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ABOUT PEOPLES INSIGHTS

THE VOICE OF SPRINT

Big ideas that are rooted in


strong insights and foresights
have never been as important, and
conversations and communities
have become the most important
sources of insights.

The Future of Creativity is part of MSLGROUP's People's


Insights project.
Peoples Insights is a collection of inspiring initiatives,
insights and foresights shared by MSLGROUPs SPRINTers
our global team of 100 strategic planners, researchers
and insights experts.
We feature the best of these initiatives as Peoples Insights
monthly briefs, and original insights and foresights from
our SPRINTers and other MSLGROUP experts in our
Peoples Insights reports. We share these reports on our
social platforms and distribute them freely to inspire more
engaging campaigns.
The Future of Creativity is the latest in our future of
series, which also includes The Future of Employee
(Re)Engagement, The Future of Reputation and, recently,
The Future of Business Citizenship.

Peoples Insights Monthly Briefs

Peoples Insights is available as a blog, a series of easy-toread powerpoint decks and infographics, white papers and
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Follow us on Twitter @PeoplesLab or subscribe to our


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04

INDEX

05

Foreword
by Olivier Fleurot,
CEO, MSLGROUP

11

What ''making our


clients' voice matter''
actually means

Creativity in a
technology enabled
world

by Pascal Beucler,
SVP & Chief Strategy
Officer, MSLGROUP

by Rishad Tobaccowala,
Chief Strategist,
Publicis Groupe

15 drivers for engaging creatively in 2015


15

1. Capturing the
Spark

26

Sachin Karle

2. Train your
Creativity Muscle

28

Oana Bulexa

3. Creation Via
Constraint

31

Renee Wilson

4. Six Steps to
Planning Success
Benjamin Koe
MSLGROUP Asia (Singapore)

39

7. Relevance is
of the Essence

34

8. Have the
Smarts for It
Narendra Nag
MSLGROUP India

48

10. For Mobile,


By Mobile

42

11. Fuel for


Ideas

51

12. Riding the


Flow of Fluidity
Surya Kundu
MSLGROUP India

14. Organising for


Real-Time
Jean-Philippe Martzel
DigitasLBi France

56

Ben Therrien
MSLGROUP North America

45

13. Is it Worth a
Tweet?
Patricia Albuquerque
MSLGROUP Espalhe (Brazil)

Alice Hu
MSLGROUP Asia
(China)

Nidhi Makhija-Chimnani
MSLGROUP

MSLGROUP

24

6. Custodians of
Collaboration

9. Purpose + People
for Performance
Penny Baxter
Salterbaxter MSLGROUP (UK)

Kim Piquet
MSLGROUP Italy

MSLGROUP The Practice


(Romania)

21

36

Dominic Payling
MSLGROUP UK

MSLGROUP India

18

5. Intimacy of
Insights

15. Measurement
is your Best Ally
Allan Dib
MSLGROUP North America

59

Bonus! 15 Tips for


PR Professionals to
Unlock the Creativity
in PR
Nidhi Makhija-Chimnani,
MSLGROUP

FOREWORD

Creativity is a topic that comes up frequently at PR conferences


especially at Cannes. As a lot of PR awards still go to traditional
advertising agencies and creative houses, we collectively wonder
what else should we be doing to win these awards? True, some of the
work we do, during a crisis or when preparing an important transaction
for a client, cant be publicly discussed. Are we too shy when it comes
to packaging and talking about our creativity? Or, is creativity
something that has only recently become more important in strategic
communications?
New digital and social platforms have given brands new ways to
engage with communities. Any individual can be a journalist and
reach hundreds of thousands of followers. To break through the noise
that has accompanied this shift, it has become more important for us
to engage creatively to help make our clients voice matter. This
applies to nearly all brands, corporations and organisations when they
try to truly engage with their various stakeholders consumers,
employees, investors, journalists, regulators, governments and so on.

Olivier Fleurot
CEO, MSLGROUP
@fleurot5

At MSLGROUP, we recently tweaked our own brand vision to reflect


this new priority, to become creative storytellers. Creativity is also the
main focus of our latest Peoples Insights report.
In The Future of Creativity, fifteen experts from MSLGROUP and two
from our larger Publicis Groupe family share their thoughts on
making our clients' voice matter. From re-defining what it means to
be creative, to commenting on new developments and highlighting
15 key drivers of creativity, this report is designed to inspire more
creativity in PR. As technology is becoming a strong ally of PR,
we also need to use it creatively.
We hope this report will trigger great debates about the new role and
the new meaning of creativity. We invite you to start a conversation
with us, and hope that together, we may make 2015 the year of
creativity in strategic communications.

| The Future of Creativity | FOREWORD

04

WHAT "MAKING OUR


CLIENTS' VOICE MATTER"
ACTUALLY MEANS

Pascal Beucler
SVP & Chief Strategy
Officer, MSLGROUP
@pbeucler

Our PR industry is confronted by its most serious


disruption ever, as digitalization and disintermediation
profoundly change the rules of the game.

Relevance has a
deadline: it's now,
or never
Big data, smart
ideas: it's a datadriven world

Context-driven
Conversations are
the way to go
Yes, time is of the
essence, real-time PR
is the new norm.

| The Future of Creativity | WHAT "MAKING OUR CLIENTS' VOICE MATTER" ACTUALLY MEANS

05

DIGITALIZATION & DISINTERMEDIATION CHANGE THE


RULES OF THE PR GAME
Big data, smart ideas:
it's a data-driven world

Yes, time is of the essence, real-time PR is the new norm.

Our clients ask us for only ideas driven by


data and backed with rich insights and
foresights, because this is the only way to
engage successfully with people and
communities. We need to develop a
culture of mining and applying insights,
to be able to deliver on these criteria.

People are always-on. Brands are always-on. How can PR agencies


not be always-on?
The new name of what we do or should do in PR is Real-Time Engagement: the
classical campaign format, nurtured by insights that three people came up with, is
gone, not to mention the good old press release.
PR today can be everything like crowdsourced content, a smartphone app, a viral
video, an experiential point of sale, a crowdfunding initiative or a social gaming
component. If you can combine experiential and social, you're hitting the sweet
spot: the power of a live experience + its social amplification.

Relevance has a deadline:


it's now, or never
In computing sciences, the concept of real-time relates to a system
in which input data is processed within milliseconds, so that it is
available virtually immediately as feedback (like an airline booking
system, for instance).
We're not up to milliseconds yet, in the world of PR, although it
might come sooner than we think! But clearly, the more it goes, the
more our time unit is minutes, not hours, and surely not days.

Context-driven
Conversations are
the way to go
The insights today come from the
conversations that thousands or millions
of people have now, which we need to take
advantage of within minutes. It could be
called Contextual Conversation.

And, just like for computing sciences, it all starts with data, big data.

| The Future of Creativity | WHAT "MAKING OUR CLIENTS' VOICE MATTER" ACTUALLY MEANS

06

CREATIVITY IS WHAT HELPS EMERGE FROM THE NOISE AROUND


These are major shifts, risks or opportunities, which
we need to address if we wish to survive in a very
tough, highly competitive environment.
It should therefore be no surprise for us, that the
demands to be creative have never been higher.
Brands and organizations are under enormous
pressure from audiences to be authentic,
meaningful and quick in their engagement. Clients
in turn demand the same from us.
Gone are the days when 'creativity' meant a singular,
linear campaign a series of posters, a short film, a
stand-alone press release. Audiences want to be
more involved as co-creators of the message and
want to engage with brands they are proud to be
associated with.
As the playing field becomes more crowded with
more brands fighting for the limited space on
people's timelines, creativity is crucial to cut
through the clutter.
Fundamentally, this is not too far from
what our industry does best: engaging stakeholders
in conversation on their preferred channels. But as
an industry,
we are not currently recognized as being creative.
It's not just the lack of awards at the Cannes creative
festival which pushes us to reflect on our creative
performance. It's what our clients are saying too, as
the The Holmes Creativity in PR study 2014 reveals:
only 18% of clients are consistently happy with their
PR agency's creativity.

| The Future of Creativity | WHAT "MAKING OUR CLIENTS' VOICE MATTER" ACTUALLY MEANS

07

CREATIVITY RE-DEFINED FOR THE CONVERSATION ECONOMY


Before we march to become more creative, let's re-define what
it means to be creative in the Conversation Economy.

Empathy: the ability to understand


people's feelings, beliefs and
needs.
Again, the traditional advocacy system is gone.
In todays peer-to-peer culture, people are far
more important than brands. Like a young
Millennial put it up recently:
If I speak of your brand to my friends, its not
because I like your brand, its because I like my
friends.
From a creative standpoint, our task is much
more complex than it used to be, as we must
deal with several levels: longer-term narrative,
short-term centres of interest, real-world
context, and deep knowledge of the key
conversation drivers in real-time.

