“Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.” –Albert Einstein
Believing in the power of creativity to move business and society forward, Sally Ann O’Dowd follows Einstein’s lead in work and in life.
A corporate communications executive, multimedia content producer and publicist with 17 years of experience, she is also the publisher of the Creativity Is Contagious blog on business innovation, media and the arts; the multimedia poetry series Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Other Tales of Love and Loss; and interactive e-zine Creativity Is Risky: Free Speech in a Charlie Hebdo World, a tribute to the universal right to creative expression, a free press and multicultural tolerance.
Sally’s personal passions, curiosities and professional endeavors complement each other and have helped her find true meaning in life: to inspire audiences of all kinds through storytelling. She has worked at fast-paced publishing, advertising, PR, and tech companies in major U.S. markets and in London and Paris. She offers knowledge of the entire brand-building process through seven years at Publicis Groupe’s iconic ad agencies and PR firms Leo Burnett, Razorfish and MSLGROUP in Chicago and Paris; at Standard & Poor’s, Accenture Interactive and design firm Fjord in New York; and in McGraw-Hill in London.
Sally Ann O’Dowd also founded New York-based communications consultancy Sally On Media.
Sally, tell us about creativity in business.
I believe that everyone, and every company, is creative with a unique story to tell.
Creativity means to think and do something new, and it is the cornerstone of business innovation, social progress, the arts, and the inspiration we find all around us.
Creativity also drives the most effective and visionary communications. Fresh perspectives, accompanied by beautiful content, unite employees, heighten perceived value in the marketplace, spark the media’s interest, and attract customers.
How is the communications profession evolving given the rapid fire of technology?
Try to imagine what life was like in the era of Mad Men…Publicists would write a press release and mail it to reporters in hopes a story would run in a week or two. Think about it! Today, a company must produce multimedia content for its website, social media, media relations and other channels to garner market legitimacy – in what I call a beautiful and seamless expression of a point of view.
Can you provide us an example of how branded content leads to media coverage and social buzz?
Yes indeed — I love talking about The Love Index, a major piece of research on brand affinity published by Accenture Interactive and Fjord, its design and innovation unit.
Our researchers set out to answer three key questions:
What are the most-loved brands in the U.S., U.K., and Brazil?
Why do people love these brands?
How can your company create and sustain brand love?
What was your role on The Love Index?
My job was to launch the Love Index to the world. As deputy global director of content production and PR, I functioned as editor-in-chief – and with a global team working to meet multiple deadlines, I was traffic cop, too. As with all my projects, I set out to creative a seamless and beautiful expression of the researchers’ findings.
What skills did your multi-functional team bring to the project?
Accenture Interactive and Fjord’s content marketing and PR team stretched from New York to Austin, from Sao Paulo to Johannesburg. Together, we simplified thousands of data points gathered from nearly two years of research in the U.S., U.K., and Brazil. Our incredibly creative team members brought myriad skills to the project: writing, market analysis, video and motion graphic production, web, infographic and PowerPoint design, sales and client service, social media, media relations, event planning, and internal communications. We all used our unique gifts to tell stories.
So, what are the most loved brands?
Ah! Research would be nothing without headlines. We ran with The Netflix Effect because Netflix is the most-loved brand among consumers in the three markets we studied. People so love the Netflix experience that the company now sets the pace for every other brand experience, regardless of vertical. From retailers to banks, brands have a high bar to reach because of Netflix.
By country, the most-loved brands were:
US: Apple, Microsoft, Netflix
UK: Netflix, Google, Apple
Brazil: Netflix, YouTube, Google
Where can we find this content?
Yes, please visit:
Multimedia press release: http://go.shr.lc/2fdMF4G
Official presentation: http://bit.ly/loveindexslideshare
What Is The Love Index? Video: https://vimeo.com/187096317
Fjord Conversations blog post: http://bit.ly/2eDXiwb
My LinkedIn post: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/love-index-2016-sally-o-dowd
How much media coverage did you generate with these findings?
The Love Index is a perfect example of how multimedia branded content and proprietary research can lead to massive amounts of media coverage –The PR team generated 53 media placements.
For example, our main researcher was featured on Fox Business with Maria Bartiromo and on the digital TV channel Cheddar TV, which broadcasts from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Our media coverage went global from The Drum and Campaign to The Times of London. And Microsoft, a treasured Accenture client, celebrated consumers’ brand love with a blog post.
The Drum (US): http://go.shr.lc/2fdYZSt
Campaign (UK): http://go.shr.lc/2eqOfnv
Fox Business: http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/5219084939001/?#sp=show-clips
Cheddar TV: https://cheddar.com/videos/105853
Any parting words for executives wanting to build brand awareness for their companies?
Here again, the definition of creativity is to think and do something new – that’s why we watch and read the news. As such, it’s important for company leaders and their employees to dig deeply into their souls, to identify a unique point of view – and hire a multimedia media content producer and publicist to help them share it with the world.