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Ever wondered how consultancy can help you? Whether you’re a startup looking to make your mark or an established company seeking fresh perspectives, partnering with a creative consultancy can be a game-changer. In various industries, it’s common to collaborate with external consultants to support specific projects or achieve long-term development goals. From creating brand propositions to optimizing IT systems or even determining the perfect location for garbage cans in theme parks, the world of consultancy is vast and varied.

The Unique Value of Creative Consultants

A great consultant views your business from an outside perspective, without prejudice. They are genuinely interested in understanding your creative and commercial journey, and they ask the right questions. They bring a wealth of talent, experience, and expertise to support all aspects of your growth and development.

So, why don’t more creative businesses work with consultants? The answer might lie in the traditional roles within the creative industry. Most creative companies are either manufacturers or retailers, while consultants are neither. Let me explain.

Bridging the Gap Between Creativity and Commerce

Manufacturers create art, products, or experiences to sell, and retailers package those creations to sell at a profit. Consultants, on the other hand, share their knowledge, insights, and experience to support both manufacturers and retailers.

When we started Illuminatus, people often asked if we were agents, producers, or product sellers. We are none of those things. Instead, we help businesses develop in a way that positions them to achieve their desired outcomes, figure out what work they want to pursue, or learn how to plan effectively.

The Role of Creative Consultants: Research and Planning

Without a clear cultural reference point, it can be challenging to explain what a creative consultant does for your business. Let’s look at two critical areas: research and planning. These might not sound glamorous, but they are essential for driving your company’s growth.


In many companies, research and development are not clearly defined functions. Ideas might stem from a creative’s vision, past successes, or trends they observe in the market. However, few companies conduct thorough market research to understand trends and, more importantly, identify gaps.

For instance, a manufacturing company hired a brand consultancy to refresh their brand identity and messaging. This strategic move allowed them to reduce marketing collateral costs by $1.5 million per year through more focused, unified branding across all channels. Consistent branding reduced redundancies and streamlined their marketing efforts.

Our experience with businesses that use research has convinced us of its value. We share our research findings with clients to inform creative and commercial decisions and to demonstrate the importance of knowledge and preparation in developing a creative business. How can you pitch to a client if you don’t know as much as possible about their business?

Branding and Identity Development

Creative consultants can craft a compelling brand identity, including the company’s name, logo, visual elements, messaging, and tone of voice. A strong brand differentiates the company and resonates with its target audience, ensuring brand consistency across all touchpoints.

Marketing and Advertising Strategies

Creative consultancies develop innovative marketing campaigns and advertising concepts that capture attention and drive engagement. They leverage their expertise in storytelling, design, and consumer psychology to create impactful promotions.

Product Design and Innovation

With their creative problem-solving abilities, consultants contribute fresh ideas for new product development, design improvements, and enhancing user experiences. They bring an outside perspective to spark innovation.

Digital and Content Strategy

Creative firms help companies establish a strong digital presence through website design, social media strategies, content creation (videos, blogs, etc.), and optimizing the customer journey across digital channels.

Business Strategy and Growth Planning

By providing an objective viewpoint, creative consultants identify opportunities, challenges, and potential pivots to drive business growth. They develop creative strategies aligned with the company’s goals.

Cost Savings and Efficiency

Rather than maintaining large in-house creative teams, companies can engage consultancies for specific projects or ongoing support, providing expertise on-demand while controlling costs. Their fresh perspectives can also uncover operational efficiencies.

Real-World Examples of Consultancy Impact

Let’s delve deeper into some real-world examples of how creative consultancy can transform businesses:

  1. Rebranding Success: A mid-sized apparel company faced declining sales due to an outdated brand image. By engaging a creative consultancy, they redefined their brand identity, revamped their logo, and refreshed their marketing materials. This transformation resulted in a 30% increase in sales within six months, demonstrating the power of a strong, cohesive brand.
  2. Innovative Product Development: A tech startup struggled with product differentiation in a crowded market. A creative consultant helped them identify unique features and develop a user-friendly design that stood out. The result? A product that not only attracted significant investor interest but also won several industry awards.
  3. Optimized Digital Presence: An established retail chain needed to enhance its online presence to compete with e-commerce giants. A creative consultancy developed a comprehensive digital strategy, including a website redesign, social media campaigns, and SEO optimization. This approach led to a 50% increase in online sales and improved customer engagement.
  4. Strategic Growth Planning: A family-owned restaurant wanted to expand but was unsure of the best approach. A creative consultant provided insights into market trends, identified potential locations, and developed a detailed growth strategy. The restaurant successfully opened three new locations within a year, each performing exceptionally well.

The Consultant’s Toolkit

Creative consultants bring a diverse set of tools and methodologies to the table. Here are some key elements of their toolkit:

  • Market Research and Analysis: Understanding the market landscape, customer preferences, and competitive dynamics.
  • Creative Brainstorming Sessions: Facilitating ideation workshops to generate innovative ideas.
  • Design Thinking: Applying a human-centered approach to problem-solving and innovation.
  • Brand Audits: Assessing the current brand’s strengths and weaknesses to develop a cohesive strategy.
  • Content Creation: Crafting compelling content that resonates with the target audience.
  • Performance Metrics: Setting KPIs and using data analytics to measure the impact of creative strategies.

The Future of Creative Consultancy

As the business landscape continues to evolve, the role of creative consultants will become even more crucial. Companies that embrace the expertise and fresh perspectives offered by consultants will be better positioned to navigate challenges, seize opportunities, and drive sustainable growth.

Embracing Innovation

The pace of technological advancement means that companies must continually innovate to stay relevant. Creative consultants, with their outside-the-box thinking and deep industry knowledge, can help businesses embrace new technologies and implement innovative solutions.

Adapting to Market Changes

The market is constantly changing, and companies need to adapt quickly. Creative consultants provide the agility and flexibility needed to respond to market shifts, ensuring that businesses remain competitive.

Fostering a Culture of Creativity

A strong culture of creativity is essential for long-term success. Creative consultants can help foster this culture by encouraging experimentation, promoting collaboration, and providing the tools and frameworks needed to support creative thinking.


Partnering with a creative consultancy offers a wealth of benefits for businesses of all sizes and industries. From strategic insights and innovative ideas to cost savings and efficiency gains, the value of creative consultancy is immense. By leveraging the expertise of creative consultants, companies can build distinctive brands, engage customers, and drive sustainable growth.