Creating is always the answer

Problem-solving, dancing

What being a Creative-first Agency means.

It happens in so many pitches and presentations. As the creative section looms, someone will say, “And now for the fun bit.” Which is, in a way, a good thing. It’s what stands out from the rest of the presentation. But it’s also undermining, because the so-called ‘fun bit’ is actually the culmination of all the sections that have come before it. Creativity is so often considered a frivolous part of what we do. But creativity isn’t decoration. And in our context, creativity isn’t how you make work look nice. It is the work.

As Rory Sutherland said a couple of years ago, “Adland needs to stop creativity being seen as ‘some magic fairy dust’ sprinkled on after the serious thinking has taken place.”

Creativity isn’t just the end of the process. It’s there, all through the formation of an idea, an idea that will ultimately respond to a behaviour or even change it. Creativity means looking at a problem laterally to come up with a unique solution that provokes an emotional response. It’s psychology. It’s persuasion. It’s stimulation. It’s taking the complicated and making it simple.

With every client brief, we ask ourselves how we can approach it creatively, in a way that hasn’t been done before. Creativity is all about approaching challenges differently, from a unique perspective. It’s the ‘art of looking sideways’ to borrow the phrase of the great Alan Fletcher. It’s about intelligence, playfulness, and expressiveness. It’s the magic of invention.

It’s problem-solving, dancing.

What we are doing is repositioning how we deliver our services. Creativity is one of our three founding principles (along with Care and Can-do) and since we began almost 30 years ago it’s been integral to who we are. But we no longer consider ourselves as simply a ‘creative’ agency. From now on we will be known as a ‘creative-first’ agency. There’s a difference.

All our work, not just our big brand campaigns but our insight and planning, our digital, SEO and our PR, is driven by brilliantly unconventional and always effective creative thinking. In other words, our PR is PR dancing. Our social, our insights, our SEO, our UX, our web development, our reporting solutions, our entire approach to marketing – all of it – is dancing.

At RBH we’ve always said that a good idea can come from anywhere, and that creativity isn’t the reserve of our creative department. This democratic approach has served us well and it will continue, but with more fervour and focus. Whenever we bring on someone new, we ask ourselves if they are, above all else, a creative thinker. It’s what unites us as a group of otherwise very different people.

Part of our aim is to encourage clients (current and future) to reframe how they themselves view creativity and creative. One can look at ‘creativity’ as the approach and ‘creative’ as the output. We want to align ourselves with the creativity.

What has grown out of our new approach is our proprietary Creative-first Framework.

This is an articulation of the series of processes we go through to devise unique solutions for our clients, driving lead generation, raising brand profiles or increasing awareness of products and services. It’s how we look at business opportunities from a fresh perspective, thinking laterally and finding answers our clients may not have realised they were looking for.

Creative-first is a new way forward for us, and it could very well be a new start for you and your brand too…

Written by Michael Vines

Creative Partner

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Since December 2023, UK employment rates have been sitting at about 75%, having almost returned to pre-pandemic levels of 76%. Despite this, we are seeing a reduction in permanent hires and increasing dependence on temporary workers due to continuing economic uncertainty.

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