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CEO’s wary of designers and creatives.

The survey below gives all of us something to think about. To get the trust of CEO’s we need to develop new approaches.

A recent survey, by UK marketing firm Fournaise, of more than 1,200 CEOs and decision makers around the world concluded that most CEOs are wary of creativity.

It found that 78% thought agencies were not performance-driven enough and did not focus enough on helping to generate the business results they expected their marketing departments to deliver.

In addition, 76% felt agencies talked too much about “creativity as the saviour” while not being able to prove or quantify it. Indeed, they believed that agencies were frequently opportunistic in claiming credit for results that could be attributed to other factors such as the product, sales force, channel or pricing.

Trust was further eroded by the realisation by 72% of CEOs that agencies were not as data- and science-driven as they had expected. There was too much reliance on gut-feelings, hearsay, wrong methodologies and questionable information.

Performance or pretence

Jerome Fontaine, Global CEO & Chief Tracker of Fournaise, said that chief executives saw two types of agency, one performance-driven and trustable, the other pretending to be performance-driven and not trustable.

He anticipated that the pretenders’ reaction to the survey would be to attack the findings, questioning their accuracy and ensuring their views were heard in the media.

“The ‘performers’ will smile, nod and will continue doing what they’ve been doing best: constantly tracking their creative/media performance and delivering (real and P&L-quantifiable) business results for their clients, week in, week out,” Fontaine concluded.

The overall picture could change, however, if agencies were willing to move to a payment-by-results business model, as the survey revealed that 89% of chief executives saw this as a way of forcing agencies to focus on what CEOs actually expected from them.

Take away point

The answer seems to be in proving the value of design. We need to set up measurement systems that will allow us and our clients to see that the work we do is effective. That means we need to design with measurement in mind.

The Design Business Council publication The business of design shows ten ways to prove design effectiveness..