Adjusting for Today’s Content Demands?

CreativeContentDemands

Saying that we’re living in challenging times is a vast understatement. Trying to keep pace with changing content demands can rattle anyone. This special AdAge webinar, now viewable on demand, will help you maneuver down a rather tumultuous road with your marketing strategy.

As brands have had to hit the pause button on planned marketing activities like events and OOH, digital creative content demands are unprecedented. Creative teams are now tasked with revising planned campaigns, coming up with new concepts, and updating messaging in existing creative. How do you do that at scale?

It’s time to rise to the occasion: Explore options for stress-free delivery of the content volume you need to carry your brand at this time.

Now for the rebroadcast, sponsored by Celtra.

Speakers:

Eli Chapman

Eli Chapman
SVP of Strategy, Celtra

 

 

View webcast on demand.

 

 

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Creativity: Might Advertising’s Special Sauce Be Turning a Wee Bit Sour?

Although the topics may vary from blog post to blog post here, one central theme usually always emerges: Creativity. Even before the nasty onslaught of the COVID-19 virus outbreak, creativity was quite important and pertinent in our industry. Now, it’s more important than ever.

In reading various articles on the subject of creativity, I found it interesting that the Brits are complaining about its overall effectiveness. One such cautionary study comes from an account manager with M&C Saatchi. Among others, he cited the legendary John Hegarty who called creativity “advertising’s special sauce” partly due to the significant effect it can have on achieving or even surpassing objectives and increasing ROI.Sir John Hegarty Cannes 2016

Advertising, to increase effectiveness, has to appeal to consumers by conveying emotions and helps to build memory structures, allowing them to choose a brand easily and instinctively. Creativity is the best way to convey emotion.

IPA (Institute for Practitioners of Advertising) studies have proven that creativity can increase ROI by 10x. Furthermore, communications that are built upon a foundation of emotion and that eventually become famous can greatly enhance the effectiveness of a campaign. Even with a fairly modest budget but a strong creative idea, a company can enter the public consciousness in a truly unique way.

Taking the idea and backing it with an effective use of budget can create a huge level of earned media, and by becoming news worthy, can generate a great return on investment.

However, creativity does not operate in a vacuum. Numerous other aspects of a campaign contribute to its effectiveness like media spend, and changes in price of products, for example.

That’s why measuring effectiveness with various KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and economic models is so important. Furthermore, as the “Saatchi Study” indicates, it is important to remember that while creativity can act as a multiplier for ROI and other measures, creativity should never be used as a substitute for solid media investment. The best campaigns have a good balance of both.

Clearly, a creative campaign that appeals to the emotional side of peoples brains, is memorable and sparks conversation, eventually entering into public culture can have a great impact on business results. However, creativity is just one very important part of advertising and not the sole means to an end.

But even creativity, as seen in some circles, is meeting with raised eyebrows as its effectiveness is being called into question. Might it be turning a bit sour?

Continue reading

Obsession with Productivity Can Kill Creativity.

Don’t Let It Kill Yours!

How would a “productive day” compare to a “creative day”? What would, if anything, they have in common? Chances are not much.  One might think a productive day would be closely aligned with scratching off items on a to-do list. On the other hand, someone’s idea of a creative day might not even have a to-do list.

475px-The_ScreamOur current work world is obsessed with productivity. We are inundated with books, articles, white papers, to time block this and time block that; all just to do more work. But our relentless quest to be productive is undermining one of the most important abilities in today’s workplace: creativity. What of the future, though? Will machine learning and artificial intelligence perform the routine aspects of our work at the expense of our ingenuity and creativity?

So how do we create the right conditions for creativity, particularly when we are trying to deal with a to-do list?

Consider this comment from screenwriter Aaron Sorkin (the mastermind behind the television show West Wing and films like Moneyball and The Social Network). He told The Hollywood Reporter that he takes six showers a day. “I’m not a germaphobe,” he explains but when his writing isn’t going well, he’ll shower, change into new clothes, and start again. Sorkin’s trade relies on him minting something fresh on a regular basis. And it occurred to him that his best thoughts were not happening in moments of fevered concentration, but when he was in the shower. So he had a shower installed in the corner of his office and makes regular use of it. He has described the process as “a do-over” for triggering original ideas.

