The creative business argument


BY HAN AI LEEN

IN the advertising industry, there’s probably no word more used, misused and abused than “creative.”  

In Leap: A Revolution in Creative Business Strategy (John Wiley & Sons), Bob Schmetterer argues that advertising agencies must evolve to stretch the definition of “creative” to include work that affects the client’s business as whole because “Branding is no longer about communication strategy. It is about business strategy”. 

Schmetterer argues that traditionally, company leaders develop a business strategy based on bottom lines and profit margins, and then hire an ad agency to back up that strategy with creative advertising.  

However, history has demonstrated that some of the most effective branding campaigns are born when ad agencies help clients apply creative thinking to their core business, all before they launch a branding blitz.  

Hence, a business strategy that has a big, creative idea at heart.  

The book analyses some of the industry’s best creative business ideas from Volvo to Intel, Starbucks and Perdue, among others, and attempts to describe the necessary ingredient to build the creative corporate culture. 

The book is refreshing and commendable but for one argument.  

In the reviewer’s humble opinion, creativity can come from anywhere and the creative business idea® (CBI and yes, it comes with the registration mark) that is advocated by Schmetterer is nothing new.  

In noting this, one wonders if this piece of literature is disguised as an effort to differentiate Euro RSCG from its competitors. Readers may consider reading Emotional Branding: The New Paradigm for Connecting Brands to People by Marc Gobé and Sergio Zyman (Allworth Press, 2000) for another point of view. 

Bob Schmetterer is chairman and CEO of Euro RSCG Worldwide, one of the world’s top global advertising and communications agencies and Leap is an Adweek and Brandweek book. 

The Customer Service Workbook (Kogan Page) by Neville Lake and Kristin Hickey attempts to provide a holistic framework that illustrates to readers how to analyse, design, manage, and measure current business models to attain higher levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty.  

Of course, results would bring about increase in profits and the reduction of costs. Lake and Hickey believe that two most important factors that readers need in understanding customers are primarily profit and loyalty. 

Through tools and techniques described in the book, the authors facilitate readers’ comprehension through worksheets and sufficient case studies. The flow is easy and approach, straightforward.  

The book, an ideal introduction into customer service, is part of London-based daily The Sunday Times series of Business Enterprise Guides of which Lake has also contributed another book, The Strategic Planning Workbook. 

Lake is a registered psychologist, who has spent the past 18 years as a business and strategic consultant, and has held the position of director in Price Waterhouse.  

Hickey once lectured at Bond University before venturing into market research.  

l Any comments or feedback? Forward your thoughts to hanaileen@hotmail.com. Han Ai Leen is a PR consultant at a leading public relations consultancy firm 

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