Diageo introduces creativity training to ‘inspire and challenge’ marketers

Diageo’s new training programme, dubbed ‘Creative Sparks’, aims to bring creativity to every aspect of marketing from media to how to use insight, as well as best practice in briefing, how to nurture ideas and using measurement to unlock creative.

Diageo was at the forefront of marketing effectiveness when it launched a tool, dubbed Catalyst, that aimed to use data to determine the right budget for each of its brands. However, there were concerns from some quarters of the ad industry that the tool and its reliance on data might leave less room for creativity.

However, according to Kathy Parker, global senior vice-president of scotch, Haig Club and premium rums at Diageo, there is still a major focus on creativity, which she believes goes “hand in hand” with effectiveness.

“Great marketing happens when you bring together creative magic and rigorous marketing effectiveness. They go hand in hand – creative ads are more efficient at driving brand growth,” she explains.

With that in mind, Diageo has launched an internal training programme, called ‘Creative Sparks’, that provides a framework for improving creativity. All 1,200 of Diageo’s marketers have been enrolled on the year-long scheme, which is being led by Parker.

READ MORE: Measuring the magic – Why brands need to refocus on the effectiveness of creativity

The aim, she says, is to “educate, inspire and challenge” marketers to produce the best work. It focuses on every aspect of creativity, from powering creativity with media, to how to use insight, as well as best practice in briefing, how to nurture ideas and using measurement to unlock creative.

Agency partners are involved as well, with Diageo running inspiration sessions for both its marketers and the agencies they work with.

Great marketing happens when you bring together creative magic and rigorous marketing effectiveness.

Kathy Parker, Diageo

This is the first year of the scheme so Parker says it is “too early to talk results”. But the hope is Creative Sparks encourages fresh thinking and drives brand growth.

“I’m really excited about the potential of Creative Sparks to bring fresh thinking into our work and support the growth of our brands. The programme is already driving new conversations and energy in our marketing team, and importantly injecting more fun into our jobs,” she adds.

Baby food company Ella’s Kitchen also sees training as important to ensuring its marketers, and the rest of the business, understand the role of creativity. To do that, it runs sessions on inspiration and what creativity looks like in both “expansive and reductive” campaigns. It also holds ‘big idea’ parties, signalling to marketers and agencies that it is after differentiated thinking.

“The way we’ve tried to work at Ella’s is to instil a culture of thinking differently, which is one of our values. We’ve done a lot of training on thinking differently and worked on this ethos that ideas can come from anywhere,” explains the brand’s marketing boss Kim Gelling.

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