In 1939, James Webb Young, a Madison Avenue advertising executive, wrote a definitive guide to the process of creativity, A Technique for Producing Ideas. In this short book, Webb Young reminds us, “that an idea is nothing more nor less than a new combination of old elements.” In his view, the skill of creativity is the ability to spot new connections between familiar thoughts, and the art is “the ability to see [new] relationships.”

Fifty years later, Steve Jobs observed something similar: “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.”

Webb Young also lays out a remarkably simple technique for creative thought. It involves stimulation. Continue reading

New Report Reveals Crisis in Creative Effectiveness

We like to think that every creative execution hits right on target. Well, we know better even when we don’t like to admit it. A recent report from the UK, suggests quite the opposite, that creative effectiveness is being called into question.

UK advertising agencies are fast-paced, dynamic and produce advertising, media and marketing that many consider to be the envy of the world.  One organization that voices their concerns, showcases their work and continuously develops their skills to keep them at the top of their game is the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), incorporated by Royal Charter.

The IPA exists to help members be the best they can be. They set the protocols for the UK industry’s best practice standards. They advise on how to choose an agency, how to run an agency or how to behave if you work in an agency. They also work collaboratively with members to improve diversity within the industry.

So, as this new report makes the rounds of the British ad scene, it will be interesting to see what the reaction is. It will, I dare say, be interesting to watch what, if any, reaction there is here in the US. If anything, the US has always been much more conservative in our approach to advertising compared to the UK. Does that conservatism mean our ads are more effective than theirs. Doubtful. It’s sort of like comparing apples and oranges. Continue reading

“Creativity,” Again, Most In-Demand Soft Skill for 2020, Says LinkedIn!

Not surprisingly, CREATIVITY is once again king of the soft skills for 2020. Based on a LinkedIn Learning report from earlier this year, Creativity was not only the most in-demand soft skill last year, it has retained its place as we move onward in 2020.

Furthermore, LinkedIn said, “Organizations need people who can creatively approach problems and tasks across all business roles, from software engineering to HR”.

LinkedIn Learning researched timely data from their network of over 660+ million professionals and 20+ million jobs to reveal the 15 most in-demand soft and hard skills of 2020. Persuasion, collaboration, adaptability and emotional intelligence rounded out the top five, all skills that demonstrate how we work with others and bring new ideas to the table.  Four of the five most in-demand soft skills remain in their top spots year over year.

The lone exception, LinkedIn noted, was emotional intelligence — defined as the ability to perceive, evaluate and respond to your own emotions and the emotions of others — a newcomer to its list, which “underscores the importance of effectively responding to and interacting with our colleagues.”

The one variation in the most in-demand soft skills list indicates that companies are gravitating toward talent with interpersonal and people-oriented skills. It’s notable that employers are placing more emphasis on emotional intelligence in particular.

The top 5 most in-demand soft skills are: 

#1 Creativity – Same as 2019

Organizations need people who can creatively approach problems and tasks across all business roles, from software engineering to HR. Focus on honing your ability to bring new ideas to the table in 2020.

#2 Persuasion – Same as 2019

Leaders and hiring managers value individuals who can explain the “why.” To advance your career, brush up on your ability to effectively communicate ideas and persuade your colleagues and stakeholders that it’s in their best interest to follow your lead.

#3 Collaboration – Same as 2019

High-functioning teams can accomplish more than any individual—and organizations know it. Learn how your strengths can complement those of your colleagues to reach a common goal.

#4 Adaptability – Same as 2019

The only constant in life—and in business—is change. To stand out in 2020, embrace that reality and make sure to show up with a positive attitude and open-minded professionalism, especially in stressful situations.

#5 Emotional Intelligence – New

Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive, evaluate, and respond to your own emotions and the emotions of others. New to the most in-demand skills list this year, the need for emotional intelligence underscores the importance of effectively responding to and interacting with our colleagues.

