A Creative Director without a point-of-view

is no Creative Director at all

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Changing Behaviours

The pursuit of reach and basic engagement metrics is wasting marketing budgets around the world. We need to evolve this dated approach and focus on not only reaching audiences with our messages and images, but changing their behaviour based on true insights, well-designed strategies, and purposeful, creative experiences. We can measure so much more now, and our publics can do so much more, so we need a new approach. Paul Lawton and I call this Behaviortising

Abolishing channel-based thinking

We can't buy attention anymore. But we can build engagement.

The process is all-too familiar — over-cook the brand promise until we have a tagline, then get wild with some “creative” executions, based on the traditionally delineated channels: TV, Print, PR, Digital, Social… But this process is fraught with risks, not the least of which is simply being ignored in a world where everyone has infinite channels — including their own! As such, I believe we need to reorient our communications planning to be channel-agnostic. To examine, understand, and plan experiences based on the behaviours in which our audiences engage. At Cohn & Wolfe, we have defined this as 360° Action Planning. It’s going to change everything. (It kind of already has.)


PR as the lead

The most successful communications programs of the past decade have been PR-led. They start with a story, not just a message, and allow publics to help craft them, to engage with them, and to make them better. This is the DNA of PR — and many agencies and communications practitioners are struggling with the nuances of this evolution. Ultimately, this doesn’t reduce the impact or importance of advertising or other forms of communications. It simply re-orients one’s thinking and reinvigorates the planning process.

Digital communications

It may be the digital age, but digital isn’t a separate ‘thing’ for consumers – so why would it be separate for agencies?

At Cohn & Wolfe, digital public relations is simply the current state of public relations — if publics are audiences that are important to the organization, and audiences are now both readers and publishers; both viewers and makers, then public relations must enter into all aspects of the digital world, and be prepared to engage with these publics.

We must listen, interact, and allow share control with our publics, for customers are now digital, employees and management are now digital, investors, media, government, suppliers, and opinion-formers are all now digital.

Communications and marketing agencies, advertising and public relations agencies used to be able to focus on traditional tactics — sharp key messages pushed through a few key channels would motivate the masses.

Building brands still means investing in strategic PR efforts, but the definition, scope, and impact of PR that has changed — primarily driven by the evolution of digital culture, digital tools, and our new sixth sense: digital connection.

Public relations has always been about engagement: Engaging with publics in the digital era means two-way dialogue, creation, debate, and collaboration through earned, owned, social, and paid channels. It means maintaining expertise and knowledge of digital infrastructure — building and maintaining channels, designing compelling websites and apps, engaging with influencers, fostering real community growth, impacting search results, and creating awareness and driving sales for our clients’ products, services, and initiatives.

(Excerpted from “Digital Public Relations – The Guide” @ CohnWolfe.ca)

Measurement & analysis

It's okay to get emotional AND rational.

The resistance to measurement by many creative directors is baffling. In the age of information, yes, there is much misinformation, but there is also truth. The analysis of communications programs isn’t easy, but success can be grown through measurement. Further, the design of marketing and engagement strategies benefits greatly from measurement frameworks and experts with a keen eye toward optimization in the planning stages. It’s time for Creative to embrace facts & data.



The MiO Squirtcar


Nike: Vancouver 2010

Kraft Hockeyville - Stirling Rawdon

Kraft Hockeyville

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Go RVing

Craig Ritchie

A new kind of Creative Director.


A new way to approach communications, marketing, and changing behaviors to meet business and organizational goals. Better strategy, execution & measurement.