With Cannes Lions in full swing and the world's creatives getting busy with mutual back slapping and air kissing, it's interesting to stop for a moment to ask whether all this wonderful creative excellence actually creates value for the companies that have invested in the process. 

I've long had the belief that the best ads are remembered not for the company or product they promote, but for the quality of production or the wittiness of the storyline. But then I'm an advertising skeptic and am also a sucker for short sharp content that amuses or is just plain impressive. 

Creativity however should be rewarded and recognised. The industry must continue to innovate and create campaigns that don't just stand out from the crowd but which deliver measurable business impact. 

This McKinsey study therefore caught my eye. Those clever people over there have sought to measure creativity and have looked for a correlation between high creativity scores (McKinsey's ACS metric) and financial performance. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly there is a direct correlation between the two with companies whose ACS scores were in the top quartile outperforming their peers in areas such as organic growth, total return to shareholders and net enterprise value. 

McKinsey's take away is to identify four working practices associated with creativity and innovation. 

  1. Hardwire creativity and innovation into daily practices
  2. Become customer fanatics - this is reflected in most marketing thinking these days it seems
  3. Feed the need for speed - agility through fast decision making is key it seems. 
  4. Adapt or die - learn from the early market signals and adapt through the life of campaign

These are great guiding principles for any business looking to marry the science of marketing with the art of marketing. It's the combination of the two that would seem to be the secret to success. 

Let's see if the assembled lovies at Cannes would agree or whether they will continue to bathe purely in a creative glow.