A majority of the PR industry remains unconvinced that it is investing enough in creativity, according to the 2014 Creativity in PR study.

The report, which is co-authored by the Holmes Report and creativity experts Now Go Create, in partnership with H+K Strategies, is based on a survey of 600 PR people from more than 35 countries across the world.

A free PDF of the report can be viewed at the end of this story.

The study launched yesterday by revealing that industry's creative capabilities continue to struggle to win over clients. Are investment levels to blame? Two thirds of respondents are not convinced that enough money is being invested in creativity.


61% of respondents do have a dedicated creative resource in their business. But 40% say that 2% or less of their budget is spent on furthering creativity. Less than a third (31%) say it’s more than 6%.


Other metrics are more encouraging. Over the three years of the study the proportion of respondents who employ a creative director has risen by almost 10% to 42%. And well over two-thirds of respondents (72%) have a creative process in place at their business ( compared to 66% last year.

H+K Strategies chief creative officer Simon Shaw believes that "a lack of creativity cannot be fixed by investment alone."

"We need to empower our teams to develop their own creative cultures," said Shaw. "A lack of creativity can’t be fixed by investment alone. We all need to accept that it is part of being a modern day storyteller; we need to be inquisitive, to investigate new technologies, to develop a better understanding of media and to embrace data and insight – these are the responsibilities of the individual."

Now Go Create founder Claire Bridges, meanwhile, thinks that recruitment and talent management practices also need more attention. A majority (54%) of respondents do not feel adequately rewarded for their creativity, while a further 11% aren’t sure. Just one third (35%) are happy with the way they are compensated for their innovative thinking.

“HR is the missing link here," says Bridges. "HR really needs to get knitted into the fabric of creativity in a business so that there is a framework for recruitment, to measure creativity in a performance review, agree what great looks like as well as progress throughout the different stages of a career and set up infrastructure accordingly.”


Issues around investment can also be tied back to the way the PR firms are remunerated for their ideas. As revealed yesterday, clients clearly demonstrate more innovation here, preferring to pay set fees for ideas (32%) or based on sales results tied to ideas (32%). Both of these rank ahead of IP/licensing ideas (26%), with billable hours coming in last (24%).


Agencies, meanwhile, would rather stick to billable hours (48%) with slightly less also favouring set fees for ideas (44%). There is little agency appetite for IP/licensing ideas or via sales results tied to ideas.

A more innovative approach to funding might help encourage idea development and overall creativity. It might also help trigger investment in talent and tools. When asked to list the barriers to great creative work, respondents pointed client risk aversion, lack of budget and a lack of clear objectives and time.

2014 Creativity In PR Study from The Holmes Report