Continue reading

Special Edition – Global Quotes: COVID-19, What it Means to the Advertising Industry

In a London-based publication on advertising, Shots conducted Q&A interviews with various agency and production firms around the globe.

They were asked one thing: How are you and your company coping with the current restrictions and what impact do you think they will have on the industry and your business?

In this special edition of Quotes, relating to that question, we hear how businesses are coping, what the potential fallout of this crisis could be, and about the initiatives being put in place to foster creativity during this isolation period. Here are some highlights.

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Recovery will happen, however, many of the brands and clients we work with have other priorities right now and we are very sensitive to this. Sarah Cutler, Director of Partnerships, makemepulse London

Right now, the world is in isolation physically and emotionally – I believe there will be a reaction to this. Simon Hatter, Founder & Creative Director, Rumour Has It Amsterdam

Some are set up for success and, for others, this will be a wake-up call.  Nancy Crimi-Lamanna, Chief Creative Officer, FCB Toronto

The world must keep moving and creative problem-solving has a vital role to play.  James Razzall, President, Advertising North America, Framestore

As crippling as this crisis has been for our industry, finding ways to support brand messaging in a time where consumers are looking to them to give back is a vital role. Justin Wineburgh, CEO & President, Alkemy X

Our Chinese co-workers shared their best practices at a very early stage, both from a business and safety aspects.  The worst scenario would actually be not to come prepared for what’s next. We must help companies and brands to be up and running just before lockdown ends.  Olivier Lefebvre, CEO and Partner at FF Paris

The best response is to think how you, as a brand, can be genuinely useful to people. Sam Walker, ECD, Uncommon London

This will result in less projects and less work and unfortunately, in the long run, put companies out of business. Espen Horn, Executive Producer, Motion Blur Norway

I see this hitting of the pause button not just as a problem but, just possibly, as an amazing opportunity.  Charlie Crompton, Managing Partner & EP, Rogue Films London

Due to the fact that there is zero new business coming in… we also started to develop self-improvement ideas for the whole company.  Patrick Volm-Dettenbach, Executive Producer, ELEMENT E Filmproduktion Germany

The world is also changing how it consumes media. Print will likely take a hit (Playboy was the first to announce it had stopped printing).  Héloïse Hooton, Founder, Hooton Public Relations

Our biggest priority is to relieve the anxiety of everyone in the company. Joseph Bonnici Partner & Executive Creative Director, Bensimon Byrne Toronto

I am convinced that advertisers will have to continue communicating through campaigns/commercials, especially once life returns to normal. Ruben Goots, Founder and EP, Hamlet Belgium

What will never change about our business is that creativity, craft and smart solutions will always win the day. Ari Kuschnir, Founder & Managing Partner, m ss ng p eces

It is simply impossible for any business to survive a period of expenditure with no income over a prolonged period of time. What we don’t want is a lag in getting going again and that is very much the views of the agencies we have spoken to. Spencer Dodd, Joint MD & EP, Merman London

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If this crisis has one upside for entrepreneurs, it will be to force us to focus on essentials, reinvent how we do things in a leaner way.  Simon Cachera, Co-Founder, Victor & Simon Amsterdam

 

 

 

If you liked this post, check out some others here . . .

Today is: International Creativity and Innovation Day

#IAmCreative . . . so there! No, really, are you?

We are all creative. We just approach the process from different perspectives. After all, each one of us is unique and so is our process, our way of thinking.

On this day, slow down and rediscover your own way of creating and relish your creativity. Plus, explore what is highlighted below as well as WCIW’s site for all the events happening around the globe.

Have fun!

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WCIW

 

World Creativity & Innovation Week

If you liked this post, check out these others here.

Copywriters’ Virtual Summit 2020

The American Writers and Artists Institute (AWAI) sends me email frequently. When I read one about a virtual summit for copywriters, I was intrigued. It was free, so I signed up. Fortunately, in registering for this free webinar, I could listen to the four+ hours of its content both live and at my leisure.

