For a variety of motivations, PR has always been about helping companies stand out from their competition. There are tried and tested tactics of course, but creative solutions to communications challenges have always been a necessary part of the mix, really boosting exposure and brand engagement.
We see this time and time again in consumer PR, where B2C agencies conceive some truly magnificent ideas and executions that put their clients on the map (check out Creative Moment’s showcase for examples). Unsurprisingly, B2C is prominent in PR industry creativity awards too; creativity category winners in PR Moment, PR Week and PRovoke read like a who’s who of the best consumer PR agencies.
But what is the end goal if creativity is a mechanism to achieve it? The whole PR industry has always faced the challenge of demonstrating value through measurement and evaluation. B2B is particularly scrutinised because clients want to understand the very real impact campaigns have on their commercial goals (budgets in B2B are typically much smaller than B2C and must work harder). I’m not talking about measures like “total engagements” and “opportunities to see”, I mean real tangible business measures like actual “sales” and “investor enquiries”.
We’ve made commercial orientation for clients a key part of our very soul over the last decade. As an insights-driven agency, we now have a real chance to link insight-driven creativity to business impact (take our award-winning campaign for Tribe Payments as an example).
We’re very proud of the awards we’ve won for our outstanding client campaigns where creativity already plays a key part, particularly given that we’re unfairly tagged with the view that B2B tech PR is “boring” and “undynamic”. Obviously from an insider’s view, we know it isn’t. But if that’s really how we’re seen, B2B tech PR must do better in particular, and B2B as a whole. We’re not doing ourselves justice, or our clients justice, in showing just how exciting and important technology is.
So I’m making it my mission to challenge ourselves, our clients, and the broader B2B PR community to push much harder on creativity. I’d love to see CCgroup’s work alongside some of those outstanding consumer campaigns. This isn’t an exercise in self-aggrandisement. It’s recognition that creativity plays a vital role in helping clients reach their commercial goals, dispelling some of the myths around the work they do, and the work we do in the process.
How are we going to do that? Well, we spent the summer of 2020 immersing the entire agency in creativity training. We’ve experimented with those techniques and worked out what works best for us. We’ve developed a methodology and produced a CCgroup best practice guide and templates for everyone to use, and have run training on how to use them. And we hold internal weekly creative clinics for anyone to share ideas or discuss challenges. We’ve even come up with our own definition for how creativity should apply to our work:
“Creativity in B2B PR uses research and insights to develop unique campaigns that meet specified outcomes by stimulating a measurable reaction among the client’s target audience.”
We’re ready to swing into creative action! But these plans mean nothing without clients with whom we can build our ideas. So we’re going to be pushing our existing clients harder to experiment with creativity, and we’re going to be building even more creative ideas into proposals and pitches.
Nobody said “being creative” is easy. You perhaps don’t care one jot for creativity because you can’t see its relevance. You might be yearning to try new ways of doing things, but terrified of the risk. You may have ideas yourself but don’t know how to shape them into campaigns. You might need some help generating some ideas in the first place.
Chances are, we can help, and we’d love to discuss how. And on a personal note, I’d very much welcome some feedback on our plans. Just send me an email directly or send us a message when you’re ready to talk.