Colin Byrne talks creativity within corporate & brand…

Colin Byrne, CEO of UK & EMEA Weber Shanwick is not only our PR Fraternity’s honorary patron at the University of Greenwich, but he also came to give a brilliant Big Picture Lecture at the start of the term…

And what did he talk about? Creativity, of course.

So, lets first apply it to brand and see what Byrne had to say…

  1. Creativity is a main focus now, and is less about those crazy stunts, and more about business impact and innovative thinking (and he’s so right)
  2. Creative needs to cut through the noisy multi-channel world
  3. What makes great work?
    • Creating value, connections and meaning for people
    • Applying brand expertise to solve a human problem
    • Cutting through and engaging in a noisy world of competing messages
  4. Growth categories are brand voice and strategic storytelling 
  5. We live in a visual world – pictures do change the world (it’s true, they’re all about pathos and are processed 60,000 times faster than text)
  6. Diversity fuels creativity – diverse teams create more interesting content
  7. Future of PR is digital, visual and female

Now let’s talk corporate

  1. PR and reputation is increasingly impacting on businesses
  2. Likes, shares and retweets is how we have been seeing PR – it’s more than this, it’s about a dialogue between an organisation and it’s public
  3. Organisations need to realise that the rules have changed
  4. It’s not about corporate image or spin – reality is what matters – doing/unearthing practice that matters and not trying to cover it up is a good way to start
  5. Corporations need a body of evidence that stakeholders can judge for themselves
  6. 60% of market value is attributed to reputation

Being a CEO himself, Colin also gave some great insights into the role…

  1. Highly reputable CEO’s are good at external relations
  2. Communications skills are seen as a key asset for new global CEO’s
  3. CEO’s can’t hide 

Finally, Byrne was able to share the details on the to dye for markers at Cannes Lions, and some of that all important Jury Checklist

Beauty, Audacity, Cultural Participation, Sympathy, Powerful Voice

2015 Jury Checklist: Earned trust with authenticity, PR prioritized in strategic planning, societal outcomes, strategic insights attuned to society and culture, achieved behaviour change

Colin’s inspirational and insightful talk taught me that our degree is really so accurate and relevant, and gave me a huge confidence boost that I’ll graduate knowing the industry I’m working in! (Most of the points he made are ones we discuss and learn about in class)

For now, I’d like to leave you with one last insight from Colin…

“Creativity is the overarching umbrella”


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