Business Planning: Take Inspiration From The Thriving Creative Economy

The global creative economy — products and services based on intellectual property — has reached an estimated $ 2.25 trillion in annual revenue, according to a 2015 study by Ernst & Young.

X Creative economy sectors range from architecture and design to digital media, gaming, virtual reality, animation, art and robotics.

“People often overlook creative entrepreneurs as economic forces because they are not yet familiar with the numbers the creative economy produces,” say Alice Loy and Tom Aageson in their book, “Creative Economy Entrepreneurs, From Startup to Success: How Entrepreneurs in the Creative Industries Are Transforming the Global Economy.”

Tips on implementing the strategies of a creative economy for any business:

Embrace Analytics

Startup ventures and established firms need Big Data and diagnostic tools to beat the competition, Loy says.

Streams of data from customers, competitors, the market and more can shape everything in business planning — from new product development to marketing, to hiring techniques to global strategy, she adds.

In addition, gathering data becomes ever easier thanks to technology, and creatively analyzing it to generate solutions is what’s key, Loy says. “Start gathering data from Day One!”

Hire For Ingenuity

Since companies can increasingly outsource efficiency needs to machines, Loy says, management would be wise to bring aboard employees who have a distinct way of problem solving.

“Creativity is replacing efficiency as the best predictor of company success,” she said.

Lure And Challenge Talent

Today’s best and brightest college grads and employees seek jobs that offer opportunities for creative development and personal growth, in addition to financial rewards, Loy says. Therefore, smart leadership means providing employees with lateral opportunities, such as offering retraining to help staffers move from one area of a company to another, she says.

“Designers can become salespeople. And salespeople can move into management,” Loy said. “Instead of losing team members due to boredom, keep their creative juices flowing by shifting their roles every few years.”

Loy terms creativity a team sport. She says the singular genius-mind generating a constant flow of ideas “is a myth.” “In reality,” she said, “humans generate new ideas and disruptive solutions through working in diverse teams.”

Engage Your Customers

With the internet and multiple access devices, consumers are online 24/7 and are more informed and more savvy. They’re also more particular about the brands they choose than ever before.

That’s according to Steve Lucas, author of “Engage to Win: A Blueprint for Success in the Engagement Economy.” “Consumers want information now.” Lucas is the CEO of Marketo, a marketing software company.

Consumers also want brands that share their values and interests, he adds. “Attention is the new currency. Our challenge is to find ways to deliver personalized experiences at the scale of thousands or even millions of individuals throughout organizations.”

Lucas says to take revenue metrics and “enrich them with a clear view of not only how much revenue you’re driving now, but how many meaningful relationships you’re cultivating in the long term.”

Create Brand Advocates

Customers expect a seamless and exceptional experience at every point of contact in their customer journey, Lucas says. “One subpar experience for one customer can cost you many customers.”

He emphasizes that if you focus on engaging by creating meaningful relationships, understanding the voice of your customer, and consistently standing by your values, “you will cultivate a passionate following. Customers want to advocate for brands that reflect their own values and above all, care.”

 None of your outbound content, Lucas wrote, including emails, video, or anything else, “should ever leave your company without being vetted by some type of focus group or feedback pool.”

He says in today’s age of hyperactivity, where brands are no longer controlled by companies, but by their customers, “this is a must.”

Challenge Your Assumptions

Never assume what you knew to be true yesterday is still true today, Lucas advises. “The world is evolving at an unprecedented, accelerated pace in terms of norms, tastes, preferences, beliefs, biases, and on and on.”

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