Addressing those writers out there, I think this will be well worth your time. Some of the highlights are outlined below as to what you can expect to gain as well as the current version of pricing for various writing projects. So grab a comfy chair, sit back and take a listen. Don’t forget to download the pricing guide for later reference.

10 bits of what you’ll discover….

  • How to deliver the quicker “on demand” content customers want…
  • What Google really wants when it comes to content (and why you can’t fool it…)
  • How to make your blog stand out among over the more than 1 billion blogs on the Internet…
  • Why content curation is hot – and the first step to becoming an in-demand master curator and influencer…
  • The subtle distinctions between regular copywriting and UX copywriting and why it will set you apart as a copywriter…
  • The basic formula from writing successful “chatbot” copy that feels human and why every copywriter will need to learn it…
  • The three types of newsletters you should be pitching to virtually every client you have…
  • The future of long-form video and why tomorrow’s copywriters in some niches will need to learn “Hollywood” scriptwriting and storytelling techniques…
  • Why email is “cool” again — and how copywriters can use email to generate the most sales on a word-for-word basis…
  • COPYWRITERS AND COVID-19!

 

AWAI Virtual Summit

Beginning with a 10,000-foot view of the copywriting industry as it stands today, AWAI’s 2020 State of the Industry Report and Copywriting Pricing Guide offers a deep dive into the immediate “state” of direct response and the copywriting needs of the market.

AWAI 2020 PriceGuide

It starts with the must-read overview “7 Marketing Trends and Predictions for Staying Connected to Your Customers” – where today it’s all about audience focused engagement through video, content, mobile, personalization, search engine “micro moments” and more.

Plus:

  • What’s working best today when it comes to copywriting messaging…
  • The most effective platforms B2B buyers use when making a purchase decision…
  • The most effective copywriting platforms for attracting new customers
  • Marketing channels businesses perceive as most effective…
  • “Going rates” for over 75 copywriting projects – everything from sales letters to PPC campaigns to press releases to e-letters and more.
  • How todays royalties and retainer deals are structured…
  • How to find and recognize a skilled copywriter (if you’re a marketer) and how to know what marketers are looking for (if you’re a copywriter…)
  • How to plan and organize a copywriting project – from what to ask for as a writer, to what to be willing to supply as a marketer…
  • How to provide extraordinary value to your client as a copywriter – and earn more and higher fees in the process…

 

Your comments and feedback would be welcome as I’m interested to learn what you think or thought of this program and how it’s presented. Don’t be bashful, now!

 

When Sending A Hallmark Card Just Won’t Do.

AdWeek Special Report: 6 Tips to Help Creativity and Quarantine Co-Exist

 

In times like these I find it particularly important to share news and helpful information wherever and whenever I come across it. Such is the case with this blog post. Thanks to Adweek and its contributor, Sara Spary for the article on which this blog is based.

In the creative world, we’re used to people getting together, face-to-face, to collaborate and exchange ideas, to, well, create that next great ad or TV commercial. So what does one do when quarantine is the order of the day for just about all the known universe?

Demands for making the abnormal as close to normal abound from clients and prospective ones. Business as usual it’s not. So, how is this all working out thus far?

The trade publication Adweek asked veteran creatives around the world to “share their experiences and advice on how to keep the creative juices flowing from home”—even when COVID-19 is knocking on the front door.

Think Face-to-Face

Since you’re already used to doing this, why stop now?

“We’ve made it a point to keep interactions face-to-face whenever possible. Every meeting, regroup, catch-up, brainstorm session—no matter how big or small—is done through Google Hangouts,” said Ryan Engelbert, creative director at We Are Social New York. “It’s forced us to be even more focused on each other and more accountable for the information and ideas that are being exchanged.”

This feels weird, not to mention a bit awkward

Engelbert’s creative partner and fellow creative director Casey De Pont recommends creatives embrace the occasional awkwardness that comes with video calls, since you never know where such moments may lead.

