Can professional services be creative?

Wednesday, 17th April 2019

Blog by pro-manchester comms manager, Mel Hill

Our most recent sector event saw delegates descend to the stunning basement area of Yorkshire Banks’ B Works facility on Market Street and asked: ‘Can Professional Services Be Creative?’

Hosted by the ever-fabulous Dan Nolan, managing director at theEword, and co-chair of our Creative Committee, our first panel welcomed individuals who have pushed the boundaries and found creativity in the professional services sector.

The panel included: Lauren Riley, Founder – The Link App; Dan McNicholas, Co-Founder – 4and20million and Eimaer McCann, Head of Northern Hub – F-Lex.

So, what does creativity mean?

Lauren Riley founded The LinkApp to redefine the client-lawyer relationship and is passionate about solving common communication pain points through the innovative use of technology: “I’m on my own journey with creativity. How we think about it is really important. Einstein once said: “Creativity is intelligence having fun,” that mindset really helped me with the professional services side of things as I’m intelligent and I like to think I’m fun, so I’m both of these things and I like to merge these two things to create creativity.”

Eimear McCann heads up the northern hub of F-Lex, an online platform which connects paralegals with law firms and in-house teams across the UK. Eimear says: “Your creativity apparently peaks at seven, how depressing is that?

“Young people have a fear that is traditionally associated with the law profession, and they need to try and keep up in order to engage a millennial workforce. Creativity comes in here massively, as law firms need to be creative in order to get this new workforce that is graduating now.”

How can professional services implement this creativity?

Dan McNicholas co-founded 4and20million to help businesses create the conditions where people can perform at their best. He is passionate about helping companies become places where people turn up in the morning full of positive energy and leave at the end of the day feeling proud and satisfied with the work they’ve done.

Dan discussed how he believes the company’s environment and culture can deter a person’s creativity: “If you correctly resource creativity and show people its ok to be creative and make a safe environment for people to suggest things that might be good or bad,” said Dan.

He continued: “We need subtle indicators of how we can be creative. You can’t just tell people how to do everything. An ongoing conversation in the company needs to be that you are the kind of company that allows creativity and allows you to bring your ideas to us.”

Our second panel consisted of creatives, who shared how they have been able to be creative in the professional services sector.

The panel consisted of Sam Jones, Tunafish Media and Jo and Darren Scott, Truth Creative.

Sam Jones, co-founder and managing director of Tunafish Media, a video production and social media agency believes: “Marketing for trust is what’s suitable in this industry. You are not marketing for entertainment here like you are in other industries.

“Marketing in professional services is what helps you build up a relationship with a potential customer. By giving them information, you’re allowing them to make an informed decision on what insurance to go with, what bank to use etc. That’s why we’ve found that video is great for this because they learn more about your personality.”

Jo Scott, co-founder of creative agency, Truth Creative agreed with Sam’s point: “You don’t have to be wacky to be creative,” says Jo. “Creativity is what can help you to strike a balance between looking professional and looking too zany.

“Colour is a great example of this. To inject some personality, you might incorporate a pink or orange to your brand pallet that adds a bit of edge or vibrancy that reflects who you are as a brand.”

Darren Scott, creative director and co-founder at Truth says: “Change for the sake of change is not a thing, but making it safe to change in an area that’s good for the business is really important.”

Darren finished the discussion by comparing how you act as a brand to how you act as a person: “Don’t be afraid to be yourself. You have friends because your personalities are similar, this is the same with a business. Don’t be something you’re not, because it could backfire on you.”

An interesting brunch, we’re sure you’ll agree and one which saw some interesting questions for our panellists from the floor.

Do you believe the professional services sector is open to being more creative, not just with its branding, but with its culture? Our panels certainly believe there are things being done to encourage more creativity in this sector, which is much needed and will be interesting to see in a few years time.

If you’re interested in our creative events, including our upcoming Digital Marketing Conference, click here to see our full programme of events.