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From ideas to impact: How Houle and Lessard translate inspiration into creative success

Olivier Houle, Media Strategy Supervisor, and Thierry Lessard, Head of Data and Technology at Cartier, were named finalists in the media category of the Global Young Lions competition last month.


How do you define creativity in the context of your industry, and how has that definition evolved over time?

Creativity is something you feel rather than describe. It’s that feeling you get when you’re exposed to an idea, a concept or an ad, and you think, “How could anyone have thought of that?” In our industry, creativity is propelled by new ideas, new media and the quest for relevant originality, while always remaining relevant and meaningful to our clients’ business needs.

How do you stay ahead of the curve when it comes to identifying emerging trends and innovative ideas in your field?

Olivier: For me, inspiration can come in many forms. Everyday life is a big source of insights and inspiration when it comes to ideas for campaigns. We also like to look at award-winning works and identify the insights that led to this work and why it was effective.

Thierry: In addition to looking at others’ brilliant work, I tend to explore interdisciplinary ideas and opportunities by staying up to date with new technologies, scientific breakthroughs and global and regional concerns. These fields usually keep me focused on things that matter the most and often fuel my motivation.

Can you share a specific example of a project or campaign where unconventional thinking led to remarkable creative outcomes?

We had some insights coming from unexpected places. For example, in our Young Lions Canada case, legislation (which can sometimes be considered restrictive and uninspiring) led us to find a creative and simple solution to a much more complex problem.

How do you balance the need for creativity with the practical considerations of budget, timelines and client expectations?

Olivier: Some people have a ground rule of leaving a certain percentage of their plans to test new ideas, channels, creativity, or partnerships. I think it’s a good way to start. Sometimes we love to pitch certain ideas to our clients and focus more on the outcome that idea would generate, rather than how much it will cost. This often leads to very nice campaigns that generate amazing results.

Thierry: The only way to truly provide the best work is by being proactive and thinking about a client’s communication and marketing beyond the usual briefs. A good idea will always find its way, whether it revolves around a brief or not. It’s about caring for the client every day of the year.

In your experience, what are some of the most effective strategies for fostering a culture of creativity within a team or organization?

It starts with how leadership values and promotes creativity in everyday work. Creativity is not the responsibility of one or two people; it’s everybody’s responsibility to pitch ideas. Leadership should create a safe space where everyone in the organization feels confident enough to share their ideas.

How do you measure the success of a creative campaign or project, and what metrics do you consider most important in evaluating its impact?

At Cartier, the most important measure of creative success is moving the needle for our clients. Yes, we want to be creative, but always in a meaningful way. A campaign can be beautiful, a media plan can be extraordinary, but the bottom-line question we always ask ourselves is: Did this campaign help our clients reach their goals? Did it generate actual value for their brand or cause? If the answer is no, even if we were ‘creative’ per se, we know we haven’t fully met the creative expectations we set for ourselves.

View the Work

You can view Thierry and Olivier’s work from Cannes Lions 2023, “Crafting the Future” here, and their gold-winning work from the Canadian Young Lions Competitions, “Consent to Conserve” here.

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