Coca-Cola’s Jonathon Mildenhall is a Senior Vice President of Integrated Marketing Communications and Design Excellence for North America.

He was recently interviwed for an advertising and marketing magazine and stated:

‘Creativity is a competitive advantage.’

The evidence?

Mildenhall pointed out that Coca-Cola’s share price has risen 130pc to an all-time high since its embrace of creativity.

‘Creativity and commercial success go hand in hand,’ says Mildenhall. ‘The data is bullet proof.’

What caught my eye in the interview was his insight that everyone should be involved in creativity and his description of what it takes to become a more creative leader.

I have repeated these below.

I agree with all these aspects and in particular I love his use of language to describe creativity e.g. soul, distort reality (ala Steve Jobs), energy, optimistic etc.

There is none of your traditional, business school language here.

The key dimensions of a creative leader are:

– Creative directors are the soul of the company or brand they lead

– They amplify the creativity in everyone they work with

– They distort reality and make the impossible seem possible

– They are relentlessly optimistic, exuding positive, infectious energy

– They create a culture of curiosity, never stop asking or learning, and have the best questions

– They establish trust, honesty and belief by giving away credit

– They make unpopular calls to do the right thing by the work

– They inspire risk

– They celebrate success and failure.

I love this list.

It is simple, inspiring and can genuinely help any leader to become more effective at their craft.

What’s more it highlights that creativity really does drive success and that at the centre of an innovative brand and business is always leadership.

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