What creativity means to MerchantCantos

As we prioritise our plans for 2019, it’s always a useful exercise to take stock of what inspires us and how we can propel ourselves forward this year. We believe that understanding those things is vital in order to succeed by design. Because the best way to create change is to set a clear purpose.  At MC, we have used this time to pose a question which lies at the core of who we are and what we stand for:

What does ‘creativity’ mean to us?

Creativity means different things to different people, but at the heart of it, it comes down to finding a smart and beautiful solution to a problem. The great thing about being in a creative business is that we get to come into work and create something from scratch – we start a project with a blank sheet of paper and end up with something completely fresh which is tailored to the challenge we’re trying to solve. The creative ‘magic’ is a collection of things that we do: the thinking, the scribbling, the talking, the sharing, the concepting, the crafting and that warm feeling you get when you feel proud of a piece of work. It’s something we do a lot of at MerchantCantos; taking a message or a point of view and turning it into something that people respond to.

With this in mind, we asked our colleagues from around the world about what creativity means to them. We wanted to lift the veil and show you the perspectives that power some of the creative minds behind MerchantCantos.

“Creativity is when you see beyond the obvious and have the courage to take a different approach. We view each project as a new challenge and with that comes ever-shifting standards, which pushes us to deliver exciting, memorable solutions. This, for me, is one of the most satisfying experiences as a creative.”Elise Inthavixay, Design Director, Hong Kong

“We live in a world where the biggest corporations require our smartest thinking and most beautiful craft. Without those two things, we wouldn’t be able to create the kind of precision and sharp design that underpins the communications for our clients.”Leo Cooper, Associate Creative Director, London

“There are two things at the heart of creativity. First, there's a great idea: bold, provocative, witty or poignant. It can take a lot of forms. You know it when it hits you. Second, it’s taking that great idea, and bringing it to life with love, craft, and purpose. Really caring about it and seeing it through to the end. That’s the difference between creativity that matters to our clients, and creativity that doesn’t."Kev Cheah, Creative Director, New York

“Every film we produce is the sum of creative collaboration. Together we have the power to provoke, entertain, inform, inspire and propel change. At the heart of it is our collective energy to explore new ways of looking at the world. We need to be curious and open, and to look for stories where others don’t. It’s about testing several ideas and growing them into something modern and elegant, something that’s generative.”Sonal Patel, Executive Producer, London

“Creativity, to me, is best summarised by the author Arthur Koestler as ‘the defeat of habit with originality’. It forces you to think differently, and therefore avoid the generic.”Matt Shepherd-Smith, Chief Executive Officer, London

“To me, the best expressions of creativity are expected things in unexpected arrangements. I love this quote from Rod Judkins, ‘It’s not the notes that make music - it’s the intervals between them… for an author or playwright, it’s not just the words, it’s the order they come in.’ Creativity is more than joining the dots, it’s the ones you don’t join.”Jarrad Comley, Partner, Executive Creative Director, London

“Creativity is that search for hidden links between what may seem to be unrelated ideas, examining problems from all angles until you discover the most elegant and novel solution.”Astrid Kogler, Lead Designer, London

For us creativity is at the core of what makes one brand, product or service different from another. It encompasses, but also goes beyond what you would expect in advertising campaigns or visual identity designs - it’s something more fundamental and visceral. We deliver an assuredness and can-do approach to business-critical issues which transforms cultures, processes, services, and of course, brands. We aim to deliver the kind of creativity that helps our clients connect with their audiences in imaginative, powerful and strategically-grounded ways.

This is what creativity means to MC.

We look forward to sharing with you all the ways we bring creativity to the heart of business in 2019.

For more information, please contact Steve Hickson, Creative Director.

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