Increasing creativity is PR’s biggest challenge

There are many challenges that the PR industry is focusing on. When asked what keeps them awake at night, professionals rightly mention things like big data or transformational technology.

For me, the key thing always was and will always be…creative ideas. New, bold, great, challenging, engaging, yet often simple ideas. Without creativity and new idea generation, there is no real advancement, despite the digital revolution. Even the most interesting data project or the most innovative of technologies started as a rather odd idea in someone’s mind.

The problem with new ideas is precisely the fact that they are… well… new. ‘New’ always implies an element of risk and people are risk-averse, particularly in challenging times.

The truth is we’re often scared of new ideas. 

We like courage when we see it in others, but in the face of potential failure often avoid it ourselves. We love creativity in theory, when we see it as spectators, and we can comment on how amazing it is. But emotions start getting a bit more complex when we need to embrace real creativity, either because we need to come up with ideas, or we need to present them, sell them, approve them, sign budgets for them or implement them.  

This year, maybe more than ever, there is an imperative for PR professionals to overcome this natural aversion to risk. And more, our role is to help our partners in communication (our clients, internal or external) see creative bravery as an immediate necessity.

In this changing climate, when data and technology are taking everything to a new level, being wary of new ideas puts companies at greater risk than maintaining the status quo. Sometimes easier said than done in a profession which seeks to protect as well as project. 

Adopting a Creative Bravery mind-set is vital for 2014. We call it CRAVERY, to emphasise that creative bravery is not some ideal for the future, but an immediate requirement. We need to educate ourselves and educate our clients to embrace creative bravery, go outside our comfort zone, do new things and make calculated risks! Taking risks – but managed risks – is the safest way forward.

Colin Byrne, CEO UK & EMEA, Weber Shandwick 

Creative Moment Awards 2021