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Leadership Collective Aims to Unleash Creativity in Evolving Adland

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In a changing world, marketers are going to have to embrace creativity -- fast. That's the message of IBM's 2010 CEO study, in which CEOs said creativity will be the most important trait for business success in an increasingly complex world. It's also the inspiration for the launch of Leadership Collective, a group of experienced agency and client-side experts that aims to encourage business executives to get in touch with their creative instincts.

Collective has signed on Kraft, Team One as clients.
Collective has signed on Kraft, Team One as clients.

With Advertising Age as a partner, Rick Boyko, the former VCU BrandCenter director and veteran ad creative, is joining forces with a team including former Anheuser-Busch Chief Creative Officer Bob Lachky, Barbarian Group Co-founder Rick Webb and DDB creative legend Bob Scarpelli to launch the Leadership Collective. The Collective will deliver customized courses to client marketers and agencies, promoting creative thinking across different platforms.

Mr. Bokyo said the venture is a response to calls from CEOs and CMOs for more innovative and creative thinkers in marketing, particularly with the advent of new technologies and media.

"Clients need to learn to be more intuitive, to understand how to judge and value work, but most MBA programs are deficient in this area," said Mr. Boyko, noting that traditional marketing education emphasizes analytical methods. "Even if you like something intuitively, you have been schooled not to trust your own instinct."

Initial clients include Kraft and Saatchi & Saatchi's Team One. "In giving the next generation of industry leaders at Team One the opportunity to interact with some of the very best established leaders, as represented by Rick and his Leadership Collective, our agency will stay far ahead of the curve. Investing in our talent is the best competitive advantage," said Mark Miller, chief strategy officer at Team One. "We are engaging the Leadership Collective because they provide technical expertise and emphasize inspiring creativity," said Debra Berman, VP-marketing strategy and engagement at Kraft Foods. "Kraft is committed to growing marketing leaders who can do both -- because marketing today is a whole-brained leadership job."

"Marketers are hitting waters that are unprecedented," said Mr. Lachky, who brings 20 years of experience to the endeavor, both on the client side, at Anheuser-Busch, and the agency side at DDB. He said too many clients fail to realize that creative strategy needs to be an extension of the brand strategy. "Then, the magic is in picking ideas that best fit that strategy and knowing whether the idea can translate across all media platforms."

The Leadership Collective's courses will initially consist of two- to three-day sessions, usually led by two people from its panel. The Collective will build the program around individual companies' needs, and modules will address different aspects of creativity. In addition to sessions on how to judge work, there is a strong focus on understanding digital and social as well as building a culture of innovation within organizations.

The Leadership Collective is also developing a closed website that will allow people to connect back with both Collective members and their fellow attendees, post session. "It's all too easy to learn something then go back to your job lacking the tool kit to actually do it," said Mr. Boyko.

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