So far in the “State of the Creative” series, we’ve heard from Chief Creative Officer’s at: Ogilvy & Mather North America, Weber Shandwick, and GREY. This week we continue to examine what it means to be a creative in today’s world…
I sat down with Adam Kerj, Chief Creative Officer at 360i, to discuss the state of the creative today.
In this new era of data and technology, what has been the fundamental change for creatives?
We have more insight into consumer behavior than ever before, and we are living in a world exploding with content that needs to resonate for consumers to care and to be inspired to share. Creatives are now using digital and social media as a powerful creative canvas. To get to better creative and high-quality experiences, requires more collaboration in the creative process and the ability to build ideas and stories across touch points. But ultimately, it’s still about big, simple ideas. Consumers don’t fall in love with technology, they in love with great ideas and great storytelling.
What does it mean to be a creative today?
Creatives today can have a bigger impact on their clients’ businesses. Marketers and their creative partners have opportunities to create completely new products and services that are integrated in to the DNA of the marketing ecosystem. That’s a space where Creatives in the past didn’t have access to, but thanks to technology, user experience (UX), creativity and data coming together, creatives today can make a huge contribution to a client’s businesses.
How important is it for a creative to understand data?
Data is incredibly important, because from data we get to the insights, behaviors, and ideas that will take creativity to new levels. Even more important is asking the right questions upfront and agreeing on the deliverables, so that creative ideas add relevant and actionable value. Data is great for informing and giving context to creatives. In addition, data is now getting to the point where it helps predict what is going to be trending, giving brands a cultural edge in the always on world of consumers.
Is it harder to be a creative today in this world now?
I think it’s a more exciting time to be a creative. The only thing that is constant in today’s world is change, so creatives must be curious and able to adapt to rapid changes in consumer behavior and technology. Now it’s more important to know the tools, platforms and best practices, but there’s huge opportunity to blur the spaces and connect how we use digital, social, experiential, and traditional as creative storytellers. This requires creatives to understand how an idea integrates paid, owned and earned media, and how to connect the dots between platforms. It also means creatives must be in tune with the strengths and weaknesses of the context and environments in which ideas come to life. What remains the same is that you still have to be a great storyteller, no matter how many tools and platforms you have access to.
In the market today, what does it mean to be the best, and what does it take?
We look at where we’re setting the bar. We can set the bar based on what everybody else in the industry is doing, or we can look at where consumer behavior going and say, “Let’s get there.” It means that you need to take fresh approaches to ideation and to embrace an open-source approach to the creative process, while staying in tune with clients. Great storytelling draws you in and keeps you coming back for more. That will never change. The difference today is that to be the best, the context is everything.
What is the coolest object in your office?
I have to say it’s the graffiti on one of the walls that one of my kids created. It helps remind me why I’m in this business.