Victoria's Secret, VW and Six More Marketers Explain How They Cultivate Creativity

Marketing Execs Name Other Creative Companies They Admire

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Patrick Adams
Patrick Adams

Patrick Adams, senior VP-head of marketing, Victoria's Secret Direct

Is there a company not in your sector that you admire for its creative approach to business?
Google continues to be an extremely impressive organization on so many levels. Corporate culture and their surgical focus on the customer. Google lives and breathes creativity and innovation.
Are the best brand creative ideas today rooted in digital?
There certainly is a tremendous amount of creativity being articulated digitally, but I don't really believe its creative because it is digital. In fact, I believe it is probably much easier to get to a creative place within the digital environment today. So many options, so much that is new and never been done. Much harder to drive creatively led experiences that are not based in digital.
Kevin Burke
Kevin Burke

Kevin Burke, chief marketing officer, Visa

How do you cultivate creativity in your organization and ensure your staff is thinking creatively?
Creativity is a mindset that we look to infuse across everything we do. It starts with marketers who are passionate about creativity and 'the work.' We find that the best way to build that culture is to have a team of people with diverse backgrounds from leading brands, agencies, consultancies and technology companies from around the world.
Can you assign an ROI to creativity?
I think our ROI model does account for creativity, especially when you think about the opportunity represented by social. In simple terms, ROI is calculated as reach, multiplied by effectiveness, divided by cost. Without question, creativity drives effectiveness which ultimately drives ROI. For example, the more creative and relevant the content, the more engaging it will be. Great creative work should be irresistibly shareable so that consumers can't help but engage with it and talk about it, laugh about it, be moved by it and motivated to share it. And when consumers do share, they extend the value and reach of our messages. This 'earned reach' from great creativity can exponentially increase overall ROI.
Jack Hollis
Jack Hollis

Jack Hollis, VP-marketing, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A.

How do you cultivate creativity in your organization and ensure your staff is thinking creatively?
Under our new 'Let's Go Places' company direction, we are placing a higher priority on creativity among all Toyota associates, regardless of position or department. Specifically, we are focused on three key words: exciting, innovation and inspiration. This extends from the design of our vehicles to the way we market them.
Particularly in the marketing department, we must take more risks, and are encouraging and rewarding those who do so. Even upon the failure of an idea, the risk-taking must be rewarded.
Can you assign an ROI to creativity?
One way we evaluate our creativity is through our social channels. We listen to the sentiment of comments and engage in conversations to learn more about our guests' reactions to our company, products and marketing efforts. We also use industry and proprietary methods to evaluate our creative work. We can determine ROI of effective creative by how many more impressions or actions are generated as a result of higher memorability and more distinctive messaging.
Kurt Kane
Kurt Kane

Kurt Kane, chief marketing officer, Pizza Hut

Is there a company not in your sector that you admire for its creative approach to business?
Zappos is a terrific example of a company that's leveraging creativity in their service platform. They have a creative approach when it comes to attracting their employees, and that results in a unique service experience that consumers are passionately in love with.
Can you assign an ROI to creativity?
We absolutely see a much stronger return when a powerful creative idea is at the center of our communications. You can't rely on traditional metrics to measure this. Rather, you see it across the aggregate of responses to all of your consumer touchpoints. In other words, it's not one metric--it's every metric.
Angelique Krembs
Angelique Krembs

Angelique Krembs, VP-marketing, trademark Pepsi

How do you cultivate creativity in your organization and ensure your staff is thinking creatively?
Creativity requires taking risks and trying things. We experiment all the time with new models, and try to leverage inspiration from other creative functions. For example, new media companies that are leveraging technology based in new consumer behavior. What they are doing and seeing can help us think differently about marketing solutions for brands. Music is a huge platform for Pepsi, and we've found that emerging artists can have a unique take on their relationship with their fans that could inspire us to think differently about how we continue to nurture our relationship with our fans.
Can you assign an ROI to creativity?
As for ROI, I've seen lots of basic business solutions turn into brilliant ideas with a simple creative spin -- the look of the package, the connection of an idea to a culturally relevant trend -- so the ROI goes beyond just creative effectiveness. You will make better business decisions if you can properly unlock creative thinking.
Kevin Mayer
Kevin Mayer

Kevin Mayer, VP-marketing, Volkswagen of America

Is there a company not in your sector that you admire for its creative approach to business?
Red Bull has done an amazing job of taking a lifestyle brand and executing across every facet of their business. They wanted better musical partnerships, they bought a label. They don't target the extreme lifestyle; they continue to add to it.
Are the best brand creative ideas today rooted in digital?
No, I think the best ideas and creativity are actually simple ideas that can be easily executed and have legs across multiple channels, yet are rooted at the intersection of a brand truth, the customer and their life. When you have a great idea, it's so much easier to simply see how it comes to life in digital, TV, experiential, etc.
Andy Sackmann
Andy Sackmann

Andy Sackmann, chief marketing officer, Crocs

How do you cultivate creativity in your organization and ensure your staff is thinking creatively?
For Crocs, creative starts with collaboration: connecting people from different corners of the organization, utilizing cross-functional teams to work towards a common goal. With all the time demands and busy schedules, just the simple act of getting people into a room together can become incredibly difficult, but it is critically important to building a team-based culture and fostering a creative mindset.

One of our primary activities we use to facilitate that collaboration is open-invite "Beers and Brainstorming" sessions, bringing together employees from different departments to collectively focus on a variety of topics. This helps spark new ideas and encourages employees to bring their own unique creative thinking and experiences to the table.
To what degree is creativity valued beyond the marketing department?
Creativity is about finding innovative solutions to problems or opportunities. On my team, that may mean generating new ideas for driving retail store traffic, launching new footwear collections in markets around the world or creating an engaged community of Crocs fans on our global digital platforms. ...That's why it's so important to foster a culture where creative thinking across the organization not only is accepted--it's expected.
Russell Weiner
Russell Weiner

Russell Weiner, chief marketing officer, Domino's

How do you cultivate creativity in your organization and ensure your staff is thinking creatively?
Domino's has a rotation program within marketing where every team member has the opportunity to learn a new function -- advertising, research, digital, innovation -- every couple of years. We believe this broadens skill sets and allows folks to think more creatively because they are trained in multiple aspects of marketing, as well as our overall business.
Can you assign an ROI to creativity?
A big idea -- like the 'Pizza Turnaround' campaign -- changed our company overnight. Certainly, it is more difficult to assign an ROI to an idea, but a big idea doesn't always need to be measured, especially when you can feel the ripple effects throughout the company. Its ROI is clear to everyone. Where we can, however, we always try to get relevant measurements of our creative ideas.

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