'Creativity Matters' Podcast: Kevin O'Sullivan, Executive Creative Director at FleishmanHillard Fishburn

‘Creativity Matters’





This week I was thrilled to catch up with Kevin O'Sullivan, Executive Creative Director at FleishmanHillard Fishburn on the Creative Moment Podcast in the latest of our ‘Creativity Matters’ series.

Kevin has worked at FleishmanHillard Fishburn for three years, and before that he was at Blue Rubicon for seven years.

Here’s a summary of what we discussed:

[00:03:22] Kevin is a big believer that every single person is creative, and actually some people are just slightly more energised by it than others.

[00:03:46] Kevin suggests that people taking creative roles are those that perhaps feel the most confident and excited about the world of creativity rather than necessarily being the very, very best at it.

[00:04:30] How just solving a problem doesn't mean that you're being creative. It's actually using a bit of ingenuity, a bit of innovation, some fresh thinking to solve that problem. Kevin thinks that's where where the true definition of creativity lies.

[00:05:35] We talk about the hierarchy applied to creative roles.

[00:07:24] How PR agencies tend to give away their their creativity for free in the pitch process, and the economic outcome of that.

[00:07:46] How this means PR firms are always going to be limited in their creative resources.

[00:07:59] The difference between this kind of approach and that of the advertising agency that has more resource, time and budget to apply to the brief.

[00:08:19] Why Kevin believes PR firms are often given the stick and not the carrot when it comes to the creative brief, and how PR agencies are trained to perform in these conditions.

[00:09:28] If you are a creative agency luxuriating in huge budget, huge amounts of time and huge thinking space, can the same level of creativity be found without those external pressures?

[00:09:41] As a self confessed eternal optimist, Kevin sometimes sees creativity in communications and PR really thriving under pressures, particularly impressed by the healthcare space.

[00:10:18] How when you see the creativity rise to the top within that kind of harsh regulatory environment, that's when you're like, wow, that is great, great creativity.

[00:10:51] What it is like being part of Omnicom?

[00:12:12] How they collaborate with other agencies within the group.

[00:12:24] How the other agencies respectfully admit they don't necessarily do PR. And why would they?

[00:14:13] So, in theory, does the best idea win these days?

[00:15:35] Why Kevin thinks creative agencies are built around big, clear ideas and comms agencies are built around understanding the nuances and intricacies of a particular problem.

[00:15:51] And why they don't need to try and be the same.

[00:19:09] Who rises to the top in terms of a traditional creative director role?

[00:22:05] Can ad people come up with great PR ideas?

[00:25:38] Does Kevin follow a methodology in terms of his creative process or is it more like organised chaos?

[00:26:13] Why having 'rigour' is an important part of everything we do.

[00:27:27] How creating great ideas is never, ever about how many people there are in the room.

[00:27:31] And why its about the right people in the room and everyone is part of the creative process.

[00:29:13] How and why Kevin works to the rule of 'threes' when attacking a brief.

[00:32:17] Does data and the insight limit creativity?

[00:32:32] How sometimes it is not all about the data but sometimes just about having fun with an idea.

[00:35:34] Why Kevin think sometimes the rigour applied to the process can hold him back creatively.

[00:36:28] With the creative sector dominated by white men, how does FHF recruit creative talent from more diverse backgrounds?