Relevance: its power


is boundless.

Fluidity: it has to be a fully


seamless process

If youre not on peoples timeline, all through the


key moments of their day, if you dont know
whats in their life and mind, how can you help
your clients be part of their conversation?

The way you contact people, how you actually


connect with them, and the nature of the content
you share with them: that's what gives you a voice
in the conversation.

But if youre there, its magic. The power of


relevance is boundless, and its opening very
fruitful collaboration and co-creation with your
clients audience.

For this to happen, we need to have an intimate


understanding of how people access
information, how they make up their mind, how
they ultimately make their decisions and how
they go about their purchases.

We also need to realize that people are changing


too. Economic, geopolitical, technological and
social factors are no doubt influencing peoples
values and behaviors. We must be well versed in
these differences: what stereotypes and rituals
have changed? What are the new norms and
expectations of the different generations?

We must understand that the whole traditional,


vertical, pyramidal, top-down system with its
gate-keepers and little circle of key influencers is
upside down. And that this is true on the
Corporate side of the business as well as on the
Consumer side. There is no difference.

In a nutshell, the next gen PR agency needs to cross all traditional boundaries, from strategy to activation, from marketing
to communications, from developing apps to telling stories that matter.

| The Future of Creativity | WHAT "MAKING OUR CLIENTS' VOICE MATTER" ACTUALLY MEANS

08

CREATIVITY IN THE WORLD OF


PEOPLE RELATIONS (PR)
Publicis Groupe's mantra of IQ, EQ, TQ and BQ
applies to PR as well. In addition to the necessary
intelligence and emotional quotients, and the
now crucial technology quotient, we must be
bloody quick!
What does it mean for us?
We need to accelerate our Digital re-invention,
and do it from a 100% people-centric
perspective: brands belong to people.

We must be more
aware

We must be
smarter

We must be
quicker

We must be more
responsive

of the impact of
technology on
everything from culture
to society and business.

and back our ideas with


strong insights and data
points.

in delivering
meaningful, relevant
Ideas, stories, content,
campaigns and
experiences.

to all stakeholders,
involving them in the
brands initiatives and
shaping the initiative in
response to their
feedback - whether they
share it with us or not.

| The Future of Creativity | WHAT "MAKING OUR CLIENTS' VOICE MATTER" ACTUALLY MEANS

09

CREATIVITY IS A COMMITMENT, NOT A FANTASY


We see this as a challenging, but exciting game to play.
Let's win it, by Making Our Clients' Voice Matter. This is our Purpose at MSLGROUP: this is the way we define what we stand for as a global
organization, why we exist, what our raison d'tre is and why it creates a tangible value for our clients and for all our stakeholders. And by the way,
let's never forget that Purpose and Propose have the same etymology: a relevant Purpose needs to translate into a consistent value
proposition for all, internally and externally.

MATTER:
if it matters, it has to be of
importance, it is influential.
And it therefore needs to have
significance, sense and
meaning for the audience. This
is so important today, in a world
where the quest for meaning is
a pressing reality, particularly
for the numerous and crucial
Millennials' Generation.

VOICE:
it means we help our
clients have a voice in the
always-on conversation,
raise it when needed, be
heard and listened to. For
this to happen, we help them
generate the appropriate
content and spread it to
creatively engage with the
people and communities
that matter to them. And
creatively is not just an
adverb here: it's a
commitment.

We, MSLGROUP, are creating value for our clients by linking the power to make
oneself heard (through engagement) with the power to convince (through relevance).

| The Future of Creativity | WHAT "MAKING OUR CLIENTS' VOICE MATTER" ACTUALLY MEANS

10

CREATIVITY IN A
TECHNOLOGY
ENABLED WORLD

Creativity is the lifeblood of Brands.


Yes technology and data increasingly matter
but people are carbon based life forms and
not silicon avatars. We have emotions and
moods and feelings.
We move people with relevant stories.
And the best stories are driven by creativity.
While there are many definitions of
creativity, I define creativity as connecting
dots in new ways that resonate with
consumers, culture and brands.

Rishad Tobaccowala
Chief Strategist,
Publicis Groupe
@rishad

Blaise Pascal the French philosopher


stated it best when he said:

people choose with their


hearts and they then
use numbers to justify
what they did.

| The Future of Creativity | CREATIVITY IN A TECHNOLOGY ENABLED WORLD

11

NEW TECHNOLOGY,
NEW DOTS
Traditionally the dots that
Brands have used to deliver
creative messages have combined
audio, videos, images and words.
These essential elements still
matter a great deal, but due to
advances in technology, we now
have three new dots.
These new dots are those of:
a) Mobility
b) Participation
c) API - the ability to create and build
messages utilizing application protocol
interface, such as linking to Instagram
photos or Google trend data
The key change that these new dots bring
about in Creativity is that they leverage
movement and motion on the part of the
consumer.

Mobility
Mobility allows for place-based relevance. Where we are is as
important as whom we are for ensuring relevant messages and
conversations. New companies that Publicis Groupe has invested in,
like Place IQ, can reveal where people are before and after a sale.

Participation
Similarly, due to the Peoples Network that social platforms make
possible, we can now be part of a Brands story in that we can
contribute to it, adapt it and pass it along. Today Facebook is the
largest distributor of not just peoples stories but professional
content driving more traffic to global content owners all around the
world. Increasingly, our Brand Stories are both influenced by and
distributed by people across social platforms. More and more
brands integrate consumer responses such as tweets into our
marketing materials.

API
Finally, APIs (Application Protocol Interfaces) allow for continuous
access to relevant data within our stories. Today we can tell a story
about Jazz and link to historic videos on YouTube or poems about
Jazz at Poetry.com and much more. There are layers within layers
within layers in story telling made possible by links and APIs.

| The Future of Creativity | CREATIVITY IN A TECHNOLOGY ENABLED WORLD

12

CONNECTING THE DOTS


The challenge for Brands, Marketers,
Agencies and Media companies is how
to best leverage this new fast moving
or Kinetic creativity in ways that can
scale and be cost effective. How can a
marketing team and its message
become agile? How can they better
leverage the data that comes from
these social and mobile and API
platforms?
The solution is likely a combination of
organizational and process re-design
in a company, new talent and training,
and finally utilization of new tools,
technologies and platforms.
The future of creativity, story telling
and Brand building has been put into
motion.

A data-driven approach to social content: All Things Hair by Razorfish

All of us need to transform ourselves


and the ways we think about creativity,
if we are to truly facilitate the next
generation of story telling.

| The Future of Creativity | CREATIVITY IN A TECHNOLOGY ENABLED WORLD

13

15 DRIVERS TO
ENGAGE CREATIVELY
IN 2015
A collection of views from
our experts in the field.

| The Future of Creativity | 15 DRIVERS TO ENGAGE CREATIVELY IN 2015

14

CAPTURING THE
SPARK

Ideas can come to anyone, anytime


and anywhere, says 19 year creativity
veteran Sachin Karle. What's
important is being prepared to
receive it.

Sachin Karle is Executive Creative Director at MSLGROUP


India, where he heads the creative teams at MSLGROUP
Creative+ and SocialHive. With 19 years of experience in
mainstream and digital advertising, Sachin has worked on
some of the biggest Indian and MNC brands, across a broad
range of categories. His interests lie in photography,
illustration and film making.

Necessity is the mother of invention they say.


And thats so true.
Indias legendary industrialist Ratan Tata was once
travelling in his car on a rainy day. He saw a family
of four riding on a scooter. Seeing this he was
concerned and told his driver to drive carefully and
give way to them as the roads would be slippery.
This triggered an idea in Mr. Tatas mind: I must
make a car which these families can afford, so that
they dont have to ride on a scooter and risk their
lives. And thats how the worlds cheapest car, the
Tata Nano was born.

| The Future of Creativity | 1. CAPTURING THE SPARK

15

In today's fast moving world


where everything is timebound one can't really wait
forever to get an idea. So
certain methods or tools
have been evolved over time
that can help one create the
right context, get into the
right state of mind, and catch
these sparks as often as
possible in an organized way.

