Creative solutions for marketers are exploding worldwide as technology allows new ideas to be managed, produced, and shared with billions of consumers at the click of a button.
As such, creative professionals have become hot property within the marketing industry, with design playing an increasingly important role in campaign and product differentiation. However, while the creative sector has responded positively to new market demands, a divide remains between marketers and creatives.
“Rather than sit in my office waiting for the client to call with his or her long list of deliverables, I would rather be sitting around their boardroom table helping them solve their most difficult business problems,” said Graham Fink, chief creative officer at Ogilvy & Mather China.
His point: Creatives should partner with marketers, instead of suppliers, and be involved with campaigns from their inception.
Fink’s sentiment is mirrored in the “2016 Creative Pulse Asia-Pacific” (PDF) report by Adobe (CMO.com’s parent company). Of the 1,700-plus creatives surveyed from corporations, agencies, and government, “business impact” was ranked as the top measurement of success.
Yet a number of brands throughout the region still see “creativity as a nice-to-have instead of an absolute necessity,” said Nicholas Ye, CEO of Singapore creative firm The Secret Little Agency. This mentality “often sets up a poor foundation for client-agency relationships,” he added.
The Dream Team
Brands such as Apple that have successfully combined their creative and marketing departments from the inception of a product or campaign have realized the success from doing so.
“Apple is a brand that understands creativity and how to apply it, not just in the design of their products but also in their advertising and, in fact, right down to their packaging,” Fink said. “Even if you don't own an Apple device, you still know that the brand oozes quality.”
A top-to-bottom business structure can also interfere with internal-department relations. “For me, we need generalists who have the big visions to bring them together–people who have a good, basic understanding of the specialists’ areas and needs and can roll their sleeves up and get stuck in. [It’s] less hierarchy and more horizontality,” Fink added.
The creative industry appears ready to build on its existing knowledge to inspire big-picture success, according to the “Creative Pulse” report. Nearly three-quarters of respondents said they needed to understand more about what analytics and metrics can do for them as designers. Armed with that data, creatives will be better equipped to bring authentic, personalised ideas to life.
Yet, despite their willingness to learn, creatives said that they’re often concerned about the pace at which they’re expected to up-skill to stay relevant. Access is another issue. The “Creative Pulse” report found more than half of APAC respondents said they lack the resources they need to succeed creatively.
Fink agreed that creatives are faced with the constant upkeep of new design tools and communication channels. “All these different platforms need specialists to work in them, but how do we get all these specialists to talk to each other?” he said.
Brands that can overcome this challenge will have a big advantage. “Creativity can be used to solve any problem,” Fink said. “By using creativity you might decide to redesign the airline food menu to entice people to buy more food and drink, thus helping to offset the price rise. Only by clients allowing agencies to be part of the real business solution can we solve the real business problem.”