Questions for a creative consultant

As a creative consultant, a great deal of my work involves - for want of a better word - communications.

Communications cover a myriad of sins. Advertising, screenplays, public relations, films, corporation relations, music, governance, and all the rest of it. Each and every utterance a brand or project makes, each and every word, picture, color, sound, touch, smell, taste. Every connection a brand makes (or breaks) with everyone.

But it’s all for naught without a true purpose. It’s all sound and fury, signifying nothing. Turning up the noise by amping up the budget or the volume as championed by large communications groups that have head hours and inventory to sell won’t help you improve communications. It’ll just be costlier and louder. And a whole lot more annoying.

Why spend money to annoy the people you want to attract? Why not stop and consider your purpose?

An authentic and compelling purpose defines an ambition beyond commercial aspirations and drives action throughout any enterprise.

An engaging purpose (with subsequent stories, triggers, and actions) draws people in. A living, breathing purpose lets everyone know where they’re heading. And why.

As a creative consultant, I’ve refined a unique and proven 3D process to define, develop and deliver purpose-driven communications and outcomes like no one else can.

I’ve also had to answer a question or two.

Why do we need a new purpose-driven approach to communications?

Because the old way is killing you and your brand. Traditional solutions are all becoming less and less effective, and more and more costly. In many cases, they’re tearing brands apart.

As a highly experienced purpose-driven communications consultant, I have an extremely diverse and elastic set of skills that unify, strengthen and compound communications by channeling purpose through every aspect of an organisation. No more siloed specialists looking after their own interests, no more misaligned creative, no more wasted budgets. Unity and harmony for all.

What are the benefits of being a purpose-driven enterprise?

Ask McKinsey and they’ll say purpose is the future of capitalism. Ask your executives and they’ll say a strong sense of purpose motivates successful innovation and transformational change. Ask your staff and they’ll say collective purpose drives consumer satisfaction. Ask you consumers, and they’ll say purpose is key to increasing their loyalty.

Do you want some hard numbers? Some proof points that will knock your CFO off his chair? A study by Harvard Business Review and EY found purpose-driven driven companies outperform their profit-driven rivals 6 to 1. Less waste, more productivity, and greater profitability are just some of the benefits you’ll enjoy.

What’s stopping an enterprise from becoming purpose-driven?

All the usual suspects. Myopia. Poor systems. Shareholder pressure. Lack of inclusion. Cynical staff and stakeholders. Short-term and reactive thinking. Half-assed attempts to change in the past.

A study by Harvard Business Review and EY found success and failure in becoming a purpose-driven enterprise boil down to one thing, one lever - communications. Ultimately, every problem is a communications problem. None more so than when trying to evolve to a purpose-driven enterprise. It’s easy to state a purpose and set of values. It’s much harder to express, embed and enact that purpose in a way that inspires and sustains change throughout an organisation because it requires a continual search for consistency across many different disciples and activities.

More creative and unified communications from the CEO and senior executives, leadership development, and training, employee performance metrics, and rewards, as well as better integration into operations all contribute to a more successful purpose-led transformation.

Stefano Boscutti defines, develops and delivers a brand’s true purpose like no one else can? Really?

I’ve created every form of communications in every media known, and unknown. (Monthly music magazine on audio cassette, anyone?)

When I was six, I hassled my Nonno in Italy to grab a piece of point-of-sale from the local supermarket that caught my eye - a meter-high free-standing conical cardboard figure of the Bialetti coffee maker mascot strapped like a Mexican bandolero, belted bullets over each shoulder. I cut out the eyes, popped it over my head and lived in it for months, shouting the slogan about surrendering to taste wherever I went. Who lives inside an advertisement at the age of six?

When I arrived in Australia, my first words in English were ‘Coca-Cola.’ In my early teens, I collected cigarette packets which I repackaged with cotton wool, meticulously cleaned and mounted on display boards. Who does that? I also began peeling off those annoying little stickers on every piece of fruit you buy, a habit that persists to this day. When I was 16, I won my first award for an essay I wrote on the “Psychology of Advertising” that became part of the NSW Department of Education curriculum. I became a journalist but switched to advertising when I was selected for AWARD School, Australia’s most prestigious.

I became creative director of The Ideas Factory in Melbourne when I was 26, won too many advertising awards and realised a standard advertising career hopping from agency to agency wasn’t going to cut it. I was selected for the Victorian College of the Arts (Film and Television) and earned a distinction in film.

Over the years, I’ve created purpose-driven work that’s been at the heart of enduring success for businesses and brands in Australia and around the world. Unlike other communications professionals, I’m not limited or biased by any single specialty or disciple or media. I’m as comfortable developing a winning strategy as directing a cinema commercial, I can write a novel as easily as write a press release. Better yet, I can tie everything together so the sum of the parts is far greater than the whole.

As a highly experienced purpose-driven communications consultant, I weave all your communications together to streamline, strengthen and compound reach. To deepen engagement and effectiveness. Why? So you can concentrate on long-term planning and delivering more value. So you can increase margins and lift profits.