Ideas can come to anyone, anytime and anywhere. All you need is to be
completely prepared to receive it. This means:

immersion in the right context

being in the right state of mind

being open to any trigger that may spark the idea


Here, Mr. Tata's natural concern for fellow-beings was the context, and as
a prolific businessman, the constant seeking for newer ideas for his
businesses was the state of mind that he always was in. The situation of a
family of four riding a tiny scooter in heavy rains was the trigger that
sparked off the idea.
No matter what your profession may be, this is a common phenomenon.
These sparks are always around us.
It can be a particular picture, a song, a place, a movie scene or anything
that's part of our everyday life. Triggering the spark is up to an individual's
state of mind at that particular moment and it is contextual. It's
impossible to predict that you'll get an idea in certain time. Getting an
idea is like a happy accident. Because you don't know what you are going
to come up with till that spark actually hits you. And when you get the first
germ of an idea, the joy is indescribable. No matter how big or small the
idea you get, it is always special.
When you are working on brands, whether on the client's side or the
agency's side, clearly defining the problem or opportunity forms the right
context; immersion, brainstorming and other mind hacks get you into a
resourceful state of mind, while insights gleaned out of research, focus
groups and Big Data help you spot the right creative trigger that sparks off
the ideation process. At a brainstorming session, if you've got the correct
insights and are in the right state of mind, then you can crack ideas much
faster, much more effortlessly. The ideas borne out of this methodology
tend to greatly appeal to the end consumer.
So next time don't wait for an idea to strike you. It doesn't matter whether
you are asked to come up with ideas for PR, Advertising, Digital or
experiential. Define your context, get into the right state of mind and
open yourself to all the idea-sparks that are floating around you.

| The Future of Creativity | 1. CAPTURING THE SPARK

16

Spark in action: RB Mavericks Case Challenge


The RB Mavericks Case Challenge, a prospective employee engagement
campaign created by us at MSLGROUP SocialHive India is one such example.

THE CONTEXT:
Reckitt Benckiser wanted bright young MBA students to
join them. Everyone is holding case study competitions,
so how do we stand out? Especially when the youth
preferred other big FMCG companies.How do we get RB
on par with the competition and get students to think of
us as a preferred employer?

THE STATE OF MIND:


The subject for the case study challenge was Durex.
Talking openly about Sex is considered taboo in India.
So how could we use condoms in an interesting manner
without making it look vulgar?

THE INSIGHT:
Youth connects with the people who talk their
language. Check out the integrated campaign that we
created here.

Making of RB Mavericks

| The Future of Creativity | 1. CAPTURING THE SPARK

17

TRAIN YOUR CREATIVITY


MUSCLE
Creativity must be something you
work on each and every day. Oana
Bulexa, managing director of the
most awarded PR agency in
Romania, shares some
training rules.

Oana Bulexa is Managing Director at MSLGROUP The


Practice, in Romania. Over 13 years, she has coordinated
multiple-awarded campaigns for over 50 clients, has been
a juror for creativity competitions (Eurobest, Stevie
Awards, ADC*Ro Awards, Romanian PR Award), and has
been a speaker/trainer on creative thinking. Oana believes
creativity should be the perpetual state of mind of every
communications professional. Tweet her at @OanaBulexa

Creativity is a main ingredient,


not a spice!
Creativity is often considered an extra in
communication. When we (agency, client) want
something special, we say "this time we should do
something creative." Which is both wrong and
restrictive.
Creativity is not an optional spice that you use only
when you want some extra taste. It is a mandatory
that you use all the time, if you want the recipe to
turn into a tasty dish. It means a smart, special, new
perspective on every piece of communication.

| The Future of Creativity | 2. TRAIN YOUR CREATIVITY MUSCLE

18

Of all communication
disciplines, PR probably
needs creativity the most. Its
our daily routine and high
sense of spotting risk at
every corner that makes us
too down-to-earth, too afraid
to take chances.

Creativity doesn't always mean the big idea of the campaign, but also the small
ideas in each and every step of the campaign. Its in how you approach
journalists differently than ever before, how you engage opinion leaders and
consumers in an exceptional way, how you approach a media pitching
differently than before. We mustn't be afraid of small creativity if we want to
reach the big creativity.
Of all communication disciplines, PR probably needs creativity the most. Its
our daily routine and high sense of spotting risk at every corner that makes us
too down-to-earth, too afraid to take chances. But creativity is indeed about
taking chances, not about taking risks! So dont be afraid of creativity!

5 Rules to Train your Creative Muscle


Here are the 5 rules we apply each day at MSLGROUP The Practice, because
each and every day we must train our creativity muscle:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Dont be pleased with the first idea.


Know other cultures, domains, professions.
Research, research, research.
Dont rush into criticizing ideas.
Dont forget to connect creativity with the brand and the audience.

Creativity should lead to results


For many, creativity still means crazy ideas with no other purpose than to
shock. No matter how suited an idea is, if it brings buzz and reactions from the
public, then we should adopt it! Wrong again. We mustnt confuse creative with
sensational. There are so many unfortunate ways to mistake one for another:
Misleading mass media. Lack of connection between a wow-teaser and a
completely disconnected revelation. Using risky pranks as creative gimmicks.
PR stunts/ events with no connection to the brand or the brief objectives.
Wrong endorsement, just to piggy-back on the hot star of the moment.
Everyone knows at least a few examples from above and everyone knows it
doesnt always end well for the brand.
At MSLGROUP The Practice, we believe in Results through Creativity, which
is both our motto and our mantra ever since the agency was founded. This is
what made us the most awarded PR agency in Romania. It is also what makes
us work on creativity each and every single day.

| The Future of Creativity | 2. TRAIN YOUR CREATIVITY MUSCLE

19

Being creative
No matter what your role in your organisation, keep
in mind a few things that will make everything
much easier and more rewarding:

Creativity can be learned and nurtured, it is not


necessarily a gift you are born with.

In order to be creative you must want to be


creative in the first place.

Creativity doesnt come out of the blue, it is


based on keen observations, clever research
and thorough documentation.

A good, creative idea can come from anyone, so


trust people.

But a good, creative idea cannot be spotted by


anybody. For this you need practice and good
communication knowledge.

Never give up on being creative. Its the most


rewarding role you have, its the one that will
always keep you alert and enthusiastic.

Dont throw away ideas, even if they are not


suited for the brief. They can always be worthy
for a future one.

MSLGROUP The Practice's work for Ikea, Gold Corporation


and snack brand Gusto Pufuleti. (see full size images here)

| The Future of Creativity | 2. TRAIN YOUR CREATIVITY MUSCLE

20

CREATION VIA
CONSTRAINT

Creative breakthroughs
are often a byproduct of
limitation. Embrace
your Constraints says
Renee Wilson

Renee Wilson is Chief Client Officer at MSLGROUP and was


also the PR jury president at the Cannes Lions International
Festival of Creativity in 2014. Tweet her at @reneew

Today, common sense might say that having larger


budgets, bigger resources, and increased time, will
enable us to improve our creative excellence.
However, I suggest that creative breakthroughs are
more often a byproduct of constraining these
factors.
There is this romantic notion that an amazingly
powerful idea can simply happen, without
boundaries or rules Paul McCartney tells the
story that one morning he woke up with the melody
to the worlds most recorded song, Yesterday, in
his head he didnt have the lyrics figured out, so
he hummed the tune to the words scrambled egg.
To which John Lennon added at a later point,
yesterday.

| The Future of Creativity | 3. CREATION VIA CONSTRAINT

21

The 1930s brought in the


Great Depression during
which women desired
affordable fashion as fine
clothing but the means to
make clothes such as this
were not as possible. Chanel
said, Thanks to me they
(non-wealthy) can walk
around like millionaires.

When recalling a big creative moment, the story will often be oversimplified
when actually there were many constraints that were overcome. In this case,
Lennon & McCartney were working on a Beatles album, they were under
pressure from the record company to deliver more three-minute hits and they
were on a tight deadline. Too much freedom can be creatively paralyzing,
constraint actually can be liberating, as it was in this case.
This theory that constraints enable creativity, probably will be challenged by
many. The majority may feel the climate of creativity can be crushed by setting
restrictions and limitations. No one wants to be told by a manager or a client
that they cant focus on a particular area as the company/brand team doesnt
like XYZ, or dont focus on this as were not supporting that area of
development, or dont consider putting resource here as our budgets wont
allow that etc. Isnt it tougher, they may argue, to work within all of these
pronounced constraints? After all, that might be the reason why we are not
coming up with the proverbial big idea, right?
Actually, thats probably not right. Studies and history show that the best ideas
are, more often than not, born out of constraints. Limitations can provide
opportunity and inspiration for courage.
Take for example, the great fashion designer Coco Chanel and her creation the
Little Black Dress (LBD). The popularity of the LBD can be attributed to the
limitations of the era at which it was introduced. The 1930s brought in the
Great Depression during which women desired affordable fashion as fine
clothing but the means to make clothes such as this were not as possible.
Chanel said, Thanks to me they (non-wealthy) can walk around like
millionaires. The dress was fashionable, yet comfortable and practical because
it was stripped of all excess. This classic fashion icon was created through fiscal
constraint.
Constraints give us a starting point to work witha problem to solve,
a challenge to overcome, or a client to please. The world is filled with
amazing possibilities derived from limited resources. Consider the fact that
every color in nature comes from just red, yellow and blue. Every pop song,
symphony and jingle starts with just twelve notes. In classic French cooking,
Chef Larousse taught us that the mirepoix is the basis for hundreds of sauces,
soups, stews and stocks and its made up of three simple vegetables: celery,
carrots, and onions. Constraints? Sure, but theyre a starting point for
seemingly endless creativity and possibility.

| The Future of Creativity | 3. CREATION VIA CONSTRAINT

22

Embrace Your Constraints


Here are some simple tips to help you.
1

1. Two Pizza Teams


Take a cue from Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, who
coined the two pizza teams rule: if the number of
people in a brainstorming team cant be fed with two
pizzas, the team is too big. Adding more people is one
of the most common productivity traps that you can
fall into.
2. Simplicity. Simplicity. Simplicity
Get your client brief, that is, what you need to do, down
to a headline. The more simplistic you can make your
ask, the more laser-like your focus will be and your
creative ideation should flourish.
3. Set time constraints
Pressurize the thinking within a time goal. Short bursts
of time constrained activity with fresh stimulus can
often yield better results than hours mulling over the
problem in a windowless meeting room.
4. Find your own personal way to unlock your
individual creativity
Find your creative muse, who gets your creative sparks
flying? For big ideas, personalize the constraints of the
creative process. Give yourself the clarity and freedom
of the tight brief and disciplined process.

