All creative renaissance in the timeline of history have been centred on and driven by technology – from the very beginning, with Gutenberg’s printing press in 1440 that allowed mass communication to the pit-stop of radical change for music in the 1960s, with playback becoming a possibility up until now – where boomerangs on Instagram appear “sponsored”, creative ideas have been, and are being transformed into art and consequently, into money.
Marketing in general not only touches human experience in encompassing ways, it quite well governs it. The pace at which the digital age is consuming consumers is blistering, the proliferation of technology and scalable, accessible media forest-fire rapid. From morning twitter feed scrolling to gazing mindlessly at billboards, the human brain is now a receptacle of receiving ideas (that tell you what to buy!)
It’s true, nothing is more efficient than creative advertising. Creative advertising is, for a fact, more long lasting, more cost effective, and more memorable – building fan communities and “following” in hours. Money invested in a highly creative campaign will undoubtedly create nearly double the impact of a non-creative one. Whether it be advertising, content marketing or just about any marketing service, one of the greatest values that can be brought on the table for competition and for clientele is creativity.
Of course, the right budget, investments, harnessing performance and precision targeting are important standards that exert substantial influence on business value today, but the unequivocal and biggest influence on businesses is creativity. And not just creating easy display copies, but creating engaging campaigns whose content make consumers actively seek the heart of the approach. Basically, the whole content experience is more impactful than the sum of its individual parts, so the more entertaining and valuable the content, the more connected its content-the more fluid and vivid consumer experience, stronger is the business impact.
Connected consumer brand experiences – that’s what clients are seeking when they say they’re seeking ‘creativity’ today. Not just possessing the power of a great idea is enough, but also the ability to design and amplify one.
And that is basically the job description for a creative agency. There’s one mantra for success, however, and that is making sure the creative juices don’t run dry.
Now chastely borrowing from the work of American Psychologist Joy Paul Guilford, there are five dimensions to creativity in a creative agency. There are
Fluency refers to the number of relevant ideas proposed in response to a given question. A client poses you a question, or even a demand, how many feasible and clever ideas can you come up with? That is a measure of fluency.
This measures how unique, one-of-a-kind, out-of-the-box and simply uncommon the ideas generated are. How rare or surprising it is, how possibly far it can run from the obvious and (shudders) the cliché.
Elaboration refers to the amount of detail and description given in response to a question, how much of the said relevant and original idea can be extensively elucidated and elaborated.
An easy example for a measure of abstraction could be the degree to which a slogan produced or campaign idea or even a product name moves beyond being concrete. We’re talking wacky to Kandinsky, weird or complex, the audience loves anything beyond a cement stamp and the obvious.
And lastly, 5) Resistance to premature closure
Which is the basic idea of longevity of a idea, measuring the ability to consider several and various factors when coming up with an idea. This ability means factoring in all possibilities of failure or fizzling out of an idea- ensuring at once resistance to premature endings.
It’s understood that ads, social media campaigns or any simple marketing service with a high level of artistic and aesthetic creativity definitely has more appeal. Visualise your favourite ad, it’s sure to be verbally and visually pleasing – with the colour palette, soundtrack, graphics and production quality all impressive. In today’s less is more approach, the most minimal is seen to have highest artistic value. What a wonderful time for creative agencies! It’s quite possibly the ‘B’ of the ABC of creative agencies- make sure you have talent that knows how to build aesthetic appeal and make sure you choose the right models.
Now as a creative agency with enough creativity, motivation and grit – it’s assured that quality content will be produced. But as clients continually demand new ideas to meet their goals, you need some fresh ideas. If your creative agency’s only creative account of minds is your internal team- you could be in trouble, or at worst, burnout and stagnancy. If there’s a team of freelance writers there’s already a team at hand ready to provide you with creative assistance as and when needed.
Using freelancers this way offers a community of fresh minds- a whole community of writers employed to provide your team with a steady supply of creativity and probably equipped with key experience in the industries of your clients. Freelancers are primarily used when an agency’s hands are too full, and they need some quick boxes to be checked off. This is far too often a wrong approach to freelancers, as they should be seen as a strategic resource- crayon cannons if you will, instead of a tactical resource only. For best possible results, freelancers should be seen as capable of contributing generously to the talent pool. They are an asset to the creative process, and thereby effectively involved where their hearty participation can make a great difference in client satisfaction, prevention of creative burnout or stagnancy, and even business growth.
