Is the Creativity Gap Holding up Business Transformation? Deloitte Digital and LIONS Analysis Launched Ahead of 2022

New analysis illustrates a growing need for unconventional thinking to drive growth

With new technology, cultural, political and pandemic-related shifts driving desire for new solutions to drive efficient growth, businesses face an emerging creativity gap. In advance of the 2022 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Deloitte Digital and LIONS have released the Creative Business Transformation study: “A Radical Re-Think – Why Business Transformation Needs to Get Creative.”

Key findings:

  • The growth of the growth title: Since 2015, the total number of global C-suite roles with a specific focus on growth, such as chief revenue officers and chief growth officers increased dramatically (256% and 554%, respectively), and at a much faster rate than CMOs (51%).
  • The decline of chief creative officers: After a period of rapid growth between 2011 and 2018 (87% increase), the number of Chief Creative Officers declined 4% over the last four years.
  • A shift away from creative skill sets and talent: Analysis of CMO role postings shows the demand for design skills has decreased 41% since 2019 and is now far lower than the demand for analytical skills. This shift is not limited to the C-suite. In nearly every industry, CMOs identify analytical expertise as a more important skill than creative expertise among their highest performing talent, according to a Deloitte Insights report on “Building the intelligent creative engine.”

Deloitte Digital conducted an analysis spanning more than 10 years of global company profiles and job postings to provide insight into how the CMO role has evolved. Deloitte Digital and LIONS then examined 26 pieces of work entered into the Creative Business Transformation Lions Award at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in 2020 and 2021 and completed interviews with Lion-winning and shortlisted brand-agency teams and esteemed jurors. (See full methodology below.)

Results from the company profile analysis suggest that companies are deprioritizing creativity, leaving gaps in C-suite leadership, talent skill sets and in organizational culture. To reverse this trend, an alternative approach visible in Lion-winning work, encourages marketing and creative leaders to apply creativity across all areas of business to deliver “creative” business transformation that differentiates from the competition.

“The Creative Business Transformation study is an unconventional report about the impact of creativity that we can all learn and benefit from,” said Andrew Sandoz, global chief creative officer, Deloitte Digital. “Together with LIONS we hope to inspire many organizations to think differently and use new ideas to shape successful futures.”

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Simon Cook, CEO, LIONS, said, “At LIONS we’ve recognized the expanding role of creativity in driving businesses forward, and through our Creative Business Transformation Lions awards we’ve seen how successful businesses can flourish if they use a breadth of creative approaches to create value and drive competitive advantage alongside traditional brand communications. This report highlights the need for creativity in this space and we hope that this guide will help businesses understand how they can, and why they should, put creativity at the heart of their business transformation plans.”

Pulling unlikely inspiration from George Miller, the director of action film “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Deloitte Digital and LIONS found interesting parallels from Miller’s radical approach to filmmaking, aiding CMOs, creatives and brands in understanding key creative principles that support successful business transformation. Together Deloitte Digital and LIONS provide a blueprint for CMOs, creatives and brand professionals, which when utilized can close creative gaps, lead to growth generation through creative business transformation and produce solutions to complex problems:

  • Find hidden creatives: Inspiration can come from anywhere — from frontline employees, customers or partners. As such, forward-looking brands should encourage and consider all potential sources for the next big idea.
  • Curate creative excellence patiently: Many promising ideas need guidance and cultivation to reach their full potential. Business transformation is no different.
  • Widen the accountability lens: Many creative and impactful brands understand the scale of a business transformation is only as extensive as its corresponding measurement.

“A marketers’ role is ever-evolving,” said Suzanne Kounkel, chief marketing officer, Deloitte US. “This research shows that in a fast-paced, technology driven world, it’s easy to forget the central role creativity plays in driving growth and bringing meaningful change to customers and the organization alike. Drawing from some of the most creative business transformations in recent memory, the research provides a roadmap to growing the organization’s impact through creativity.”

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