1 *BufferSocial blog

| The Future of Creativity | 3. CREATION VIA CONSTRAINT

23

SIX STEPS TO PLANNING


SUCCESS
Planning is crucial to developing
strategy. Ben Koe shares an
overview of MLSGROUP Asias
six-step planning methodology.

Benjamin Koe is Regional Director,


Strategic Insight and Impact, Asia,
based in Singapore. Tweet him at @benkoe

MSLGROUP Asias iQube


methodology is based on our three
guiding principles Insights,
Integration, and Impact. This planning
methodology is developed to help our
offices create real impact in a hyperaccelerated world where change is the
only constant.

| The Future of Creativity | 4. SIX STEPS TO PLANNING SUCCESS

24

MSLGROUP Asia's iQube Planning Framework


| The Future of Creativity | 4. SIX STEPS TO PLANNING SUCCESS

25

INTIMACY OF
INSIGHTS

Intimacy helps build and convey


trust. Get to the intimate insight
to change behavior, recommends
Dominic Payling.

Dominic Payling heads the strategic planning, insight


and measurement team at MSLGROUP UK. He has 20
years of experience in in-house marketing, market
research and agency-side planning, across global
corporate and consumer brands.

I once had a boss who used to lean forwards,


over his third pint and, glancing left and right, and
then over my shoulder say have you heard..? pause
and then say you mustnt tell anyone.well only one
person at a time And then hed let rip with some
scurrilous and treasured nugget of scuttlebutt.
I loved those moments. They connected with me.
One-on-one. All-encompassing. A secret shared.
Often humorous, always intimate. And down the pub
too whats not to like!
It was also a great lesson in communications skills.
Absolute focus, heightened emotion, content that
was worth spreading and with a clear and motivating
call to action tell only one person at a time. But it
was the intimacy of the moment that mattered,
that framed and defined the event.

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26

If Id been sat in the audience of a conference and the same information had been
broadcast to me and my fellow delegates the speaker would have been lucky if Id
even noticed their presentation. Its why PR as a discipline has always been such a
powerful tool of communications building and conveying trust delivered
through the medium of relationships, usually painted in words, not in pictures.

A reduction in uncertainty
helps us to predict the
other's behaviour and
likely actions. This is
crucial to the development
of any relationship, and to
the success of the
communication. We trust
the person first then we buy
their message. We dont
buy the message first then
trust the person.

Intimacy matters in communications for a very good reason. According to the


Uncertainty Reduction Theory (Charles Berger and Richard Calabrese, 1975),
if communications are to be successful then we must understand the other party,
before the communication takes place. Doing this reduces uncertainty.
A reduction in uncertainty helps us to predict the other's behaviour and likely
actions. This is crucial to the development of any relationship, and to the success
of the communication. We trust the person first then we buy their message.
We dont buy the message first then trust the person.
This makes sense. Trust helps land communications. Relationships develop trust.
And understanding helps relationships to flourish. Trust/relationships/
understanding all synonymous with intimacy.
Berger and Calabrese phased these interactions. Each phase acted as a bridge
into greater intimacy. As personal disclosure increases with an exploration of one
another's attitudes and beliefs then so does emotional involvement and a
degree of intimacy can flourish.
It is why online daters have to follow such powerful uncertainty reduction
strategies if they are to be successful. In the case of more short-term encounter
based services think Grindr and Tinder you need an even more extreme
uncertainty reduction strategy. Often super intimate, to help elicit the desired
response. Intimacy begets intimacy if you like.
The big question for communications agencies such as ourselves is how do we
best get to the intimate insights that will change behaviour?
With the recent advances in behavioural science that have begun to see off the
1
rational decision-making of Homo Economicus there is a way forward. As an
industry we must be less reliant on self-reported, increasingly commoditised
omnibus sources of statistical ambiguity and more reliant on close-hand,
ethnographic approaches that reveal true natural behaviours and influences.
As I said before, intimacy begets intimacy. And then behaviour change.

For more on Homo Economicus see Wikipedia and Google News

| The Future of Creativity | 5. INTIMACY OF INSIGHTS

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CUSTODIANS OF
COLLABORATION

Collaboration with audiences can


lead to stronger messages, proud
influencers and better creativity,
shares Kim Piquet.

Kim Piquet is Executive Strategic Planner at MSLGROUP


Italy. A terrible soccer player, his dad once advised him to
"Get a ball and practice free kicks at a wall every day."
Creativity is his ball. Tweet him at @kimpk

Collaboration is everywhere
Jeremy Rifkin, one of the most respected economists
of today, has just predicted the end of capitalism as
we know it within the next 50 years. It will evolve into
a new sharing economy.
We share rides with strangers we just met online,
co-fund projects we are excited about, sleep on
foreign couches for free to have a more local
experience and share open work spaces with fellow
freelancers.
On our business side, there is a boom of online
crowdsourcing platforms that we at MSLGROUP Italy
use to supply content to some of our clients events,
with great success.

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Its a new way to do things. And it impacts every aspect of our society.
Including the way we work.

Lets do a quick exercise:


think of the last time you
executed an idea for a client
that was 100% yours.
Chances are, you cant
remember. Ideas, at least the
really good and strong ones,
are the fruits of brainstorms
and collective insights.

Lets do a quick exercise: think of the last time you executed an idea
for a client that was 100% yours. Chances are, you cant remember.
Ideas, at least the really good and strong ones, are the fruits of
brainstorms and collective insights.
But internal brainstorms are not enough anymore, because more and
more often, these ideas are subject to external interpretation. In
reality people have always interpreted ideas and formulated their own
opinion about it, but with the exponential growth of social media,
these opinions are now posted and discussed online and influence
varying degrees of positive and negative outcomes.

Co-creating the brands messaging


So how can we make sure our ideas are correctly communicated?
Before, the answer was to work with influencers to ensure our
message would hit the right target and generate the least amount of
negative scenarios possible.
Within this new collaborative scenario, its all about bringing to the
fold people that share a common ground with the brand and can
participate and share their input on the elaboration and
communication of the brands ideas. Think of them as partners of the
brands ideas, influencers that collaborate to create and produce the
messages that they will then help spread.
Here at MSLGROUP Italy, weve already started implementing this
philosophy.

| The Future of Creativity | 6. CUSTODIANS OF COLLABORATION

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Take as an example our work for Chicco, an Italian baby


care brand that promotes happiness and strong bonds
with their target: Mums. To better amplify their
messages of happiness and early child development we
identified an active mummy blogger network and
partnered with them to better understand their
behaviour; crowdsourcing, in a way, ideas that would
later be used by our client and proudly amplified by the
same mums we collaborated with.
The results were great. Influencers were happy to be
listened to, and proud to communicate the brands
messages, because they felt they were an active part of
Chiccos planning and communication process. For the
brand, this approach ensured less communicationnoise, longer-living messages and stronger bonds with
the target.
In the near future, our plan is to start collaborating more
with our key influencers. After all, we are all creative
beings and we can all help create a better future for
creativity.