What makes Stefano Boscutti different from a traditional communications agency?

A traditional agency views your needs through the lens of its own core capabilities and fixed resources.

So your public relations firm offers a pr solution, your advertising agency offers an advertising solution, your design studio offers a design solution, your digital shop offers a digital solution, your event company offers an event solution, etc. That’s what they do.

I can do traditional communications, but I’m not biased or bound by one media or medium. As a highly experienced purpose-driven communications consultant, I’m only motivated by what’s best for you, your brand and your people. I choose capabilities and resources through the lens of the challenges and opportunities. I have the expertise to oversee and direct all communications through your core purpose. So messaging aligns and strengthens across all media and touchpoints to your best advantage.

What’s the benefit of Stefano Boscutti’s diverse range of skills?

I don’t reflect a bias to any single discipline, media or medium over another. Not every problem is a nail.

I’m completely independent. I don’t have inventory (or even services) to on-sell. I don’t have a vested interest in pushing one media - say public relations - over another. Or one medium - say television commercials - over another.

You don’t have to hire me as a chief communications officer, but you have to hire someone just as skilled and just as media and medium agnostic to unify and compound all the roving bits and pieces of comms floating in the ether and beyond. Someone with a very high (highest?) level of strategic and creative expertise.

Someone who can inspire your people and your suppliers’ people through the lens of purpose. Someone who can drive all actions and reproductions of those actions (for that is what media is). It’s a rare skill in this age of hyperspecialisation.

How important does Stefano Boscutti think language is?

Are you kidding? Language is more important than anything.

Whether it’s spoken or written or captioned or texted or printed or subtitled or headlined or sung or bulleted or dialogue or descriptions, language and symbolic patterning are how we make sense of the world, how we create understanding and meaning. Words are key to the whole exercise of living.

Words change minds > Minds change behaviors > Behaviors change outcomes

If you want a different result, you need a different set of behaviors. Which requires a different mindset that needs to be generated by a new sequence of words and symbols.

There is no other way to change minds, behaviors, and outcomes. Using the same words and applying different techniques won’t do it. Nor will making the words louder or bigger or more animated.

The words and language you choose are critical to the results you want.

If you want new results, you’ll need new words.

What about creative?

Can you believe how useless most creative is?

It’s not so much bad, as a waste of time and pixels. Bad puns, dumb ideas, off-strategy filters du jour.

Most creative these days are doing more harm than good. Typically it’s just a poorly worded and executed version of the brief masquerading as creative. No call to attention, no excitement, no frisson. No relevance, no effect.

More often than not, communications suppliers are more concerned about tactics and media buys than a distinctive and unifying idea that captures attention, compounds reach and reinforces recall.

Most communications suppliers put their preferred media and medium before the idea because that’s where they make their money. For them, the media dictates the ideas.

It’s not how I roll. For me, the purpose dictates the ideas that dictate the media.

What exactly is media?

Everything is media.

The color of the floor (walls, fitting, windows, and everything else) at head office is just as important as the font on the website. Every color, sound, texture, word, picture, shape, smell, taste, sense and combination thereof is media. It’s all media.

What about an app? What about social media? Is building a technology-based platform a media buy? How can I make more out of my retail presence? Why go on paid television when I can put a film on YouTube? Influencers? Production costs? Sponsorships? It’s all media.

Whether it’s a building or a bulletin board, cinema commercial or cinnamon stick, it’s all media. (Everything communicates. If you don’t care about your comms, that’s exactly what you communicate - the fact that you don’t care. Good luck turning that into market share or money.

The lines aren’t so much blurring as pixelating. They’re all converging (which makes keeping them siloed in separate specialties under different creative directors all the more insane.)

It’s futile and crazy-making (and splintering your brand). Yet within this spiraling complexity lies great opportunity. Defining, developing and delivering a multimedia and multichannel program with an equal emphasis on flair and accountability, offers the possibility of greater effectiveness than ever before.

Deliver stellar creative work that’s not only distinctive and innovative but self-replicating and reinforcing.

Stefano Boscutti offers a new approach?

Traditional solutions are all becoming less and less effective.

Dedicating more time, money and resources to old solutions that no longer work is at best throwing good money after bad, at worst holding back the evolution of civilisation? Either way, it’s not good.

As a highly experienced purpose-driven communications consultant, I weave all your communications together to streamline, strengthen and compound reach. To deepen engagement and effectiveness. Why? So you can concentrate on long-term planning and delivering more value. So you can increase margins and lift profits.

How do I do that? How do I give you more space to do what you’re great at and what you love doing? How do I give you more opportunities to be more successful?

I take away the complexity, strip away the confusion. I help you define, develop and deliver your brand’s true purpose like no one else can. Not pretty mission statements no one cares about, not vision blurbs that can apply to any competitor.

Your brand’s enduring purpose is what sets it apart from competitors. It’s what allows all the people in your organisation to understand and get behind a single inspiring direction and bring it to life from the inside out. Less waste, more productivity and greater alignment as they channel the purpose through every aspect of your organisation.

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