I’d wager that, if you were to ask everyone who works in PR whether they consider themselves creative, a majority would say yes. Probably a large majority.
And yet, the industry seems to have its issues when it comes to creativity. My colleague Stefan Gerard dives into the tricky topic of PR creative in another article. He raises several good points that can be debated at length, which is great for advancing creativity in the industry.
While those conversations take place, it’s also important to recognize what can be done right now. So let’s break down how to nurture creativity inside a PR firm:
- Creative Thinking Needs a Champion: PR accounts and teams tend to be run by folks steeped in PR – which is not to say they are not creative – but if we want clients to think more creatively about their business, we should probably introduce them to folks who can help them think beyond communication issues and start thinking about creative and strategic issues.
- Creative Is Not a Thing: It’s not something to make and sell, it’s a way to think about what we do, whatever that is. Which is to say, if we treat creative as something that a client needs to buy outside of what we currently do for them, then it will always be the exception rather than the rule. Just imagine if an ad agency thought of their creative as something that lived outside of the campaigns for which they are hired.
- The Big Idea Is Bigger Than Any One Discipline: Given that the output of a PR ask can take many forms, what is meant by a “big idea” or “platform idea” needs to span a range of activity – and likely exceeds the perspective of any one team (whether that is a creative team, a practice team or a sector team). This is controversial, but multidisciplinary teams with a range of domain experience are necessary to push the boundaries of an idea far enough to embrace the fulsomeness of the task.
- Integrated Thinking Needs an Integrated Brief: We live in a multichannel world and no one is master of all. Briefs – like the teams they are created for – need to span a wide range of talent, not all of which will fall under the traditional definition of “creative.” That means inviting and treating traditional and nontraditional creative types as equals. Not an easy thing to do in a culture steeped in expertise and exclusivity.
- Collaboration Is King: While different team members with different backgrounds will contribute in different ways and in different amounts, creativity in the integrated communication world requires that folks be open to an ongoing give-and-take to come up with a big idea that is truly big enough to be owned by all.