Workshop at a Chicco store with celebrity guest Francesca Valla


and a group of mum bloggers.
| The Future of Creativity | 6. CUSTODIANS OF COLLABORATION

30

RELEVANCE IS OF
THE ESSENCE

Break through the clutter


with stories that matter.
Nidhi Makhija-Chimnani is Director of Research and
Insights at MSLGROUP, based in Dubai. She tracks digital
consumer trends for Peoples Insights and is community
manager of MSLGROUPs insights community SPRINT.
Tweet her at @nidhimakhija

In todays digital world, people often find that theyre


awfully busy. Busy making overwhelming to-do lists
on their latest productivity app. Busy trying to get
their inbox down to zero. Busy checking all those
notifications on WhatsApp, Facebook, LinkedIn,
Twitter, Instagram, reading the news at NYTimes
and The Guardian phew!
Whats a brand got to do to stand out amongst the
constant flood of chats, news, pop gossip and
advertising in todays cluttered content-driven world?
Spamming timelines is obviously not the answer.
Neither is holding back cold turkey from social media.
How about building relevance by telling stories that
are meaningful. Stories that matter.

Photo Credit: Twin Design / Shutterstock.com

| The Future of Creativity | 7. RELEVANCE IS OF THE ESSENCE

31

1. Stick to your Values both those of your


brands and of your audiences

Its far more meaningful to


link communications back to
an aspect of the brand the
promise, programs, stories
about its people or values
that the brand shares with its
audience. Less frequent and
more thoughtful
communications can help
your brand stand out.

Brand values can be easy to forget in the age of social media,


where a constant churn of content used to be the main objective.
Take for example posts from brands simply wishing people
happy holidays (from Diwali, Eid, Christmas to Independence
Day, Childrens Day etc etc). These posts get likes sometimes
more than average which makes them oh so tempting. But
whats the impact? How does it tie back to the brand and
contribute to a stronger affinity, association or recall?
Its far more meaningful to link communications back to an
aspect of the brand the promise, programs, stories about its
people or values that the brand shares with its audience. Less
frequent and more thoughtful communications can help your
brand stand out. At the least, it can help prevent social media
gaffes that are increasingly common as some brands race
blindly to use the latest trending hashtags.

2. Prepare for Real-Time engagement


When done right, real-time engagement impresses people
because of the amount of thought that has gone into it and the
sheer speed of turning around a branded message. Indeed, it
does take a lot of time, effort, planning and process to produce
such content: scanning calendars of cultural events, identifying
ones relevant to your brand, preparing content strategies for
multiple outcomes, and building a process to get quick
approvals.
Essentially, its about building modern newsrooms for your
brand, and reaping the benefits (buzz, reach, engagement)
if your content hits the right spot.

| The Future of Creativity | 7. RELEVANCE IS OF THE ESSENCE

32

3. Join the Social Conversation


At the other end of the planned real-time
spectrum is spontaneity: being tuned in to
social conversations about your brand, and
responding when required. Its not just about
managing crisis, its also about spotting
cultural trends which your brand should be a
part of.
A good example would be napkin brand
Bountys quick move to partner with daddyblogger Napkin Notes Dad to help raise
funds for his cause (#Napkins4Emma).
Napkins and family-values are core to the
brand, and the audience of parent-bloggers
couldnt be more spot on.

4. Tie in Location
As location-based services improve and
proliferate, location-based engagement is a
growing area where brands can engage
creatively.
People are constantly connected on multiple
devices laptops, mobile phones, wearable
tech, smart home appliances and so on.
Brands that can identify the right moment
and place to target people with the right
message, create opportunities to win. Asics
recent We are Marathoners campaign is a
brilliant example. A sponsor of the NYC
Marathon, Asics used 3D printing to create

personalized mini-statues for


500 participants, on a first come
first serve basis. Asics also
provided them with locationtracking RFID chips and asked
for permission to post photos to
their Facebook profiles. Behindthe-scenes, Asics photographed
each of the statues at three
points along the course. Then on
race day, Asics posted these
photos on their Facebook
profiles in real-time, when the
marathoners passed the actual
locations.
Now thats relevance on all four
counts: connecting the brand
with audience values, at the
right time and location, and
kickstarting social conversations!
Relevance doesnt have to be
that complicated of course. But it
does demand that we be a lot
more thoughtful.

minimarathoner.com
| The Future of Creativity | 7. RELEVANCE IS OF THE ESSENCE

33

HAVE THE SMARTS


FOR IT
Smartness is dynamic. Smart ideas
come from minds that recognize
change and accept it, writes digital
expert Narendra Nag.

Narendra Nag leads Digital and Social for


MSLGROUP Asia and is based in India. Tweet him
at @narendranag

What Makes An Idea Smart?


Eureka! As Archimedes ran naked through the
streets of Syracuse in Ancient Greece, he was
driven by a moment of illumination. Getting into
a bathtub, he had figured out how to measure
the volume of funnily shaped objects.
He celebrated because he had connected the
dots to arrive at a deeper, more meaningful,
understanding of the universe.
A smart idea isnt just witty, or funny, or
emotionally touching, or surprising a smart
idea is special. And behind every smart idea is a
tale of a messy journey with an epic hero whos
willing to challenge convention and upend
notions of how things are and how they will be.

| The Future of Creativity | 8. HAVE THE SMARTS FOR IT

34

The right question often


challenges things that we took
for granted when we turned in for
the night.
The smart idea emerges when we
find an insight. A non-obvious
truth that helps us make sense
of this new world that we find
ourselves in. At its very best, it
feels like suddenly finding a
glowing path when lost in a haze
of uncertainty and broken
assumptions.

In a recent essay, Paul Graham the storied


investor and founder of Y Combinator, perhaps the
worlds best startup incubator (think Dropbox,
Airbnb, Stripe, Reddit) talks about how to spot a
good startup. He says, Most really good startup
ideas look like bad ideas at first, and many of those
look bad specifically because some change in the
world just switched them from bad to good.
As professional communicators, we live at the
crossroads of culture, technology and commerce.
All three seem to be changing faster than any of us
can keep up with. Predicting this change is best
left to academics who can afford to get it wrong
and pass it off as a learning experience.

A smart idea doesnt need an expert. It isnt the


province of either youth or experience. But it does
need a special kind of person a smart person.
A smart idea is born in a mind that consciously
believes the world changes overnight, every
night. This can be an emotionally taxing state for
the sort of people who look for stability and
certainty in their lives. In our business, a smart
person embraces uncertainty and rides chaos,
without getting too excited about the whole thing.
A smart idea does need a starting point. It can be a
brief, but more often than not it begins when a
brief is deconstructed and we find the right
question. Asking that question gifts us fresh eyes.

Walking that path is exciting.


Smart idea starts to take form,
and the creative juices start to
flow. Art, code and copy come
together and the hard,
unforgiving lines between the
three start to blur. The dots
connect themselves, and then
the audience joins this journey,
helping us complete it as you
respond.
And we are left slightly different
from when we started our
brains rewired, our worldview
shifted, our lives richer and more
meaningful.
And when night falls, and we go
to sleep, we know we will wake to
a changed world.

| The Future of Creativity | 8. HAVE THE SMARTS FOR IT

35

PURPOSE+PEOPLE
FOR PERFORMANCE
Purpose and Creativity share a
mutually beneficial relationship,
our sustainability expert Penny
Baxter reveals.

Penny Baxter is Managing Director at Salterbaxter


MSLGROUP and is based in London. Shes an expert on
sustainability and a former creative director.
Tweet her at @pennybaxter

We think purpose matters full stop - to creativity, to


ideas, to being authentic and delivering the right kind
of progress. What does it really mean? It means
having a reason for being here beyond making and
selling more stuff having a positive role in the world
while contributing to sustainable economic and social
development. In the context of a brand, its the most
valuable strand of DNA to decode, for with it comes
relevance, trust and longevity.
So when it comes to purpose and creativity, we have
the perfect storm a force for good supported by a
force for change. For thats what creative thinking can
deliver new ideas and solutions to questions that
werent even asked. Place that powerful force around
businesses and brands that are willing to step up and

| The Future of Creativity | 9. PURPOSE+PEOPLE FOR PERFORMANCE

36

change the way we live, think and work, and we may just make it to the
year 3000.

Creativity with purpose also


opens up new ways of
working the
democratization of ideas and
IP through co-creation and
open source thinking is a
revolution. When these
methods are adopted by
brands, their role and impact
is transformed.

Focusing creative minds on solving problems of real substance brings


a risk-taking dimension to the solution. Stepping into the creative
realm of the improbable and impossible, we can define new business
models, find progressive ways of creating and consuming, and
connect businesses, brands and consumers to change.
Creativity with purpose also opens up new ways of working the
democratization of ideas and IP through co-creation and open
source thinking is a revolution. When these methods are adopted by
brands, their role and impact is transformed. Brands like Nike and
SONY have embraced this approach and discovered new ideas for
themselves as well as unlocked progress for others. And its wellknown that BMWs breakthrough technology came from their
incubator unit that was given a creative vacuum outside of the
constraints of the core business, with the purpose of redesigning the
future of mobility. Efficient Dynamics was born and has already
delivered 30% emission reduction in five years.