“Video chat still feels awkward to us as humans,” Du Pont said. “There’s a lot of pressure for maximum productivity and zero wasted time when you’re digitally staring each other down, but creative development doesn’t work that way.”

Not everybody may be used to video chat but not everybody is used to uninterrupted speech in a live conference room meeting either. Goof ups and unintended pauses work the same as if you were humanly in the same room with one another.

“You need the awkward pauses and the space between ideas to let things breathe and develop. The more we can be real people in the virtual space, the more comfortable we’ll become working there,” she said.

Be a Space Cadet

Spending time alone in quarantine gives you the time to quietly explore ideas and concepts without any critics jumping down your throat. You’ve got plenty of space to think out loud if you want.

Droga5 copywriter Gabe Santana like it this way. “I think the best part about working from home is that I can lie down on the floor and say bad ideas out loud without bothering anyone,” Santana said. “Except Germany, of course.”

That would be Germany Lancaster, Droga5 art director, Santana’s creative partner and self-proclaimed homebody. Lancaster prefers to brainstorm alone and mull it all down to a few good concepts “before meshing ideas” with Santana.

“Once I’ve got a couple ideas down, I like to either present them to my partner in a deck or chat through them in hopes that they springboard into something grand. Chatting through ideas always leads to lots of laughs, so that’s definitely a bonus,” Lancaster said.

Establish a Stronger Relationship

Working remotely can really strengthen that and those relationship(s).

For Ludovic Miege, copywriter at Havas Paris, working remotely hasn’t been too much of a problem so far because he and his creative partner, art director Jordan Molina, have worked together for six years.

“For us, working like this is not very complicated because we know how to work together and do not need to see each other to work,” he said. “We can call each other all day long using Facebook, Whatsapp, Gmail, Zoom. We have many ways to communicate and exchange our ideas.

“Because of our long relationship, we know how the other one understands things. You are more efficient when your partnership is strong.”

Have a Flexible Routine

Working remotely can feel odd and awkward to those not used to doing it. Don’t overdo the video conferences and calls just to prove something. Remember, too many conference calls can lead to less time for thinking.

But Madrid-based Javier Campopiano, who recently joined Grey as chief creative officer of Grey Europe and Global, warns this will only lead to burnout. He says keeping structure in your day is important.

“Right now, I try to keep a routine. My kids are not going to school so we don’t need to wake up as usual, but we’re trying to keep the same schedule. I try to exercise on the balcony, because I can’t go for a run—we can get a fine—so I exercise and then shower,” he told Adweek. “I dress up to work, maybe less formally than I usually do, and I sit in front of my computer in my little office here at home.”

So you work in your pajamas. So what?

Depending on what kind of routine one is used to doing, spending the day in your PJ’s may feel very normal. If not, that’s okay, too.

Mariana Albuquerque, a creative copywriter working in Ireland suggests “the main challenge is not being distracted by other people—or animals—in your home, and understanding the time to start working and finishing it,” she said. “Since I’ve been working from home for a week, I’ve created a routine for myself. I do wear comfy PJs, though. It doesn’t make me feel lazy at all. But I do comb my hair in case of a video call.”

Her creative partner and art director, Carina Caye Branco, urges the most important thing of all is open communication.

“Communication is key, and trying to organize our day and tasks. Be online all the time, or at least tell your partner if you need to go offline and how long,” she said. “And keep a record of everything you’re thinking/doing. [That has] been proving really helpful for us.”

Sara Spary is a freelance journalist based in London. She’s been a reporter for eight years, covering advertising and consumer brands.

Crisis Coping for Creative Pros – Part 3 of 3

Over the past two blog posts about crisis coping, we’ve listened in on a conversation between the author, Ellyn Kail, and photographer Danny Ghitis about various methods to cope for creatives who have been entangled in the Coronavirus pandemic.

In this, the third and last post of the series, they explore what it’s like finding a sense of community during these very scary times.

