Innovation isn’t about having an “aha” moment or a solo effort, especially for brands with a broad footprint, and it needs to resonate with a wide audience.
Being intentional about creating advertisements, television commercials, billboards, or any brand name plays a vital role in not only extending the brand, but also in informing and motivating existing and potential customers. Creative work for a brand and any brand is a deliberate process for an engaged agency. No one has a spark of inspiration and produces a campaign, platform or design process – many people spend many hours, creating great work that lasts a long time.
For agencies that want to deliver creative thinking and campaigns on behalf of a multinational with many people from different countries (both client and agency), it takes longer and requires more collaboration around different thinking and creative styles.
Even for an agency group like TBWA South Africa, stage and system design for big productions is a unique creative journey: the results of trial and error, missteps and mistakes.
This was especially the case when working on MTN’s recent rebranding. TB
Like MTN’s creative platform, “What are we doing today?” It’s focused on goals, drive and teamwork, so is the process that went into stage design.
He wanted to solve common problems among more than 100 people with different knowledge and perspectives. As a group, TBWA
In the process, it became clear that creative agencies are communities with three capabilities.
Creative hacking is the ability to create a marketplace of ideas through debate and conversation. The aim is to highlight differences, not minimize them. It’s not brainstorming where people usually stop judging other people’s ideas. Often it means putting the most heated debates, and finally, it works to create a portfolio of alternative ideas. But these arguments should always be constructive.
Team members in creative agencies need to ask – they need to actively listen while advocating for their point of view, because innovation will not happen unless there is diversity and conflict.
Creative agility is the ability to test and refine any portfolio of ideas by quickly tracking, testing, and then reflecting and adjusting as necessary. It is discovery-based learning where the agency works its way forward as opposed to plans. It’s about pushing for design-thinking and working with the scientific method and artistic process.
Agencies should see this as a series of experiments, not a series of pilots. Experiments are often about learning. When there is a negative result, it is a learning curve. Pilots are often about being right. When they don’t work, someone or something is to blame.
Creative solving is decision-making in a way that combines even opposing ideas to form new combinations that produce a useful solution.
Creative teams should never go together. They should never compromise. And it should never be allowed to be controlled by one group or one individual (even if it is a boss or professional). Decision-making should be a patient and inclusive process that allows for both and solutions, and not simply one-or-one solutions.
Without these skills, no creative team will be successful in all regions, regardless of the brand they are working on.
Creative agencies should also remember:
- Cooperate. Cooperate. Cooperate. Collaboration improves the way teams work together and solve problems. Collaboration and a sense of community lead to creative innovation, effective processes, increased success and ultimately improved communication. Innovation can flow just by listening and learning from team members.
- The process is never easy. Even the best thought out plans can go awry. In strategic and creative development, concepts can (and do) evolve. Some solutions are delivered quickly, some take months – meaning work doesn’t go as planned, and suppliers and customers have to navigate delays and deadlines. It all depends on how stressful the challenges are. Take everything one step at a time.
- Don’t like solutions. As stress is tested in other markets, solutions may not be agreed upon, and then divestment may be required.
- The job is not done until the job is done. Whatever challenges you face, dig deep and keep going until you find the best solution for the brand you serve.
- If you’re not sure, collaborate again. With groups. with the customer. Collaboration is an incremental process before it leads to success.
- Creative innovation is collective. It is often possible for a collective to innovate, but to do so agencies must re-examine their understanding of what leadership is all about. Leading creative collaboration is about creating a space where people are willing and able to work hard to solve creative problems.
- Talented people don’t want to follow – they want to co-create the future. To achieve this, agencies need to recognize their common management mindset. It is not about creating a vision and expecting others to follow it. When you try to do something truly new, no one has an answer. No one knows the direction to get in, or even how to get there.
For the TBWA team in Africa, success in creative collaboration means creating a world where people want to be. A world where society lives on the frontier; Where everyone is disturbed; Everyone has a voice; Where everyone – regardless of their rank or role – can express and hear their thoughts and feelings about ideas or creative executions.
This is the only way to deliver the necessary innovation.