Compared to 2016, 70% of organisations say they are going to be producing more content than before in 2017. This spells one thing- more and more businesses will be looking to agencies to cultivate an increasingly different, and diverse spectrum of quality, engaging content. When these clients enlist your agency to develop this fresh content, it’s the agency’s turn to look to freelancers. At the outset of the agency’s relationship with new clients, new content ideas are sure to flow easily and well, but the only way to ascertain this flow doesn’t cease is keeping the ammunition of a go-to team of freelancers and content developers to fall back on.
Now the second most obvious thing to ensure a steady fluidity of creative thought and ideas in an agency after outsourcing some work is to equip freelancers with the necessary tools to perform their best and guarantee high-quality results.
First of all, be it your internal team or your community of writers, to effectively create a content calendar for clients, it’s necessary to research past content, discuss goals and eventually agree on a tone, tenor and a strategy that is befitting of the client’s goals, budget and special needs. It’s highly necessary that this background inspection and the consequent information generated is shared with the involved freelancers.
This is mandatory for them to be able to understand their audience and the goals they’re looking to assist better. It’s only when they know what their audience likes to and wants to consume that they can cook up a fresh batch of ideas or strategies.
Apart from radical and invigorating ideas, it’s necessary to support creativity with logically follow ups. These have to be inclusive steps for implementation of the developmental strategy and ultimate success. The updates necessary are:
Know your client
It’s imperative for everyone to the persona of the buyers, to know what and whom to serve, and then move and create accordingly.
What stage is the buyer at
Content requires being optimised for specific stages of a buyers journey. The client needs to specify target and demography because that’s what the creative team will be shooting for as well.
Maintain a Content calendar
By sketching out rough outlines for all upcoming content strategy for the next few months, the freelancer community is bound to come up with better ideas and strategy without the pressure of very close deadlines or screaming emails post midnight. With foresight, ideas can be discussed and improved upon, making way for greater content.
Nurture Content Creators
Be it your internal team, your own self, or some intern- make sure to correct mistakes and reward creativity. There’s plenty of room for improvement where there is an encouragement. Positive comments or constructive criticism, be free in passing it around and receiving it, feedback is the spine and often the compass that points towards growth.
Don’t make the same mistakes
It’s vital that past content is scrutinised, learned from, and not forgotten. A record of past successes and failures will inform freelancers and otherwise about what works best, and thus what kind of ideas perform best- and what to go on on the basis of.
By keeping these in mind and opening the floodgates to freelancers privy to this information, high-quality pitches are sure to come your way, with perfect fits for client audience.
Value Good Freelance talent
The ‘C’ of creativity in agencies may be to never underestimate the value of good freelance talent. If your agency is valued for creativity, make sure it is sustained and supported because companies that do foster creativity are three times for likely to see 10% in revenue year to year in comparison to companies that don’t. Don’t disregard any potential source, instead, give those tools and feedback and accept contributions gratefully.
Now after your freelancer team is secure, creative agencies have a whole another battle to fight: consulting firms. As marketing becomes more and more driven by data and technology every day, competition isn’t just limited to other creative agencies.
Alongside creative advertising campaigns for raising brand awareness today, it’s necessary to not only raise the right messaging but also have the right marketing tools to drive that message. It’s a clear future: creative agencies need to embrace data-driven consultant approach in many ways, be it investing in technical talent, and keeping up with ways to seek customer review.
As 2017 hurries by, the advent of new and exciting interface and medium never seems to cease. Authenticity is quickly becoming the key to recognition in a world of copies, and data is fast being spun into art. What with technology becoming the conduit for people to imbibe and express themselves, newer and more creative approaches need to be strategized to optimise the individual experience and gain maximum success as a creative agency.
The new creative renaissance is here, circa 2017, and creative agencies are at the frontline: creating, sustaining and improving brands.