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In the last two weeks, I have received more than two dozen emails about the temporary closures of galleries and studio spaces amid the coronavirus pandemic. I’ve received several more about canceled exhibitions. This is a period of uncertainty for the photography community as a whole, but in this time, we’ve also witnessed people coming together.

In between those letters about closures and cancelations, there have also been emails from artists who are hosting camera giveaways, publishers who are discounting their books, and non-profit organizations who are offering free talks and photog resources.

Globally, photographers are sharing information about how we can donate supplies to local hospitals and encouraging us all to practice social distancing for the safety and well-being of the community.

Over the past week, we’ve spoken to the photographer and professional development coach Danny Ghitis about how creatives can cope during this time and continue to create meaningful work in unprecedented circumstances.

Photography, like any art form, can be a solitary pursuit, but it’s also full of communities and resources. With all the recent gallery closures and exhibition cancellations, how can photographers stay connected and engaged with one another?

“This is so crucial. One of the main causes of my own burnout was a feeling of isolation as a photographer, and that was way before all this coronavirus mayhem. We are wired to need other people. That lone wolf photographer icon can be really damaging because it makes asking for help look like a weakness when, in reality, it’s a superpower.

“In a way, this moment offers a unique opportunity. Everyone is struggling with the same overarching challenge. Everyone needs help, and we have the technology to easily stay in touch. We’re not as spread thin as usual with a thousand networking events, galleries, meetings, etc. So reach out, offer support, provide feedback, invite conversation, have a virtual coffee, host a roundtable discussion.”

Has the creative community faced any upheavals like this one in recent years, if not on the same scale? If so, what can we learn from that time, and how can we apply those lessons to the here and now?

“I graduated from college with a photojournalism degree in 2006, the year before the iPhone hit the market and changed everything. The newspaper bureau where I interned closed a couple months after I arrived (not my fault, I swear!). I started my freelance career at the same time as the 2008 financial meltdown.

“Somehow, I made it work and grew as a human and professional. And guess what, I’m not that special. Human beings are resilient by evolutionary design. We’ve outlasted and overpowered nearly every other living organism and are capable of incredible adaptation. If you’re reading this and you’re human, you already have the tools you need inside your body.”

What are some ways you see the creative community coming together right now to support and help one another? Any moments that have given you hope?

“All of a sudden we’re in it together. We have a common struggle and purpose. We’re thinking collectively like a tribe like in the good old prehistoric days. Of course, we don’t wish sickness and suffering upon anyone and hope this goes away soon, but it does offer a unique opportunity to see the big picture.

“I keep getting emails and social media posts about virtual gatherings and support groups, and I am getting more messages than usual from friends checking in. I just started an online meetup group, and there are lots of others out there if you’re willing to search. It’s all about taking initiative and reaching out.”

How would you advise photographers and other creatives who suddenly have a lot of free time on their hands?

“This can be viewed as a great opportunity because we’re being forced to evaluate how to spend our time wisely. First, the mindset work. If you’re not in a good state of mind, it’s very hard to be focused and productive. If you want business results, practice self-care. Remember how flight attendants demonstrate putting on your oxygen mask first? Same deal. Take care of yourself to take care of others.

“Ask yourself, ‘How can I serve?’ It’s easy to get caught up in self-centered problem solving during a crisis, while orienting toward service can be more effective in creating action and will make you feel better. What do others need, and what skills do you have that can help them?”

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We are truly living in unprecedented times. Deadly times. History has recorded plagues, wars, and various catastrophes yet we’ve managed to survive. Granted, the planet has lost life in measurable means before but we’ve never faced a global pandemic like this before. I guess, in a sense, this could be compared to chemical warfare on a global scale from an invisible enemy.

Yet, we will live on. We will create and innovate. We have to do that now to find a vaccine to nullify the virus so we may begin to get used to a new normal. Things won’t be the same since we won’t be the same, those of us who will survive. But we will. We have to. Together. Smarter. Stronger. More persistent. Less partisan.

Wait, what’s that? It’s creativity knocking at the door. Let’s welcome her in, shall we!

 

This is part three of three of our interview with Danny Ghitis. Here are parts one and two.