Determinants of Creativity

This research will always be very close to my heart! I, along with a group of four people, choose this topic as part of our mandatory undergraduate thesis. I will start with a bit of context on how we actually were stupid enough to select such a subjective matter for our research. I was always very fascinated about discovering new insights - carrying out research just to learn something new. I always believed, and still maybe do, that almost everything in this world is quantifiable and correlated! An extreme belief, right? I think it is true. As a class, we were given the liberty to form groups by ourselves. Probably the professor knew friends forming groups would fight amongst themselves, and he wouldn't have to deal with too much drama - guess he made the right bet. All three of my group mates decided to entirely rely on me knowing my enthusiasm for research. While I, taking this as a challenge to actually learn, said YES *facepalm*. We explored many different areas of research on something actually meaningful and exciting only to find ourselves confused. We were rejected by whatever research area we presented to our supervisor. After stumbling upon this topic, my inner child said, oh yeah, this is the one! I still have no idea how I argued to get this topic got approved. So yes, that is how we decided to create a magic formula for advertising...


Based on a lot of literature, we discovered that advertising practitioners have these crazy creative skills that they use to produce compelling, targeted, and carefully crafted messages. These messages can be for any required tom, dick or harry brand. Now, creating such messages often involves a creative process. A process involving multiple stimuli, facts, communication, target audiences etc. etc. - all combined into a thought process to produce the indescribable, aka the magic of an ad man. We also discovered that real advertising magic is only revealed when it actually performs or shows results when tested. The problem of evaluating creative processes or alternatives is that testing often comes late in the process of creating a strategy. This is where we wanted to draw a line and question how to take an early evaluation of alternatives beyond the subjective.

Research Objectives

In order to "evaluate alternatives beyond the subjective'' we had to identify the factors that generally are considered while creating advertisements. We had to evaluate the key determinants that are kept in mind whilst the advertisements are still in the thought process. And we had to do the inevitable - develop such a tool on which the critical components of advertising creativity can be analyzed. Therefore we concluded the following:

Problem Statement

How much importance is given to characteristics of creativity when conceiving and approving an TVC advertisement?
Now, we were not even close to being a genius that we would create or develop our own tool on which the critical components of advertising creativity can be analyzed. That is where the intellects Dr. Stuhlfaut and Yoo's (2013) study on "A tool for evaluating advertising concepts: Desirable characteristics as viewed by creative practitioners" came to our rescue - Amazing research! I would highly advise reading the study. We were able to derive the following:

Research framework

*For definitions, please refer to Stuhlfaut and Yoo's (2013) study (pg 82-84)

Research Design and Methodology

We were not going to get carried away - remember we are only undergrad students. We kept the methodology and design as simple as possible. So, to test the framework and ignite the debate of creativity, we decided why not ask these questions to different brand managers and their advertising agency executives? Who would provide a better solution to this than individuals doing this for a living? Our design consisted of in-depth interviews as a research tool followed by a Rating Survey Questionnaire to make sure we are avoiding false positives. Tbh, we wanted to play safe as well. Our methodology consisted of qualitative research. Using convenient sampling, we derived a sample size of 8 brands (16 brand managers and agency executives). It wasn't easy getting these 8 brands onboard, but we did it! It is time...drum rolls please...


For brand managers, uniqueness and imagination are the most crucial characteristics of creativity. For creative professionals, strategy and imagination play the most important role. Novelty and Affect elements are the most significant characteristics for both parties. According to brand managersto create brand existence and awareness, novelty is most commonly preferred. To strengthen brand engagement and loyalty, affect elements of creativity are most widely used. For advertising professionals, all three elements have equal importance. Elements of Novelty differentiate one brand from another. Utility elements differentiate the artwork of one agency from another.  Elements of affect are commonly used to associate emotions with a brand. Thats all folks...hope you enjoyed the interesting insights! Exploring Det of Creativity - References


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