Why bother using a creative agency?
Because time and again it’s been shown that the most creative brands deliver the best business results.
Data from Nielsen that analysed 500 FMCG campaigns in 2016 and 2017 showed that creative was responsible for 47% of sales uplift, ahead of reach (22%), brand (15%) and targeting (9%).
McKinsey’s Award Creativity Score, a measure of the number of Cannes Lions awards won, in what categories, and consistency over time, finds 67% of companies that score in the top quartile have above-average revenue growth. It also shows 70% have above-average total return to shareholders and 74% above-average net enterprise value.
In his book The Case for Creativity, James Hermann found the Cannes Advertiser of the Year from 1999 to 2015 outperformed the S&P 500 Index by a factor of 3.5.
So given all the data that shows the difference creativity can make, why the lack of investment by brands?
Some blame procurement and finance’s growing demand for measurable ad spend, or cite difficult economic conditions making companies more risk-averse. Others point the finger at digital marketing, with its focus on performance and optimisation over creativity. (It’s easier and cheaper to improve SEO than try to come up with a big creative idea.)
Even those who do favour the creative route may insist on trying to measure that creativity – not an easy job with something so subjective as creativity.
A Marketing Week survey of over 400 brand marketers found that 61.8% measure the effectiveness of their creative, with 90.3% of those measuring some form of creative effectiveness preferring post-launch measurement.
Live testing, focus groups and online quantitative surveys are still the most popular approaches, although neuroscience being used increasingly by marketers.
Yet while research can certainly help to refine creative, there’s also the chance that it could have the effect of diluting your original creative idea in some way.
However, you feel about creativity, it’s critical that it is informed by customer insights that can only come from sound marketing data; from qualitative and quantitative research to diagnose and understand just what the creative is achieving.
Without these insights, even the most creative agency is unlikely to develop an effective creative strategy that embodies a brand’s unique mission and values, or create meaningful, lasting connections with customers.