The relationship between data and creative

Earlier this month, The Drum Network hosted a roundtable discussion with six of its member, to analyze the ways in which data affect creativity – and how that relationship is evolving at speed. So, we read their five biggest takeaways and we summarize them for you below:

‘Great Reshuffle’ 

Agency-brand relationships are being reimagined, while consumer privacy and ad targeting are reaching a turning point as the rules of play for businesses change rapidly across the world. 

“One of the biggest challenges that we have in strategy is being able to selectively choose the right information to create knowledge. [And by ‘strategy’ I mean] an informed opinion on how to win,” says Martyn Clarkson, executive vice-president and global head of strategy at Jack Morton.


Tapping into the most valuable data insights

As we all know, creatives love data when it comes to learning about their audience. Yet, not all information is necessarily valuable when it comes to marrying strategy with creativity.

We all agree that behavioral data is among the most valuable information in informing creative strategy – ‘Who is this person, this archetype of a person? What is really motivating them? What does their world look like? What are the other things they're encountering every day in their actual real-life existence, and what's going to speak to them within that context?’, but understanding that real human behavior is often a major challenge. 


Using data to construct meaningful narratives

As already mentioned, it’s important to be selective about what data is used and how it’s applied. Trying to inject data into everything and every part of the process creates bigger problems and less of quality work. 

“An effective application, rather, adds to the broader construction of a narrative. “At the crux of strategy — especially when working with creatives — is developing a story… it's about having all of that data and thinking of them as building blocks,” says Elizabeth Finch, director of creative strategy at Merkle. Once a cohesive narrative is developed, she says, creatives can communicate that message across channels to deliver on campaign objectives. “That's the unification of data and creative.” writes The Drum. 


Consumer privacy changes erect new hurdles and new opportunities

Now, let’s talk cookies. And not the chocolate chip ones that make us drool. The other ones, where tech giants like Apple roll out new policies that give users greater say over how and when their personal information is used and lawmakers around the world introduce new data protection-focused legislation. As users, we’re super excited to be able to control who has access to our info. As people working in marketing and advertising…well, not so much.

According to The Drum. panellists agreed that the fundamental structure of how advertising works is going to change: “We always previously told this story of connecting to an individual… like a ‘segment of one,’” says Crowther. “The way that we use data and activate, in media especially, is to acknowledge that that can't happen anymore and doesn't work — and be okay with that and work around it. It doesn't have to be one-on-one, communication — it's more important for creativity to be a little bit broader than that.”


Data and creativity should remain intertwined

What’s key to remember is that creativity, data and strategy are intertwined, and should remain as. Despite the disruptions that are just around the corner, we need to be able to find a common language or common ground so that we can have synergies between the three. After all, strategy brings the creative idea to life and the creatives give a story to be told from strategy. 

Virginia Sakka

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