Of course PR folk and their clients need to address the challenges that face them in a world where social networks are revolutionizing the planet. We know we need to engage a whole new generation of consumers whose values are being reshaped almost daily by their new social dialogue. It’s now harder then ever to raise the noise level. How do we address and capture creative imagination?
Some wag once described my creativity as nothing more than fact manipulation. Hurtful and also untrue, but the challenge remains to define voodoo. I believe that the current trend in “creative thinking” in PR is hackneyed. Lashings of innovation must have a solid strategic foundation. The power of the web and the scrutiny of the audience via social platforms holds a magnifying glass to suspicious traces.
We have become enveloped by governance that uses a certain type of narrative – this has created a new, homogenised creativity. True, there is an abundance of ideas, real campaigns can cut through. But the big ideas are scarce. Great communications ideas are now housed in the social platforms where engagement and participation are a necessity. As media fragments and systems of delivery for information multiply, with particular reference to the distinctive characteristics of the internet as a medium of communication, the vast mainstream well of conservatism is living side by side with the younger, disengaged generation.
It’s a toxic mix that might stifle a belief in the age old practices. The status quo is not to future gaze; the future is the denizen of this collaborative species. Those that leave egos at the door and can offer an adaptive innovative process will harvest the rewards of creativity. My challenge is to keep up with the pace of change. Those who enjoy a short platform of power are in danger of being irrelevant; the challenge is to make meaning. My own key principles which underpin this approach are a commitment to using storytelling as the means to transform information into news and features; an understanding of the importance of creating drama and events as mechanics for generating publicity; and an absolute belief in the need to develop coverage outside the expected ghettos.
The future, as we understand it, is in the hands of a collaborative species. Ideas must be adaptive, and must expand or mutate the concept of creativity. Vision that’s informed by risk will always prove powerful if bolted to a strong story or narrative. To our younger, faster generation there is no history and they don’t look to the future; to them, the future is now. Creative thinking must be driven by this new aesthetic.