Creative brands generate ‘exceptional’ sales compared to uncreative rivals

Companies that extend marketing to the wider business and invest in new technology are more likely to generate “exceptional” sales compared to those struggling to expand creativity beyond the marketing department, according to a report.

Companies embracing integrated structures and consumer-generated content outperform peers in revenue, report finds.

The Forrester study, commissioned by Adobe, of more than 300 brands found that nearly half (40 per cent) grew revenue by 10 per cent or more compared to 2012 following corporate investments in creativity.

Of those, 58 per cent said they actively nurture creativity. Only 20 per cent of the less creative companies posted similar revenue uplifts in the period.

The approach translates into “greater market share” and “competitive leadership”, according to the researchers. A quarter of respondents said their firms command a leading market position with 33 per cent fostering creativity.

Companies that treat creativity as a business objective are more willing to adopt unconventional practices such as extending marketing to other parts of the organisation, earning a “creative dividend” not possessed by their rivals, researchers found. The metric, according to the study, is what sets creative companies apart from their peers, empowering staff to promote creativity at the executive level.

Almost three out of five surveyed participants (55 per cent) said executive teams had assessed the value of a creative dividend, setting processes to rate and fund innovative ideas. Furthermore, 58 per cent revealed they formed specific project goals aimed to inspire innovation internally.    

Brands have spent millions over the last 12 months ensuring their businesses adopt a more creative mindset. British Gas and Mondelez are spreading marketing to other parts of the business to get closer to consumers, while Pernod Ricard is exploring how to translate successful local campaigns globally, for example.

Despite the growing realisation of creativity’s commercial impact, more than half (61 per cent) of companies do not see themselves as creative. Indeed, just 11 per cent admitted current practices such as cross-departmental collaboration and customer insight within their oragnsiations were reflective of a creative environment.  

David Wadhwani, senior vice president, of digital media at Adobe, says: “For years, business leaders have focused on things like employee productivity, process efficiency and workforce planning as the key success drivers for their companies. But over the past few years, the mindset has shifted.

“Leading companies recognise the importance of another key success driver – the need to infuse creativity into all aspects of the business environment – from strategy and culture, to innovation and customer engagement.”

The report identified five recommendations that aim to elevate creativity to drive better business results. These range from encouraging a creative mindset across the business, rewarding creative gambles and overhauling internal processes to investing in new technology and working more closely with customers.