Mastering the business of creativity

Last month, we had the pleasure of hosting our first Breakfast Club ‘In Real Life’ with special guest Sir John Hegarty

Sir John Hegarty is the Founder, Creative, Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH), at The Garage Soho and The Business of Creativity.

John shared his insights on the business of creativity, the AI tsunami, and the challenges and opportunities of working in-house.

He covered a lot, so here are a few of his perspectives that we wanted to share with you.

Be commercial about creativity

Creativity is not something aside from business, Creativity has always been commercial, this is a myth we must bust.

“Creativity and brand is always seen as an add-on when building a business. Businesses are becoming more aware of the importance of brand. My advice to in-house creative leaders is to know more about the business than the CEO, make it your job to understand and be the authority.”

Know how to sell in creativity

John’s perspective is that great creative people have to understand how to sell.  You have to learn how to do it like you know how to draw. “There is no point having great ideas if you can’t sell them,” said John. Creative leaders need to be able to talk about creativity in a way people will understand, explaining the idea, the difference and the value.

John explained that by understanding that innovation is at the core of creativity, you can sell through this different lens – and it’s often an easier sell. John made a good point that “no business is going to say they don’t care about innovation”. 

John ended by explaining that selling creativity is about ‘finding the door’ that will help people understand and help you explain it. No one engages in something they don’t understand so find the way in. It is about “losing the mystery and keeping the magic”

Recognise the challenge of being an in-house creative leader

Being an in-house creative leader brings the challenge of constantly working within one market and John believes you can get into a rut. By recognising the challenge and limitations of working within a brand, you can then do something about it. Great creative people are absorbers; they read from a variety of sources; they explore; they go outside their own world; and this is what in-house creative leaders have to make sure they do.

“The world is constantly changing. The ones with the extra knowledge are the ones that lead the way. Surround yourself with great people.”

Take the lead on AI

“When an amazing piece of tech comes along, it transforms the knowledge industry. You don’t quite know what to do with it”.

John explained that we are in this cycle of constant technological innovation, which is slowing down the creative process. It’s very hard today to get clients and stakeholders to navigate through the quagmire, tsunami of technology. 

John believes that In-House Creative Leaders are uniquely placed to take businesses through this change. He sees a role for In-House Creative Leaders to be the educators, the ones with the knowledge who can explain how the business can use it and the value it can bring. 

By taking on this pivotal role, creativity can be placed at the forefront of this change.

“As the principles remain, the practices change. You constantly have to go back to basic principles and then try to apply them. This is why you should be the first to see what’s coming.”

And lastly, John’s suggestions of daily habits to keep us all staying creative

  • Take the headphones off 
  • Stay curious 
  • Stay engaged 
  • Talk to as many as people as you can 
  • Read stuff that creative people aren’t reading.
  • Be open 

Check out John’s Business of Creativity course

Now more than ever, businesses need to innovate and adapt at pace. Creativity is business-critical. 

Join Sir John Hegarty and guests for 8 weekly lectures packed with tips and playbooks which John has used throughout his career to harness and unlock your creativity.

Find out more here.

About Sir John Hegarty

Sir John Hegarty, Founder, Creative, Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH), at The Garage Soho and The Business of Creativity.

John Hegarty has been central to the global advertising scene for over six decades, working with brands such as Levi’s, Audi, Boddingtons, Lynx, British Airways, and Johnnie Walker.

He was a founding partner of Saatchi and Saatchi in 1970.

He founded Bartle Bogle Hegarty in 1982 with John Bartle and Nigel Bogle. The Agency now has offices in London, New York, Singapore, Stockholm, Shanghai, Mumbai, and Los Angeles.

John’s creative awards are numerous. He has been given the D&AD President’s Award for outstanding achievement and in 2014 he was admitted to the US AAF Hall of Fame.

John was awarded a Knighthood by the Queen in 2007 and was the recipient of the first Lion of St. Mark award at the Cannes Festival of Creativity in 2011.

John wrote his first book, ‘Hegarty on Advertising – Turning Intelligence into Magic’, in 2011, and his second book, “Hegarty on Creativity – there are no rules” was published in 2014.

In 2014, John Co-founded The Garage Soho, an early stage investor company that believes in building brands, not just businesses.

John has just launched a new online 8-week course, entitled The Business of Creativity, aimed to equip people with tangible tools to help win through the application of creativity.

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