Creativity comes with a price tag

by Waseem Yakdi, CEO of Zia Creative Network.

Once considered to be incomparable, the relationship between creativity and return on marketing investment delivering effective and staggering profitability has now become a new normal in the current advertising scenario. Now, in agencies, planning departments work much more closely with creative departments. Amid economic uncertainty, there is greater impetus to show how well a big creative idea is working.

The creative element in the campaign leaves a lasting impression on the audience, reinforcing the brand, stimulating endorsement and repeat purchase. This is undoubtedly priceless, and that is why there is always a high price tag attached to a creative idea. If hiring a creative team of talented writers, artists, designers or directors – or paying an expensive agency big bucks for an ad – sounds like a budget-busting expense, it is. Expressing a thought-provoking idea in a powerful way that will attract buyers requires a combination of out-of-the-box imagination, market research, brand positioning, art design and typeface selection, so why wouldn’t that cost a reasonable sum of money?

The advertising industry in the UAE is highly inspired by contemporary global trends. The current UAE market is flooded with international brands. This competitive scenario and the emergence of countless ad agencies in the country has made creativity something that companies, and even the government, cannot afford to overlook in order to stand out. For companies, it is extremely vital to keep innovating on a constant loop to ensure freshness and relevance of the brand, and for this they are even ready to spend exorbitantly on creative advertising.

An ideal campaign or a commercial should be able to blend media, content and technology in a way that creates an easily accessible, live brand experience for the audience. Therefore, the agencies in the region are striving hard to get an edge over each other in terms of putting the most thought-provoking and innovative ideas on the table. Creativity is what separates the good brands from the outstanding ones in the UAE. But, in this race, there are only a few agencies that take the lead and win big accounts due to their extraordinary creative approach. It must not be forgotten that such agencies charge a bomb for that. As well as within private companies, there is also a paradigm shift in the advertising culture of the government entities, which now give high priority to exploring innovative and creative ways to connect with the people and showcase their programmes and other welfare policies.

The government departments of the UAE have now resorted to hiring specialist creative agencies armed with gripping concepts and strategies to help them develop creative voices and stand out via commercials, print ads, events, online engagement and more.

In the digital marketing space, since the cost per click in the UAE is highest in the world, it becomes imperative for companies and the government to enhance their marketing budgets and align their marketing objectives with creative and compelling campaigns, artworks and videos in order to effectively reinforce their brands in this highly competitive market.

As proof, a study published in the Harvard Business Review was designed to measure the financial impact of creative ads. It found that the amount invested in highly-creative advertising campaigns, particularly if the ads are artistic and elaborate or illustrate a product benefit, return twice as much revenue as the money spent on “ordinary” ads.