What does creativity cost?

When BT brought forward its plan to deliver superfast broadband to two-thirds of the UK, moving the deadline from 2015 to 2014, it decided on a creative twist to its usual recruitment strategy by employing more than 700 soldiers who had served in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The targeted recruitment drive was based on the belief that the ex-armed forces personnel possessed the necessary skills to perform complex network installation tasks and could operate speedily and efficiently.

The decommissioned soldiers were placed on the frontline of the project to upgrade the country’s telecoms network from copper to fibre optic cables that can support superfast broadband services.

Joe McDavid, retail HR director at BT, explains: “Ex-armed forces people are highly skilled, motivated and disciplined, which means we are able to train them up quickly and get them straight out where we need them.” The recruitment policy was successfully adopted without BT increasing its £2.5bn budget for the upgrade.

Ogilvy vice-chairman Rory Sutherland says that creativity is the perfect tool for brands to achieve their aims when there is no money available. He notes:

“Creativity is often seen as an extravagant luxury, self-indulgence. The reality is that the best creative thinkers spend most of their time asking questions like ‘does the project need this?’ and ‘can it work without that?’”

In the case of BT, being creative has resulted in rolling out a project in less time with no extra money. Recruiting ex-soldiers has saved the business enormous amounts of money. As Sutherland puts it: “If you think creativity is expensive, you should try logic.”

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here