For the “State of the Creative” series, we’ve heard from Chief Creative Officer’s at: Ogilvy & Mather North America, Weber Shandwick, GREY, 360i, and R/GA.

For my final post, I turn to StrawberryFrog – a New York City Advertising Agency – to get their thoughts. Drum roll, please…

In my final post regarding the “State of the Creative,” I sat down with StrawberryFrog to discuss the state of the creative today with the agency’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Scott Goodson and Chief Creative Officer, Kevin McKeon.


In this new era of data and technology, what has been the fundamental change for creatives?

Scott: Well, there are new possibilities for creatives today compared to when I founded StrawberryFrog in 1999. You can be a creative in NYC working on say Emirates Airline based in Dubai, for the global consumer. At the same time there’s a massive amount of noise and, increasingly, a wall of indifference. No one cares about a brand. It is not loved. It is not important. That is unless you can make a brand relevant to people’s lives, or the way they understand things. If you can make a brand speak in a voice that can resonate inside them and it speaks the truth that they recognize then suddenly people want to share that brand with their friends. Once that happens, it’s like a wildfire spreading. No one cares about a brand unless you find a way to speak to why you care about it. That’s why we love to do movement marketing.

What does it mean to be a creative today?

Scott: Having awesome drive, being curious, never giving up, asking more beautiful questions (thanks Warren Berger), and being collaborative. Sometimes clients have great ideas. Being a creative today also means being able to use persuasive power to push off walls and limitations, to believe in yourself and your own ideas. Creatives are phenomenal writers: They said in the early days of the Internet that the written word would disappear. Thanks to Twitter and blogs – it’s back with a vengeance.

How important is it for a creative to understand data?

Kevin: Well, clearly, the industry, and communication in general, is becoming more data driven. And that data is telling us a lot about the people we need to connect with – where they are, what they’re doing, how they behave and engage with brands. And everything we do, creatively, is about connecting with these people. So, yes, it’s critically important that creatives understand this data. Because it’s not about data, not really – it’s still about behavior, people, and what makes them tick.

Is it harder to be a creative in this world today?

Kevin: I’m not sure I’d say harder, but definitely different. It requires a different, broader skill-set. It’s still about big, inspiring ideas, but you can’t just sit back and rely on what you know, the things you’ve been successful doing for the past five years or ten years. You can no longer just rely on your intuition, on your gut instincts as a so-called “creative person.” Now you have to be part strategist, part sociologist, part technology geek, part explorer, always moving, looking for something new. I think, in a way, you have to be smarter.

In the market today, what does it mean to be the best, and what does it take?

Kevin: Well, I’m a bit of a purist, so let me start by saying it’s still about brilliant thinking. Beyond that, there’s really no single formula to being “the best.” Being the best is about achieving to some extraordinary degree what you personally set your sights on, so it’s not the same for everyone. The best storyteller, the best designer, the best at tapping into something deep and emotionally powerful, the best at selling in a great idea, the best at understanding what makes consumers tick, the best at understanding how to keep up with and humanize technology… It would be nice to be the best at all these things, but that’s a lot to ask. So start somewhere. Do everything in your power to be the best at one thing, and you’ll always be in demand in this crazy, evolving business.

What is the coolest object in your office?

Our StrawberryFrog rooftop deck looking over Manhattan. It’s great for client meetings, brainstorming, and parties. It’s directly across from the New York Life, Credit Suisse buildings and Madison Square Park.