If you’re a marketer you measure creativity. This is not a ‘should you?’ question. The alternative would be – what? – to explain to the board you intend to invest tens of millions of corporate dollars in an activity that might – or might not, who knows- bring some kind of return. That would be like the operations director announcing the multi-million pound purchase of a new machine line but declining to say what function it is to serve, if any. So measure you must.
That’s the easy bit out of the way. The questions from here get tougher. When? How? With what objective in mind? With what tolerances for the inexactitude that characterises the creative process?
Contemplating that last point, it occurs to you, if it hadn’t already, that the interface between ‘measurement’ and ‘creativity’ isn’t an interface at all – since that sounds far too clean and clinical – but a messy collision of opposites. Precision and tidiness on one side; chaos and serendipity on the other.
Bringing the mindset of metrics to the domain of free expression is like peeling off a wide city boulevard to find yourself abruptly in the Latin quarter. The straight lines and rectangle turns are now behind you, and have given way to winding alleys and knotted junctions, with the turnoffs all on the slant. It would be fun if you didn’t mind getting lost, but in the wrong clothes, with the wrong attitude and an A-to-B objective propelling your steps, it is oddly uncomfortable.
That said, your first big decision is binary enough, or as close as it gets in this marketing neighbourhood. Do you measure after the creative work has been commercially exposed? Or before? Or both?