Hogshead Revisited

Posted on November 21, 2011 by Comments Off

Sally Hogsheads

Sally Hogshead’s hair is on fire (she is redheaded, tall and on a mission). She hits the stage and sucks the oxygen out of the room. Think you are a fascinating person? Don’t flatter yourself. Compared to Ms. Hogshead everyone at the WOMMA Summit 2011 was wondering if we were “interesting” enough to carry her bags. Sally knows how to get people talking, brands excited + deliver the “unexpected” = the essential oil that I believe is in the DNA of every remarkable creative idea.

Sally is a well-known speaker and author of “Fascinate,” “Radical Careering,” and the creator of F-Score Test. She has held a creative director office at several major ad firms in the U.S.: Wieden + Kennedy, Fallon McElligott, Crispin Porter + Bogusky. Under her own shingle she is a trusted brand innovation consultant, helping companies develop messages that persuade and captivate. Clients past and present include Nike, MINI Cooper, Aflac, Cole Haan, Target, Coca-Cola and Godiva.

When I spoke to Sally on Thursday I found myself nervously trying to capture and remember her quotable nuggets. Here are just a few:

“Creativity is not a platform, it is a tool that takes time. It is called a breakthrough for a reason.”

“Control every deliverable on the innovation process and sell up. Help people visualize your idea.”

“Don’t rush the creative process. You need to live in agony — that is where the best ideas get challenged and refined. If you try to find alignment on everything you will come up with a camel. As we all know a camel is horse designed by a Committee.”

“Take a piece of your customer into every product discussion, every campaign and every social influence program.”

When I go to these conferences I find myself listening to a Chris Farley-like motivational speaker who pushes me toward the lunch cart. This year WOMMA was lifted by Sally’s appearance because “Word of Mouth Marketing” as we know it is shifting, and doing so quickly. Social influence tools are no longer want-to-haves by big brands but essential need-to-haves. Making an impression and fun whimsical engagement are okay now. I couldn’t help think that the traditional measures and analytics will be meaningless soon if creative coming from wonderful agencies, like the one I work at, don’t show how conversion impacted sales. Your ideas must fascinate and inspire a proved action. As Sally Hogshead points out “if your goal is to be comfortable, it’s not big enough.”

Why Creativity Needs to Drive Agency Culture

Posted on August 10, 2010 by 4 Comments

In the communications industry, “creativity” carries a wide array of meaning and interpretation. All too often, the word is aligned with designers and marketing specialists who are responsible for creating a fancy brand or dreaming up a viral PR/ad campaign. Dangerous.

For agencies large and small, it’s all too easy to bucket out creativity without recognizing the crucial importance of infusing a creative mindset across an agency setting. In essence, creativity should never be thought of as that “thing” that you focus on only during client brainstorms. Similarly, creative resources should never be aligned with “X person” at your agency that is identified as THE creative head.

The reality is that each and every person at your agency has the potential to be creative. How your agency activates and leverages that potential as an asset to your client base and as an overall competitive threat is a key capability differentiator.

Last week, I had the opportunity to chat with David Mahlmann, VP of Ideation and Creative Insights at Waggener Edstrom to discuss his thoughts on infusing creativity into agency culture.

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I couldn’t agree more with David’s thoughts on the topic. Personally, it’s the creative nature of my job and the industry that keeps me excited each and every day. In the world of communications, there are no boundaries to how we craft messages, build narratives and develop compelling prompts to generate action.

Whether it’s the physical environment of your agency, your team’s approach to brainstorming or the unique way you pitch new business and market yourselves online, take a moment to think about the multitude of ways creativity can separate your agency from the pack.

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