A Force for Good


An interesting thing to consider is how to harness the collective force
of designers and creatives who are amongst the most untamed and
unmanaged group of professionals in the world. We dont collectively
answer to an ethical code or submit to rules of creative engagement.
How much more impact could we make if we organized around a
common goal of challenging all businesses and brands to act with
integrity and find advantage in a positive purpose? Would it tame the
very spirit of the creative beast, or would it make us even more
powerful? Can creativity save the world? At Salterbaxter MSLGROUP
we certainly think so.

| The Future of Creativity | 9. PURPOSE+PEOPLE FOR PERFORMANCE

37

Authenticity is Key

Launching Legos new values,


focused on social purpose

PVH:Having a positive impact across the


entire value chain

But with purpose and creativity comes the


need for authenticity. Brands cannot hide
from the always-on connected world, and
cannot afford to misjudge where they
have permission to tread or overstate their
motives. We expect responsibility and
credibility from brands and will punish
those who don't deliver on their promises.
Our Creative Director, Nina Pickup, sums
up the role of purpose in creativity with
the following:
Our role as purpose-led creatives is to
magnify the good and turn a starting intent
into an organising philosophy always
daring to think big and make business
better. Id sum this up by approaching every
creative challenge with the following:
Make it sustainable and desirable
Be authentic

Coca-Cola Enterprises leading sustainability programme inspiring employees,


partners and consumers to create a sustainable future
| The Future of Creativity | 9. PURPOSE+PEOPLE FOR PERFORMANCE

38

10

FOR MOBILE,
BY MOBILE

The intersection of form factor


and mobile user experience opens
new avenues for creativity, notes
mobile expert Alice Hu.

Alice Hu is Deputy Asia Digital Lead at MSLGROUP Asia,


based in Shanghai. She has authored several
notable pieces on mobile trends, including
The Rise of Asias Mobile Messengers.
Tweet her at @alicehu

What it means to be creative


in a mobile-first world
Working in Asia, the worlds most mobile-savvy
region, one cant ignore the importance of mobile.
At a global level, mobile usage is also rising. Mobile
phones have nearly as many users as televisions. Its
only natural then that mobile should have a large
influence on creativity.
Mobile, like social media and digital, is a term that is
broad and often interpreted and used in different
ways. For brands, what matters is that mobile is the
primary medium on which most of your audiences
will be viewing the content youve spent countless
hours creating and revising on a computer. And
therein lies the problem.

Photo Credit: Lewis Tse Pui Lung / Shutterstock.com

| The Future of Creativity | 10. FOR MOBILE, BY MOBILE

39

From the start, our creative ideas, strategy, stories and content are
being formulated through the PC medium for a mobile viewership.

Instead of resizing PC
content for mobile,
we must start to explore
creativity within the mobile
space to truly create better
content.
We must think about the user
experience on a smartphone
or another mobile device.

Instead of resizing PC content for mobile,


we must start to explore creativity within the mobile space to truly
create better content.
We must think about the user experience on a smartphone or another
mobile device.
Consider the mobile versions of webpages, and social networking
apps all are different with their own user experience (UX). For
instance, Ikea can highlight its new spring 2015 catalog products on
Facebook, Weibo, WeChat and Instagram in the same way: posting a
photo with relevant text. But each specific platform has its own
unique features and UX; thats where things can get interesting
and creativity can take off. So, on Weibo you can separate one visual
into nine to fit the platforms 3x3 photo upload rule, to create an
interesting photo-collage-style Weibo post. You can even go one step
further, and add a GIF element to each of the nine photos.
Creative opportunities expand when content strategies move
beyond adjusting to the mobile form-factor and are tailored
for specific mobile webpages or apps.

| The Future of Creativity | 10. FOR MOBILE, BY MOBILE

40

A real-world example: Earlier


this year, Ikea in Russia used
Instagram to create a digital
catalog for its PS 2014 collection.
The PS 2014 account on
Instagram published a nine-part
advertisement, with each image
featuring a product, each with its
own individual Instagram account.
Users were also able to tag
products, using Instagrams
tagging feature, to showcase how
they placed the products in their
own homes.

Ikeas PS 2014 catalog on Instagram, and a glimpse of one of the nine tiles.

To explore new creative


possibilities, you must first
understand the medium.
For mobile, this means
understanding the mobile touch
point (whether its a mobile
webpage, Snapchat or something
else) and then figuring out how
that information is presented in
that ecosystem. The result is a
novel, exciting mobile experience
instead of a frustrating or dull one.

| The Future of Creativity | 10. FOR MOBILE, BY MOBILE

41

11

FUEL FOR IDEAS


Curiosity and courage are key to
great thinking, says our creative
expert Ben Therrien.
Ben Therrien is Vice President of Creative
Programming at MSLGROUP North America.

Idea Fuel - Curiosity + Courage


The big idea is dead. Feel free to take a moment
and rejoice, as youll never have to sit down in front
of a blank screen, fresh piece of paper or poorly
attended brainstorm hunting for the elusive big
idea again.
Hyperbole aside, the days of being limited to
creating programs centered on big splashy events
or stunts, which lived solely to drive earned media
are long gone.
Today our avenues for sharing our clients message
have expanded dramatically (social platforms,
content marketing, influencers etc.) creating a world
where earned media is extremely important, but not
our only measure of success.

| The Future of Creativity | 11. FUEL FOR IDEAS

42

Instead of big ideas, Id like to propose that we should be in search of


greatness. The good news for you and everyone else in our industry is
that greatness comes in many many forms.

As a creative, I often hear


that good ideas come from
creative people, but thats
just not true. I believe that
great thinking comes from
two places curiosity and
courage.

But where does it start? Where does greatness come from? As a


creative, I often hear that good ideas come from creative people, but
thats just not true. I believe that great thinking comes from two
places curiosity and courage.

Curiosity
Albert Einstein said, I have no special talents. Im only passionately
curious.
While he may have been downplaying his abilities ever so slightly,
hes completely correct in that those abilities would have
generated nothing without an insatiable curiosity.
Curiosity causes us to question the brief, question the consumer
segment, and question everything we know about a project or
problem until we believe it, because its only when we have fully
bought in that greatness can begin.

Courage
Courage is a simple trait, but it takes work. Courage is the difficult
path. Courage is late hours and uncomfortable conversations.
Without courage, great thinking is just thata thought. It is
courage that puts the approach on paper, courage that brings it
before the client with passion and confidence, and courage that
brings it to life in all of its fantastic glory. We could all stand to be a
bit more courageous.

| The Future of Creativity | 11. FUEL FOR IDEAS

43

Greatness
As I said, great thinking can be brought to life in an
infinite number of forms.
With technology and consumer consumption habits
changing, so are our abilities and options to bring great
thinking to life. From content to influencers to
emerging social platforms, where we plant the seed of
our great idea is just as important as the idea itself.
As the lines between marketing disciplines blur, were
amazingly well positioned to take our inherent
understanding of earned message delivery, specifically
the ability to craft a story that people will want to hear
versus be forced to hear, and use that to develop
vibrant work thats as interesting as it is entertaining.
Greatness is waiting for us.
Its out there in the ether ready to be harnessed and
brought to life. All we need is a little curiosity and a
dash of courage

| The Future of Creativity | 11. FUEL FOR IDEAS

44

12

RIDING THE FLOW


OF FLUIDITY

Agencies must evolve, become more


fluid, to deliver on whole ideas,
writes Surya.
Suryasen Kundu is Digital Planning Director at
MSLGROUP India. Hes also the 2014 winner of
MSLGROUPs Michael Sullivan Creative Leadership Award
and shares learnings from his experience at Cannes and the
Berlin School of Creativity. Tweet him at @suryasenk

Never bring a Knife to a Gun Fight


Gone are the days of when one great idea and a
compelling script with a celebrity in a 30 second TV
spot was enough to get attention to your brand. Today,
brands need to think of the idea ecosystem or the
whole idea: how does it live across channels, devices,
location and geographies? How does it involve people
and react to them?
To deliver on the whole idea, agencies have to wear
multiple hats. Rather than reinvent, lets look at
whats working best across the field.

Identify value streams in a shifting


consumer journey.
The concept of value streams is not new in the
world of consulting. Take the consumer journey
and map out all the catchment areas through
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45

which the consumer could feel a sense of fulfillment. How do you


give the consumer an excuse to keep coming back to you, wanting
more?

As the consumer journey has


changed, and especially
since we program for a world
that is mobile-first, there are
two additional competencies
that have a role to play:
technology: driving
interaction, and data:
unearthing insights.

As the consumer journey has changed, and especially since we


program for a world that is mobile-first, there are two additional
competencies that have a role to play: technology: driving interaction,
and data: unearthing insights.

