Michael Nutley
Michael Nutley 6 September 2021

Personalisation and Channel Proliferation Challenge the Creative Process

Creativity is crucial for brands to cut through the noise of the modern world, but the growing number of channels, ad formats and segments means creatives' time is increasingly taken up with repetitive manual tasks like reformatting. A new London Research/Bynder webinar discusses how to solve this problem and give creatives time to be creative while making sure marketers have the assets they need.

Successful brands need two things - creativity and consistency. Creativity to stand out from the crowd and be memorable. Consistency to reassure consumers at every touch point on their path to purchase. But as channels proliferate and personalisation becomes increasingly important, both creativity and consistency are being squeezed.

Creatives are finding themselves spending more and more time making variants of campaign assets to fit different platforms and channels, and to target smaller and more diverse audience segments. At the same time, disconnected marketing systems mean it’s hard for marketers on the ground to find the assets they need, increasing the risk of them using out-of-date brand elements and unlicensed or off-brand imagery.

Solving these problems – giving creatives time to be creative while making sure marketers have the assets they need – is the subject of a London Research webinar run in partnership with digital asset management software vendor Bynder; Unleash actual creativity with DAM to boost business growth.

Why Creativity Matters

Creativity tends to be treated dismissively by those outside marketing. Just think of all those jibes about the “colouring-in” department. Surprisingly, many within marketing also tend to deprioritise creativity. A recent study from Kantar found that marketers rated the importance of their media mix over that of creative quality, but a related study into drivers of profit found that creative quality was second only to brand size when it came to marketing effectiveness.

Creativity is important for a number of reasons:

1. It drives originality and innovation within the organization.
2. It makes your marketing stand out, and makes it more memorable. Research from as far back as 2007 found that we were already seeing more than 5,000 ads a day. That’s a lot of noise to compete with.
3. It builds brand recognition. A creative ad or piece of content can convey your brand values better, and more widely, than any mission statement.
4. It improves ROI. The more your creative cuts through, the less you have to spend on media to deliver it.

Why Consistency Matters

Increasingly, great creative is nothing without consistency. Consumers engage with their chosen brands across an average of five channels, and they expect those interactions to be consistent. If a brand’s tone – or, worse still, its identity – varies from channel to channel, customers will become suspicious and their trust in the brand will be eroded.

But if marketers aren’t getting the creative assets they need in the formats they require, they’re more likely to start making their own. And if they can’t find the approved brand elements or imagery they require – because of siloed teams, departments and systems – they’ll use what they can find. That could be bland, meaningless stock shots, or images for which the licence has expired.

Automating and Delegating the Creative Process

The way we think about creativity – that lightbulb moment – means the term creative automation strikes many people as odd. Certainly, there’s little chance of machines coming up with creative ideas any time soon.

However, there’s a lot of work that creatives do after having that original idea that can be automated. In turn, that means more time for them to do whatever it is they do to come up with great ideas in the first place, and to turn those initial concepts into standout marketing. Meanwhile tasks such as reformatting content for different ad sizes or platform requirements, or translating text for different countries, are perfect for automation.

Creative automation can also be combined with the digital storage and management of marketing assets to spread its benefits beyond the creative team. Bringing all the organisation’s currently approved assets together in one place, while also having templates for all the ad formats required, means marketers on the ground can quickly create any variants they need within a campaign, entirely on-brand, without having to go back to the creative team.

Centralised content storage also has the advantage of making it easy to find and reuse existing material, saving even more time and effort.

Beating the ‘Creative Squeeze’

A popular way to try and solve the ‘creative squeeze’ has been to throw resourcing at it. A 2019 Bynder survey  found that nearly half of marketing and branding professionals (47%) planned to increase their use of freelancers and agencies, while over a third (39%) planned to recruit more staff.

But this is expensive, and just manages the problem rather than solving it. It’s also demotivating for internal staff to be doing repetitive manual reformatting work rather than the creative thinking they signed up for.

Strikingly however, the same survey found half those who replied (49%) planned to address the issue by automating administrative tasks, and almost the same proportion (47%) aimed to repurpose content in more ways. Automation isn’t the future of creative thought, but it’s the only sure way of ensuring there’s time for that essential creative thinking to happen.

To watch the London Research/Bynder webinar Unleash actual creativity with DAM to boost business growth, click here.

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