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FounderMetrics: Jo Bird

FounderMetrics: Jo Bird

Last updated: 23 April 2024.

For FounderMetrics episode seven, Ifty Nasir is joined by marketing extraordinaire and TEDx speaker, Jo Bird.

Jo was the driving force behind many campaigns at Gymshark and, among other things, now leads the creative team at Lounge.

Together, they explore the ways teams can measure the ROI of creativity - which is notoriously tricky, but not impossible! Read on to find out how, or listen to the episode in full so you don't miss a thing.

Art and science are alike

In my world, when I work for companies who are creating marketing campaigns or advertising campaigns, or maybe small businesses that are trying to get better known, their measure of success will very much depend on the creativity of what they set out to do.

For instance, do we want to sell products purely to sell products? Or do we want brand awareness? Do we want people to learn who we are, so we can get them excited about the brand so that when we are ready to convert them, maybe in a sale period, they're ready to go?

So, when I think about that process - pitching an idea, writing a brief, defining the parameters that will indicate the success of a creative marketing campaign - I see a lot of parallels between art and science.

People see art and science as being polar opposites. But I think that’s absolutely incorrect.

Even at school, there are these assumptions that if you're in science class, you’re unlikely to ever be seen in art class. 

But the fundamentals of both of those subjects are very, very similar. Both art and science share this central idea of searching for something new and original, of going on this path of discovery.

Because science can often present its findings through more measurable results, I think we tend to think of science as being more valid in terms of its problem-solving contributions to the world.

But creativity is about problem-solving as well, and ways that we can share and talk about the world in a completely new way.

Entrepreneurs are creatives too

I think people often stereotype creativity as simple artistic expression. As in, “creativity is being able to draw or being able to paint or being able to write a song.” But that’s not all creativity is.

Creativity is problem solving.

In its purest sense, creativity is about having an idea, a new idea or a fresh idea. A business owner has had an idea. They are absolutely creative, they are just pushing themselves into this box of “I’m not a creative; instead, I’m an entrepreneur,” as if those two things have to be separate. 

But maybe they’re only putting themselves in that box purely because they can't draw a picture to illustrate the idea. But creativity is problem solving. It's having an idea.

So, I think there are more people that are creative than we'll give themselves credit for. And I think that's problematic because if you don't know you’re creative, you can't learn how to really use it to your benefit.

The ROI of creativity

How do you measure creativity? This is the golden question in my line of work. The answer: it's bloody hard!

It's like asking, how do you measure bravery? How do you measure passion?

But even though it’s really difficult, it is still doable, and the way I like to measure creativity is by buddying up with the marketing team or whoever is involved in the metrics and the data of a campaign.

Because the insights they can bring to the table is absolutely going to put rocket fuel up your bum!

So, I would say that the power of those insights are how I measure the effectiveness of my work as a creative. Because once we’ve developed the parameters of a project or a marketing campaign and we know whether we’re aiming for sales or awareness or something a little different, I can then use the insights from the marketing team to create measurable metrics for assessment. 

And once we get down to it and begin measuring the success of something like an ad campaign, those metrics do begin to look more traditional, like “Is our ad resonating with people? Are we converting clicks into customers?” and so on. 

Creatives need a safe space

A safe space is the biggest thing for creatives. If you don't cultivate a safe environment (which I haven't always experienced) you can dilute a lot of the creativity in the room and stunt people in a big way.

Any of my team could share an idea with me, and even if I thought it was ridiculous, I'd never say that to them.

There's a real problem with office culture too. It's not the best environment for creativity. Studies show that we need stimulus, 'newness' in our day-to-day. That's why a lot of ideas happen outside the office.

Being in the same environment 24/7 is a nightmare for creatives.

We need to get out and about, step away from the screens to get closer to that childlike state-of-mind to let our imaginations run wild. Especially as electric devices have been shown to diminish our creativity over time. 

Collaboration is key

I think it’s easy to assume that creativity happens in isolation or that it’s all about one person having a brilliant idea and that’s all there is to it. But, to me, creativity is all about collaboration.

It doesn't matter where the idea comes from.

You have to be able to work as a team and you have to know your strengths. And I think that requires a certain humility - an awareness that you don’t have to be the best at everything and you aren’t always going to have the winning idea.

To give you a practical example from my own experience - I’ll be the first to say that I don’t always have my finger on the pulse of the latest TikTok trends. That’s not really my forte.

But in my creative team, you’ve got all these GenZ and they really know what’s going on. There’s one woman in particular who will come up with these absolutely stellar ideas that I would never have thought of. 

My strengths are looking at the big picture and pulling everything together. So I may not know much about TikTok but I can work with those who do and see how their ideas play into that.

I really think that, as a leader, you need to focus on maximising the potential of the team, not doing everything yourself or getting the most credit. So, I think my advice to other creatives would be: 

It doesn't matter where the idea comes from or who gets credit. What matters is, is it a good idea? And how can we amplify or execute that idea in a way that's going to work?

I think that’s where knowing your strengths comes in. If everybody is confident in their own talents and knows what they’re good at, then every team member can use their strengths to make the team - and each project - better as a whole. 

That’s why I don’t like to compare one creative to another or say that any one person’s work is more important. Because we all bring something special to the table and, when we work together and embrace those strengths, we can create something wonderful! 

Don't miss FounderMetrics

All episodes from series one, including Jo's, are available on major platforms, including Spotify, Apple Podcasts and YouTube. If you've got a minute, please give us a rating/review, so we can reach more listeners like you. Thank you!

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