
The study, by Forrester Consulting, also found that such companies find it easier to attract and retain staff.
Creativity, in the broad business sense, generally refers to business and product ideas, and new technologies.
Within advertising and marketing, it is more aligned to message content, style and branding.
Many traditional business people mistrust creativity because they consider it qualitative and intangible, says the report. But Bromfield says that in marketing there is incontrovertible evidence that creative campaigns improve clients’ sales and profits. Even so, “many corporate executives undervalue creativity”.
One of the challenges, he admits, is that creative tools are changing so fast. Adobe, which made its name with products like Photoshop and Acrobat, has changed its business model to bring customers new technologies more quickly.
“We can now release features within days instead of waiting 18 months,” he says.
The pace of change — including the rise of social media as a consumer influence — is worrying marketing creatives. Another Adobe report found that 66% of creatives believe their role won’t exist in three years and 80% believe they will have to learn new tools and techniques to remain relevant.
“Consumers are no longer convinced to buy products based on creative jingles, eye-catching billboards or entertaining adverts,” says the report, “New Creatives”. “As business needs to adapt and change according to market environments, so does the creative industry.”
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