Over the course of his career, Brandhouse Beverages marketing and innovations
director Gavin Krenski has not only led his creative teams to multiple podium
appearances, but also his marketing teams through sustained brand and business
growth. It is for this reason that he has been chosen as the Creative Circle’s second
Champion of Creativity for 2015; in recognition of his unwavering belief in the
power of creativity to create bottom line business success.
Patience is a virtue
Possibly one of the biggest misconceptions about creativity, particularly creative
communications, is that it is a quick fix. Got a brand that isn’t performing? Pump it
up with a clever ad that gets a laugh, goes viral, and wins a couple of Loeries and a
nod at Cannes. But the reality is quite different, says Krenski.
“Creativity is a long-term investment. It not only requires intense market research
prior to execution, which takes time, but it also demands attention to detail during
execution, which takes more time, and then incredible patience after execution,
because the results are not instantaneous. More time. More patience.
“In the fast-paced world in which we live, in which instant gratification is the norm,
it is hard to look and act long-term. But it is crucial to the creative process, and to
business success,’ says Krenski.
“The literally thousands of stimuli that consumers are subjected to each day in our
increasingly digital, multi-channel world means that brand engagement and choice
is almost always at a subconscious level, and biased by an often emotional,
instinctive and automatic set of responses to help them manage their world.
Great creativity taps into the need for our work to be brilliantly distinctive and
culturally relevant in order to influence and change consumer behaviour over time,’
But, he cautions, the trick to making creativity work lies in understanding that while
great creativity has the potential to change consumer behaviour, this change does
not happen overnight.
“I have seen so many great communication campaigns stall before they get a
chance to gain enough altitude, because as marketers we have not fought hard
enough or been brave enough to convince senior leadership to stay the
Human behaviour is largely habit and instinct. And it is hard to change a habit –
even in the face of compelling rational and emotional arguments. It takes time. And
patience. And a good dose of courage, particularly when the board of directors is
asking about the return on marketing investment.
Courage is a choice
“The problem is not that company leadership demands a return on investment; we
should all demand – and expect – a return on marketing investment. The problem is
that too many of us expect it too soon,’ says Krenski.
This is one of the reasons why so many marketing departments have started to rely
on quick fixes – short-term promotions that create a spike in sales to reassure
senior leadership, but do not always add to overall brand development. In fact,
these short-term, quick fixes are often produced at the expense of real, long-term
brand development campaigns, eating into budgets that are already under strain
and undermining the value of real brand-building investment.
And this, says Krenski, is the real heart of the matter. Faced with a series of
campaigns that create short-term spikes but no long-term gains, it is no wonder
that business leaders are beginning to lose their faith the power of creativity.
“As a consequence marketing and advertising is often viewed as an expense, and
not an investment – and that’s a dangerous category on the budget sheet.’
The trick, says Krenski, lies in getting everyone on the same side. “Advertising agencies often underestimate how badly clients want to approve
potentially great creative work, but the problem is that we can’t do it without
compelling reason. Clients need to see that the agency has not only a tangible
understanding of where the brand is at, but also where it needs to be – and how the
work in question is going to take the brand there.
“In short: agencies need to be able to rationalise the emotional response they are
hoping to elicit with the proposed creative idea, because that is exactly what
Balance is critical
So how do you know when you’ve got the long-term stuff right? When to stay the
“Ironically, having just said that nothing happens overnight, when you get it right,
you get the feedback pretty quickly,’ says Krenski, “and when you get it wrong,
that comes back pretty fast too – often in the form of complete silence!’
Krenski, however, warns about basing any real decisions on knee-jerk reactions on
social media platforms. Although sites such as Facebook can provide a snapshot
view of how campaigns are performing, there is a wide variety of sophisticated
measuring tools that should be employed alongside every marketing campaign.
“There are so many elements to modern marketing campaigns, it is critical to find
out which parts are working and which aren’t – and then make the necessary
adjustments, without necessarily defaulting to changing the course of the entire
Again, this takes time. And patience. And it requires the team to have the courage
of their convictions. Krenski concludes, “Marketing and creativity and our improved
understanding of human brain functioning is joined at the hip. When the emotional
response elicited by great creative work is reinforced by positive rational
justification after the fact, that’s when the magic happens.’