Act like a start-up: Innovate. Iterate


Consulting and technology companies contribute different skill sets
to the next gen agencys genome. Think about the innovation in
measurement and data. Proxy metrics like TRP rating of TV
programming is OUT length of most watched videos on YouTube
channel is IN. Primetime is OUT. Videos on-demand, on tablets and
mobile, are IN. Brands are increasingly demanding new kinds of
insights about their connected prospects and customers. And theyre
looking to us to identify new areas in which they can help provide
value to consumers.
Learn from tech startups, who are leading the change. Be lean and
fast moving. Fail fast. Be agile. Iterate. Responsiveness is key.

Plot the premise, but dont stop there.


Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because
of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.
Thats the plot for almost every Pixar blockbuster. Thats the plot that
every brand wants to crack. Dana Anderson, SVP MarComms, Kraft
Foods NA, contends that the core challenge is that brands are very
clear about their plot but they fail to provide premise to an engaging
story.
Thats where agencies come in. Contextualize the story and then go
further.
The big idea is no longer the lynchpin of a successful marketing
program. Instead, its the big integration. The telling of the story
must involve the audiences. By being provocative and evocative, the
brand must ensure that the idea thrives and takes a life of its own
among people.

| The Future of Creativity | 12. RIDING THE FLOW OF FLUIDITY

46

From Big idea to Whole idea


Make the idea Whole give consumers and prospects the opportunity to become part of your brand story.
For example, 7/11 is selling coffee in democrats and republican coffee cups? Put up a massive interactive signboard on Times Square with a live
count of coffee cups sold on Election Day for each party! Throw in drones and augmented reality into the mix in a meaningful, experiential way to
boot. This possibility for interaction transforms the big idea to the whole idea.
Stories that are rooted in insights, contextualized and delivered through an interactive experience allows for a strong, positive customer
experience. The trick lies in breaking the silos in our thinking and in our doing.

Sony Alpha Community


A community for photographers developed by
MSLGROUP SocialHive India
Alpha Community was conceived with a very specific
insight. Sony was innovating its Alpha line of cameras at an
incredible pace, but most people were unaware of the
cameras and the kind of photos that could be taken with
them. Sure, there were glossy brochures with
professionally taken photographs in a foreign land, but
was that truly how it would seem if I started using one?
Taking the workshops and tutorials online was a no brainer.
Beyond that, we wanted every photograph to become a
shareable asset a place where people could see photos
from real photographers using Sonys range of cameras.
The incentive for photographers to upload photos? A place
to share their work and get feedback from experts.

Explore the Sony Alpha Community at


alphacommunity.sony.co.in/stories
| The Future of Creativity | 12. RIDING THE FLOW OF FLUIDITY

47

13

IS IT WORTH A
TWEET?

Its all about creating stories that


people want to share, says content
expert Patricia Albuquerque.
Patrcia Albuquerque is a partner and content director at
MSLGROUP Espalhe in Sao Paulo, where she oversees
content production and digital/social presences for brands
like Trident, Halls, Cargill's Pomarola, Mexico's Tourism
Council and Ambev - part of ABInbev. A journalist for over
20 years, she has worked in some of the most important
newsrooms in Brazil. Tweet her at @patialbuc

Sharing the currency of the


internet
Since the changes in Facebooks algorithm started
to challenge branded contents organic reach, we
can see that the platform has become a media
outlet on which results are very dependent on the
amount of money available to promote posts. In
fact, more than ever, strategy needs to combine
earned, owned and paid media efforts though, in
the context of share-ability, its worth remembering
that paid media will deliver your content to more
people, while not necessarily make them click,
comment or share. So, what can guarantee that? In
one word? Nothing.

| The Future of Creativity | 13. IS IT WORTH A TWEET?

48

In a conversation between
two people, what guarantees
that one will understand
exactly what the other said
and more importantly,
respond in the way in which
the other wants them to?
Theres no 100% certainty.

Forget digital and think about our offline lives for a moment: in a
conversation between two people, what guarantees that one will
understand exactly what the other said and more importantly,
respond in the way in which the other wants them to? Theres no 100%
certainty. If it doesnt occur in a personal interaction, face-to-face, how
can we expect it to be true through a computer or smartphone screen?
To increase the chances of success, we can work on a combination of
passion and process.
There are different ways to achieve this. Through monitoring and
learning, we understand that its not about creating an idea and then
working on a strategy to spread it. Its about developing concepts that
have in and of themselves the potential to be shared.
Lets read the classics: the MacBook air launch, for example. If the
story was about technological features and beautiful design, it wouldnt
have had half the appeal. In fact, the gadget was deprived of its hard
drive what may seem obvious today, but probably wasnt during its
development in order to make it the worlds thinnest notebook. It was
not a product, it was a headline. PR intelligence was evident from the
beginning. Apple relied on uniqueness, boldness and creativity as the
subjects of conversation instead of relying on forgettable press
releases, tactic activations and paid media waves.

Creating stories that are share-worthy


We wont always have big projects in our hands, but the question is
equally relevant, to both million-dollar campaigns and social media
posts: Would I tweet about it? Would I pass it forward? If we think
specifically about timelines, some items stand out. Yes, identifying is
easier than applying them. Execution will ask for commitment, attention
and rituals.

| The Future of Creativity | 13. IS IT WORTH A TWEET?

49

Once the story is defined, its time to understand where


and in which formats its going to be developed. How each
social network is related (or not) to the brands goals? Is it
really necessarily and feasible to establish a relevant
presence in this platform at the moment? The landscape
is fragmented and complex, but this is an opportunity,
not a problem. Its an opportunity to customize messages
and, by doing that, increase relevance. Humor, a business
model that helps to achieve consistency, agility and timing
are also part of the equation, as we know.
Honoring the end of social network Orkut:
Fim do Orkut by Halls XS/MSLGROUP Espalhe

Even when designing content to be shared, the goal


remains the same: win peoples preference. Interruptions
are not the way to get there anymore. The brand
message will always be present, but, to leverage
conversation, its important to understand that we need to
focus less on what we want to say and more on what
people want to hear. How can we identify this? Well, a
good option is to start listening.
In the end, the question goes beyond just being shareworthy there are more than enough cats and babies out
there. Rather, its about transforming brands into subjects
of conversation. So, make the conversation part of a story
you would like to hear or would be proud to tell.

Building buzz around the World Cup 2014 ball:


brazuca babies by adidas/MSLGROUP Espalhe

| The Future of Creativity | 13. IS IT WORTH A TWEET?

50

14

ORGANISING FOR
REAL-TIME

People have come to expect instant


creativity from brands. But theres nothing
instant about real-time, DigitasLBis
Jean-Philippe Martzel reveals.

Jean-Philippe Martzel is Deputy General


Manager and Head of Strategic Planning,
DigitasLBi France. Tweet him at @jpmartzel

Welcome to the age of RealTime Brands.


Tide and Oreo are well-known as real-time
communication precursors. This live brand
behavior was far from being a trial run. Both
brands had already taken steps with the
intention of interacting with current events.

| The Future of Creativity | 14. ORGANISING FOR REAL-TIME

51

Tide had been publicly recognized several


months earlier following a minor accident
during the NASCAR motor race, when
television images revealed that after the
accident, the petrol spilt over the track was
cleaned up with Tide washing powder. A case of
involuntary product placement which triggered
a flurry of activity on social networks to Tides
benefit; then quickly utilized by the brand in
the form of a promotional film with the simple
tagline: You keep inventing stains, well keep
inventing ways to get them out.

Oreo's famous real-time tweet

Everybody knows Oreos Daily Twist: a 100day campaign celebrating its 100th birthday.
Each day, the brand produced a message
echoing current events and broadcast it on
social networks. A fine display of real-time
communication which resulted in a 110%
increase in conversations between the brand
and its fans over social networks.

Tide - Nascar
| The Future of Creativity | 14. ORGANISING FOR REAL-TIME

52

These actions correspond to the main reasons


that people follow brands on social networks.
Not for promotions, discounts and other
freebies, but for fun and entertainment
(reason cited by 87% of Twitter users in a study
conducted by Twitter) and for access to
exclusive content (79%).
This close link between content and social
networks proves that content is what keeps
the relationship between a brand and its
audience on social networks going. Brand
content and social networks should
therefore no longer be seen as two distinct
fields; but as being complementary to one
another.

Oreo's Daily Twist


| The Future of Creativity | 14. ORGANISING FOR REAL-TIME

53

Organising for Real-Time


But this approach integrating content and social
networks entails a prerequisite: organizing the
conditions for having a permanent ear on the
social network activity of a brands audience in
order to identify the topics and content which
people are already talking about.
In fact, listening processes which were until
now reserved for crisis communication
are on the way to becoming essential
communication techniques for brands on
social networks. No longer to respond to a
crisis, but in order to pounce on a topic which
could enhance conversation with its audience.

Heres an example of BrandLive,


DigitasLBis real-time marketing service, for Nissan.

