Last month, Smartly.io’s Creative Studio team took part of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Besides winning two Facebook Storyteller Awards, our team attended many inspiring sessions. Here are our top five learnings for performance marketers:
Creative Drives Business
It’s a no brainer: creative is one of the main drivers to performance marketing. However, understanding and quantifying its actual impact is one of the challenges marketers face. Unfortunately, there’s no consistent way to measure a win in the creative world or what “winning” means when it comes to great ads.
The industry is also aware that the effectiveness of creativity has fallen to its lowest level in last the 24 years as the marketing industry is shifting to more short-term campaigns. The transformation is a wake-up call for the creative industry. And, as brands are growing more dissatisfied with creative agencies’ work, they establish in-house creative teams.
Experiences Are The Future of Creativity
Advertising the way we know is dead. Content velocity, the decreasing attention span, the ascent of new media, and building creativity at scale and based on insights are some of the challenges that creativity faces.
According to Ivy Ross VP of Design, Google Devices & Services, and David Droga, Founder and Creative Chairman of Droga5, brands need to build experiences for their consumers, if they want to stay relevant. David Droga does not see the distinction between creativity and technology. Quite the contrary - he predicts that technology and creative firms will merge in the coming years.
Bringing Data and Creativity Together
Brands that have both sides of the advertising brain connected have enormous advantages: they can build more holistic campaign strategies that lead to better results. The million-dollar question is, how can brands bring these two sides together? In a meet-up with Mark Phillips, Expert Associate Partner at McKinsey Digital Labs, we discussed how to integrate data and creativity.
The first step is debriefing and getting both sides of the brain to understand your campaign's KPIs and objectives. Second, you need the teams to align and build the anatomy of a data-inspired creative - the goal is to design prototypes and an iterative data loop system between them. Once you have the data loop system in place, you’ll be able to analyze the data to identify trends. Once you have collected all the data, the creative team can work on ideation and storytelling. It’s all about humanizing the data.
The biggest pain point is identifying the data sets that matter. How do we get creative about how we use data? Creative teams should identify the big problems while the Data Scientists look into the data or create new data sets - these teams should invest in improving their collaboration.
However, using data and analyses as decision-making factors can sometimes lead to creative paralysis. To overcome that, we need to value our intuition as another form of data: it knows what our conscious mind doesn’t. It’s the highest form of intelligence by helping us connect the dots.
Say Bye to Influencers and Welcome Content Creators
How can brands engage in a conversation with the youth? A few speakers discussed the need for brands to be daring and bold and to work together with creators. Tap into existing user behaviors - we have seen how UGC drives excellent results for the video platform TikTok, for example.
You’ll notice that the way things have been done traditionally won’t cut it anymore. Millennials and Generation Z are generations for whom representation really matters. Strive to become a part of the feedback loop to stay relevant.
Got Another Second for Me?
Probably not! During the festival, many sessions focused on our short attention span and how it is getting scarcer and scarcer. Getting, holding, and using attention is the fundamental challenge that we have to beat with creativity. But, no need for panic - a short attention span is not a novelty. In the old days, you could flip a magazine page with your eyes scanning through the pages much faster than 3 seconds. Look back in time to determine how to capture attention today. Make the format your friend. Instead of taking a 30-second spot and trimming it down to 6 seconds, start with a 6-second limit, and build content that fits. The only way to catch and hold our audience's attention is to be creative.