Return on Creativity

A striking advertising campaign is all well and good, but what about the results achieved? A sound communication plan may look wonderful on paper, but does it also have the desired effect? The Return on Creativity research project undertaken by the Marketing, Market Research and Innovation research group has provided advertising and communication agencies from the SME sector with some guidelines for measuring the effectiveness of their work.

Advertising and communication agencies are increasingly expected to work in an accountable manner. They need to be able to demonstrate the effectiveness of their campaigns. That is what the clients want, and of course the agencies want to achieve this goal too, but smaller agencies in particular may lack the time and resources to put good accountability practices in place. Guidelines for how to do this were lacking. It was for this reason that the Marketing, Market Research and Innovation research group began this research project, working in collaboration with the Faculty of Communication & Journalism of the HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht as well as eight communications consultancies from the Creative Connection. The two-year research programme was brought to a conclusion in November 2013 with a symposium at which the book containing its findings was presented. 


The research project has provided an instrument by which to measure the effectiveness of communication. The agencies were also given help in setting up and deploying communication campaigns. The result is an approach to accountability for the creative industries entitled De Utrechtse School (The Utrecht School), or DUS.


The DUS! Model serves as a manual for a systematic way of working that can be used to set up communication campaigns in a structured fashion in order to guarantee the effectiveness of communication. DUS! proposes a broader perspective on accountability, and it consists of four phases:

  1. strategic phase (formulate objectives and develop campaign strategy)
  2. tactical phase (translate the strategy into the correct approach)
  3. operational phase (carry out marketing and communication activities)
  4. results: ascertain the effects achieved and evaluate the results


A follow-up to the project was launched in December 2013 in the form of the DUS! Board project.

Further details

  • Return on Creativity e-book
  • Return on Creativity project site
  • Anna Cox



Marketing, Market Research and Innovation

Marketing, Market Research and Innovation

About the Research Group