Social networks have greatly advanced the


notion of immediacy and have thereby equally
reduced the timeframe within which we have to
react to events. Brand communication is subject
to the same acceleration, as success is
determined by the freshness and relevance of
the response provided.
Tide is among the brands which have
implemented listening and reaction processes
on social networks through news rooms. The
aim is to identify the topic which could be
snapped up by the brand with an eye to reacting
in the form of content. For the first time,
listening, design, content production and the
validation process by a brand are united in time
and place.

| The Future of Creativity | 14. ORGANISING FOR REAL-TIME

54

Dominos Pizza may not have a newsroom, but it


does have the full human commitment of its
social network director, Ramon De Leon, who
treats social networks as one could say Bourdieu
treated sociology: like a combat sport.
Ramon De Leon spends his time in the field, at
universities, neighborhood events, etc., in contact
with Dominos Pizza customers. Decked out with
smartphones, spare batteries and external hard
drives, he produces content and broadcasts it live
on the brands social networks. Describing
himself as the face behind the logo, De Leon
reacts immediately to any conversation. Recently,
during the New York marathon, Dominos Pizza
stationed itself on the edge of the course in order
to supply one runner, who had tweeted one hour
earlier to say that their earphones were broken,
with a pair of earphones Sometime before,
Ramon De Leon accompanied Dominos Pizza
delivery people on the streets of Chicago during a
snowstorm which immobilized the entire city.

Ramon de Leon shares his experience at LeWeb Paris

This shift to real-time communication changes a


number of things. The way in which brands
communicate, of course, but also the way in
which brands work with their PR agency. Finally,
and above all, the organization of the validation
process within the brand is examined in order to
allow educated, real-time decision making. This
requires both close proximity and a high degree
of maturity all round. This kind of approach will
be the result of a thorough and well-thought-out
work process.
In short, improvisation will be real-time brands
worst enemy.

(image credit: Ramon de Leon)

| The Future of Creativity | 14. ORGANISING FOR REAL-TIME

55

15

MEASUREMENT IS
YOUR BEST ALLY

Dont be afraid of measuring the impact of


your creative work. Use the right metrics
and win, says Allan Dib.

Allan Dib is SVP Planning and Analytics at MSLGROUP


North America, where he works with clients to understand
objectives and develop measurement plans. He has spent
20 years working in marketing effectives roles within
market research companies and media buying agencies.
Tweet him at @diballan

I have always been fascinated by the look on


peoples faces when I mention a measurement plan
in a communications agency. Is that fear I see? It
makes me reflect on times in my life when I have
feared measurement getting on the scale to weigh
myself after Christmas my history exam results in
my 2nd year of high school when I didnt study for the
test. I did not so much fear the measuring part itself
but more the results part of measurement.

Why do we fear measurement at


communications agencies?
Lack of clear measurable objectives. I dont believe
agency folks fear measurement because they think
their work isnt good, but there is this fear they are
going to fail.

| The Future of Creativity | 15. MEASUREMENT IS YOUR BEST ALLY

56

I think this fear of failure is either due to the lack of clarity in what they are
being measured against, or that the objectives change between the
briefing and the time they are measured.

We need to work closer with


our clients to clearly
understand the objectives
and make sure that we
understand what we are
being measured against,
before we start working on a
client project.

How many times have we heard the client ask for something (e.g. a fun
video that will generate some buzz about our brand) only to measure us
against something completely different (e.g. increase in sales)?
We need to work closer with our clients to clearly understand the objectives
and make sure that we understand what we are being measured against,
before we start working on a client project.

How do we take fear out of the measurement process?


Make sure the creative idea is born out of an insight. The definition we
use for insight is a fundamental truth about our target that we can
leverage to drive growth. More often than not, practically speaking, the
idea isnt born out of the insight. Instead, the insight is used to validate
the creative idea.
Use research early and use it for the right reason. Research has often
been used by clients to evaluate creativity (think go/no go) but I have
always said this is a waste of time and money. Research should be used
in the process early enough as a diagnostic tool, i.e. to improve an idea.

Why should we embrace measurement and not fear it?


We should change our perspective on measurement from fear to
excitement. If we do not measure our work, how will we know if we have
done a good job? I recently completed a marketing effectiveness project
for a client and they were more than happy when they saw the results.
Proving our effectiveness can drive greater budget. If we can prove the
effectiveness of our work, this will lead to increased confidence from
clients who will invest more than they have in the past. This is imperative
when trying to grow traditional PR budgets from other departments in
marketing (that have been proving effectiveness for years!). I first saw this
happen when we were able to provide a dollar value to a client for a
Facebook like.

| The Future of Creativity | 15. MEASUREMENT IS YOUR BEST ALLY

57

Did the target


see/ hear the
tactics?

Did it change
how they feel/
think about us?

Efficiency

Effectiveness

Exposure

Engagement

Impressions

Traffic sources

Eyeballs

Click through

Coverage

Opens

Attitudinal Changes
Awareness
Consideration
Purchase Intent

Downloads

Perception Changes
Reputation

Call center calls

New business proposals

Did it achieve
the desired
objective?

Outcome
Behavior
Sales
Share price
Reputation

What metrics should we use to


measure our work?
The metrics that address the objectives. Every
measurement plan is tailored to the objectives
that we have agreed to with the client. Every
measurement plan should address three parts.
Measurement should not be something we run
away from. It should be something we run
towards because the right idea and the right
measurement plan can help us achieve our
clients business objectives, win us awards and
win us more clients. Win! Win! Win!

Sales calls

| The Future of Creativity | 15. MEASUREMENT IS YOUR BEST ALLY

58

BONUS! 15 TIPS FOR PR


PROFESSIONALS TO UNLOCK
THE CREATIVITY IN PR

Nidhi Makhija-Chimnani
Director Research & Insights,
MSLGROUP
@nidhimakhija

Creativity in the world of PR is not, by any means,


beyond our reach. In The Future of Creativity, our
experts point to a future where creativity is a natural
evolution of our role as storytellers. We are already
embracing the other challenges that
disintermediation and the digital revolution are
throwing at us. Why not this one?
So how do we unlock this creativity that is inherent to
what we are already doing?
Here are 15 tips, based on the essays featured in this
report and Maurice Lvy's recent lecture at the Berlin
School of Creative Leadership.

Photo Credit: Lewis Tse Pui Lung / Shutterstock.com

Maurice Lvy, Chairman and CEO,


Publicis Groupe at the Berlin School

| The Future of Creativity | BONUS! 15 TIPS FOR PR PROFESSIONALS TO UNLOCK THE CREATIVITY IN PR

59

Be Daring.
1

15 TIPS

Have the courage


to take risks and
dream big.

FOR PR PROFESSIONALS
TO UNLOCK
THE CREATIVITY IN PR

BEBeCURIOUS.
Different.

Keep learning, from your own


industry and other industries; your
inspiration can come from
anywhere. And keep asking
questions about the project at
hand until youve uncovered
enough to fuel your idea.

Be
Human.
3

Great stories need to relate to


people. Preserve the emotional
connect throughout the story.
This is what advertising does
best, and where PR was found
lacking at Cannes.

Push yourself
beyond dull,
beyond ordinary.
Strive for
extraordinary.

be inventive.

If you can't find


solutions, make them.
But remember, you will
need to sell them too.

BE PROUD.

Talk about your


creative work.
Publicize it.

60

7 Be Present.
You cant win if you dont even try. Dont checkmate yourself.

8 Be Open.
Things are changing. Embrace change and new approaches.

9 Be Alert.
Sparks of ideas and trends are all around us. Become bloody
quick at making connections and acting on them.

10 Be Pioneering.
The ideas and approaches you need to come up with probably
havent been done before. Present them anyway.

11 Be Presumptuous.
You dont always have to wait for the brief. Share your ideas
and solutions, even when none were asked for.

12 Be Agile.
Change requires new ways of doing things. Work around the
way things are to get to the way things should be.

13 Be Confident.
Raise your hand, share your thoughts, stand by your idea. If
you believe in yourself, others will too.

14 Be Persistent.
Navigate through the feedback. Learn when to stick to your
original idea and when to shape it along the way.

15 Be Respectful.
We are experimenting with new technology, data and
communications in a diverse connected world. Respect the
people you are engaging with. Make sure it shows.

The one thing this industry needs more than anything else is
good PR about its creative success.
Have we missed out on something? Tell us on Twitter, with the
hashtag #mslcreativity2015 or by mentioning @PeoplesLab

61

Write to us to start a conversation on how we can help


you distill actionable insights and foresights from
conversations and communities:
Pascal Beucler,
SVP & Chief Strategy Officer
(pascal.beucler@mslgroup.com)
Nidhi Makhija-Chimnani
Director - Research & Insights
(nidhi.makhija-chimnani@mslgroup.com)

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