Point of view: Brand innovation can lift Euro gloom

John Woodward
Publicis Worldwide

Since this is my last Admap column, I thought it would be good to devote it to 'How Planning Can Help Solve the European Financial Crisis'. A tall order, you might say. I'm not so sure.

First of all, though there is a European financial crisis, I tend to believe that a financial solution won't be sufficient. In fact, like most people who have spent any time outside Europe (and unlike most politicians) I believe the crisis is mostly a symptom of a much deeper competitiveness problem, about which nobody is talking at all.

It's no longer just a cost of production issue, dictated by rigid labour laws (although that is also a problem). Europe, quite simply, is no longer creating the new business ideas and new industries that used to give it competitive advantage. The International Advertising Association recently surveyed leading executives on which countries were strongest in 'idea creation'. The US was top, followed by India, China and Brazil. The list was similar for where the next global brands would come from.