Soap Box – ‘Creativity’

Creativity – it’s the oil in the machine. The ‘x’ factor. It turns raw veg into something approaching an exciting meal. It turns carbon into diamonds. In the live events world creativity is the cause for much consideration and debate. In Australia we are currently witnessing the greatest dumbing-down of live event communications that I have ever experienced, by brands that really do need cut –  through and impact that only creative responses can deliverMany prominent brands today boast an ‘internal events team’. Across many industries and across the country, someone has reviewed their company’s annual comms spend and said ‘hey! We can afford to do this work ourselves and even reduce the costs!’ It was probably an accountant. Imagine saying that about the company’s advertising spend? Experiencedna increasingly works with client event teams, and the experience has highlighted some important issues for us. Internal events teams are usually, in my experience, made up of great marketing people and event managers, who possess few event design and production skills; skills that are garnered from years working in the field in all areas of expertise. And businesses as a rule tend not understand the difference between event management and event production. Who is it that turns the blank page into something magical? It is event producer.

Good live event designers and producers rarely cross over to ‘client side’, because the thought of being tied to one brand and a recurring calender of the same events is not appealing, because it also takes them out of the diverse, wider events environment in which they hone and evolve their skills. This resulting lack of conceptual experience within internal events teams results in a slow but relentless loss of production skills and knowledge, and diversity. Of course, business’ have legitimate imperatives to reduce costs, and creativity does come at a cost: but it is a cost that is repaid in spades when agencies get it right. When event design is ‘got wrong’, an expensive event can be a total waste of money.

Successful and memorable events are the product of passion, commitment, creativity, and hard work. It is THEATRE, first and last. And theatre requires a suite of skills, and a hands-on attitude (see pic left) to make it happen. Very few brands that engage in this, the most targeted, effective form of marketing, are skilled in delivering theatre. The solution is for agencies to promote the benefits, to clients, of recognising the difference between the raw veggies and the beautiful meal. Anyone can buy the former, but it still requires specific skills to create the latter.

November Music
Unashamedly retro this month. iTunes Store has been gold for allowing me to track down individual tracks and albums that I had lost or missed in the past.
Listening to the Horrors recently (see last blog entry) prompted me to return to check out The Comsat Angels. Brilliant guitar/keyboards mood rock, with psychedelic overtones alongside the best lyrics I’ve heard for years. Also, check out the Brooklyn Funk Essentals for a funk serve with a strong caribean flavour. Their song, I Got Cash, although impossible to quote because of its industrial strength language, is a CLASSIC. Please check out.

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