How Creatives in Business Can Make an Impact: Lessons from the FAME Portfolio School

Chante was a student at FAME–the Famous Academy of Modern Effectiveness–a free, selective portfolio school by Grey Group & FindSpark. Students of FAME are ambitious creatives with no advertising experience who were selected to learn from and be mentored by top creatives at Grey.

Today the values of a company are just as critical as the value of its product or service. For example, studies show that millennials care increasingly about social and sustainability issues, and 87% of millennials believe corporate success is not only financial according to Enso’s World Value Index. The index measures the extent to which Americans are inspired by brands’ missions — and the extent to which that inspiration drives active support and purchase.

You might be wondering why this matters. According to a report released by Deloitte, global millennial wealth – driven by inheritance, entrepreneurial activities, and income growth – is anticipated to be $24 trillion, which is about 1.5 times the size of the US economy in 2015! More specifically, according to a 2017 Forbes article, New York, and Los Angeles have the highest number of educated millennials at the metro level. With this amount of consumer buying power in major cities across the country, businesses must adapt by finding creative ways to appeal to a generation demanding sustainable investment and innovative solutions for social problems.  

Since Millennials have the potential and power to turn this trend into a norm for businesses and brands, the traditional ways of doing business are being challenged. The need for reinvention for existing brands is more apparent now more than ever. For instance, 73% percent of millennials and 72% of Gen Z  are willing to pay extra for products and services from companies dedicated to social and environmental change, and 70 percent of Gen Z would actively engage with a brand that could help them make a difference.

According to recent research, 68% of millennials say creating change in the world is a personal goal that they actively pursue and 41% say they have recently taken concrete action like protesting in a march, volunteering in a campaign, or canvassing a neighborhood for signatures.

Does this news excite anyone else about the future of business? This movement is mutually beneficial to brands and the communities it wishes to reach. This is why I was ecstatic when I found out I was selected as a participant for the inaugural class for the first ever FAME program, by Grey and FindSpark.

The program exceeded my expectations and allowed me to finetune my creative and copywriting skills. As a FAME participant, I had the opportunity to create real campaigns for huge brands, and translate my understanding of social impact initiatives and civic engagement into actual brand activations. My final portfolio presentation focused on positioning Vespa as just as trailblazing as the women who ride them. The campaign highlighted women starting and running their own businesses in various industries in cities across the country coupled with an exclusive opportunity to nominate women for and attend pop up panel discussions on the subject. Through the feedback process and guidance from my mentor at Grey, I now have an increased knowledge about ways in which creative branding can strengthen a social impact strategy. Among those:

  • Speaking to customers’ values: A unique branding strategy paired with a social initiative can provide a foundational reputation for a business that resonates with key consumers and drives an increase in revenue.
  • Standing out in the local marketplace: Competition is inevitable. Grey understands this and uses its unique framework, which I had the pleasure of utilizing as a FAME participant, to create campaigns that set companies apart from their competitors.
  • Maximizing a brand’s message: Carrying out an action that has a positive impact on communities is only half the battle. In addition to a well-thought-out and effectively executed plan of action, highlighting the initiative through digital and other platforms to influence people’s perceptions of the action is just as important, if not more important.

These key takeaways have already been leveraged in my current role as a strategic consultant helping businesses navigate the challenges to entering and expanding in the New York market. For example, I am now able to provide more clear art direction for materials that promote the brands of startups I work with by conveying their unique value proposition to New Yorkers.

I look forward to putting the invaluable lessons I received from the FAME program into practice moving forward. Additionally, I am even more excited for the next round of participants who will have the opportunity to take advantage of such a rewarding program!

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