This article by Chris Foster, Chairman and CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi Asia-Pacific, was originally published in the Singapore Business Review.
With a long-standing reputation of being a country with strong STEM skills (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), the Singapore government’s recent initiatives to grow global perception of Singapore as an entrepreneurial nation has highlighted the imperative for creative leadership.
Creativity is a valuable skill that lives beyond the traditional fields of art and design. It is no longer limited to aesthetics, but is seen as a way of thinking about the world, which in turn leads to innovation, entrepreneurship, increased sense of community and curiosity in life – things that contribute to richer and more robust societies.
The most successful brands in the world practice creativity within their organisations through creative leadership. They differentiate themselves by being purposeful about the greater good of society, they grow their businesses by harnessing the power of positive emotion, and inspire their people to perform at their peak.
Ideas are at the heart of what they do.
They don’t just aim to create products, services, experiences, brands – they aspire to create Lovemarks. These are brands that people feel passionate about and to which they feel a sense of loyalty beyond reason, beyond price, beyond product attribute.
To meet this growing business need for purpose-inspired brands, advertising agencies are becoming more integrated and less factional. Skill silos are being broken down.
Global expertise is being gathered into local hubs to offer a broad array of services, from digital and shopper marketing, to sustainability and social innovation. We recognise that clients are looking to access group thinking in terms of channels and how ideas live and thrive in the world.
Consumers want to be inspired though all touch points and have the ability to share it through multiple mediums. For companies, it is no longer just about Return on Investment.
It’s about Return on Involvement. We live in a participation economy in which the consumer is boss.
The blurring of lines between technology, ideas and design thinking has transformed the media and marketing landscape faster than any other business market. We live in the “Age of Now”.
Power has shifted from one to the many.
Velocity is everything: instant response, instantaneous delivery. There is a race to the future first, whether it is solutions to complex medical issues or getting a package delivered in double-quick time.
You have probably experienced this phenomenon yourself through apps, communication on social platforms, and using your tablet and mobile while watching programmes on your SMART TV. Singapore is one of the most digitally savvy and connected countries in the world.
It is also the hub of business for the Asia-Pacific region. This economy will continue to lead when more companies dedicate themselves to creativity and help make the world a better place through their innovative service or product offerings.
So often creativity is about looking at a problem in a new way and finding new ways to deliver solutions.
The future will be less about platforms of delivery and more about creating a unique, objective view that results in meaningful experiences for consumers.
Nothing Is Impossible through the power of ideas. Creative leadership can seed optimism into business and society. Creativity is a proficiency that can be learned, but requires the courage to make things happen.