News | 07 May 2021

Is creativity a mindset or a deliverable?

In B2B, it takes a methodical approach to make the magic happen

Often in marketing, the word ‘creative’ is used as a noun to describe a piece of work that is delivered to clients. This could be a piece of design, a video, a brand slogan or a set of ideas. There’s an idea that there’s some sort of magic going on – that the creatives do their thing and pull something inspired out of the hat. But it’s important to recognise that creativity is a cognitive process that allows you to get to the end result – solving a business problem or challenge, and generating new opportunities,

There’s a lot of preparation involved in this process. You’ve got to go wide and gather information – start looking around and researching the topic, going through all the information the client has given you, and look outside what you’ve been given as well. You need to think about the business, the customer, the competitors and the wider context. And then you can start to dig into it, and develop thoughts or ideas or directions out of that. Then you filter down iteratively until you get to the things that are really going to work.

So as well as talent, creatives need the experience of being able to spot things, where they’ve seen something done before and know what works. And they need to keep their eye on the pulse of what's going on, which the client may not necessarily have the bandwidth to do. In the world of art, someone could just be this inspired individual that instinctively knows the right way to go. But in design and branding, creativity really benefits from time in the field and experience.

At Embrace we work in highly regulated world of B2B, which gets pretty complex and technical, and is quite far from the often impulse marketing of FMCG. Large commercial companies need to work within strict brand guidelines to achieve coherence and consistency. But it’s our job to push boundaries when necessary, because we’re looking to create something that stands out and grabs attention. And sometimes you can't do that by being timid or accepting all the constraints. It's about recognising what the boundaries are and presenting strong reasoning as to why they need to be pushed in any particular case.

You might not be able to be as instinctive and expressive in B2B, but in a way, it could be argued that you have to be more creative. You have to work harder to get inside the project and find out how it’s going to work. Within the creative process it’s really important to find the little nuggets that really going to matter when you get to the more expressive part. Working within parameters that are a little less flabby, and more constrained, it means you’ve got to focus on where you can make a difference. As David Ogilvy once said, “give me the freedom of a tight brief.”

Part of our process at Embrace is to collaborate with the client to arrive at a tight brief that creative solutions or output can spring from. We look to answer all the possible questions and make sure we’re focusing on what their audience actually wants, rather than what the client wants to tell their audience. And when the client has more involvement in the creative process, and input into what's going on, they often become bigger champions of what's happened as a result of it.

Ultimately with creativity, you’re making connections between bits of information that you've been given, or have found out, and from those connections come new ideas or new things. The shape of the result could be something the client didn't think they needed when they first came to you. It’s about making something new happen. There would be no point going through the creative process if you ended up in the same place. New images, words and concepts generate new possibilities for the business. So the process continues long after the piece of work is delivered.

If you’d like to discuss using creativity to overcome business challenges, drop us a line at

Paul Turner,
Creative Director