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Driving Creative Excellence.

From Vision to Execution.

Carla Hassan became global CMO of Citi at the end of 2020, just before Jane Fraser became CEO in early 2021. A strategic priority was to break down internal silos resulting from the variety and number of business lines and offices around the globe. Citi marketers also had varying levels of interaction with creative agencies, depending on role and function. Creative knowledge levels ranged from more introductory to strong expertise.

Carla wanted to strategically bring together leaders from across the Citi marketing community, in order to share her vision of Creativity as a growth driver, and get everyone aligned around it. She called on LIONS and LIONS’ Creative Excellence Consultant Cinzia Morelli-Verhoog to equip Citi marketers all over the world with the knowledge and tools needed to continue elevating their work, their marketing community and their brand. With new leadership at the helm and a new vision for the firm, the time was right to re-evaluate Citi’s brand positioning, brand promise, and brand creative look and feel. The inputs from LIONS were well timed for this important strategic & creative work.

The Cannes Lions Creative Excellence Workshop was rolled out globally across 23 countries and 250 thoughtfully selected marketers across all channels and of all seniority levels, as well as key agency partners, in a total of four deployments. Each deployment involved a 4-day workshop of 4 hours each day, with between 50 to 100 participants each session. The workshop was positioned as a unique development opportunity to take part in. The workshop itself was put together conjointly by Citi and LIONS, providing an ideal balance of key LIONS content readjusted and tailored to Citi’s specific needs, without compromising its authenticity. Each day was wrapped up by a senior marketer providing a recap of key learnings for the day.

Initial results from the internal post-workshop survey indicate that 95% of participants found the workshop valuable, with some expressing how lucky they felt to have taken part or how amazing an opportunity this was. Overall, Citi is already seeing an improvement in awareness around the impact of creativity and changed mindsets.

250 attendees across 4 deployments

1st global creativity training offered across entire enterprise

95% of survey respondents found the workshop valuable

Citi has identified three key next steps as an outcome of the workshops:

  • Redesigning creative briefs to make them more universal & aligned to LIONS best practices
  • Introducing internal Creative Awards, to recognize creative achievement
  • Developing a Creative Council to further embed these practices.

Key concepts and learnings were also pulled from the leave-behind decks by individual managers and relayed back to team members who couldn’t attend original deployments, following a train-the-trainer model.

Citi recognizes that driving meaningful change in their culture and creative approach is an ongoing commitment. The focus this year is very much on learning and bringing the community together. As these changes are implemented, the team is optimistic about seeing a tangible impact on the brand.

“It allowed us to participate and apply the theory learnt on real life examples which made it more beneficial”

“Extremely satisfied. Definitely worthwhile. Major thanks to the team for organizing and to our leaders for allowing us this opportunity.”

“I really enjoyed the consistent integration of video examples. It really brought the educational/informational components to life. Really interesting to break down the characteristics of creativity through impact, insightfulness, emotion, and fame. I can remember those four pillars off the top of my head because of how helpful and digestible it was.”