Can data ignite creativity?

5 months ago

There have been a lot of articles that have been written in the recent past, many on Data and Creativity. And it’s one debate that has people quickly taking sides.

On one side – we have a set applauding the need for data to be at the centre of it. To help drive focus, efficiency and apply a sense of logic before the magic. On the other side we have the push-back from the ‘purists’ – can data really replace ingenuity, originality, and instinct –  with an argument that everyone with the access to the same data will come to a similar conclusion.

“Striking the right balance between data and creativity is an art and something that comes with experience,” says Mahesh Neelakantan, ada’s Country Director for Malaysia and Singapore.

The process of automation based on the data that has been collected has started to enter all fields of industry. Marketing and design are no different, and data collected in real time has started to influence the way in which advertisements are displayed. This includes the manner in which different design elements are highlighted and even going so far as to recommend design changes itself. We are going down an inevitable road where some of the initial aspects of creativity/design will be replaced by data-driven processes.

“It is the creative input on top that will create value and build brand identity,” adds Mahesh.

Thus, the premise that data is killing creativity may be an overstatement of sorts, however, it can happen if data is used more like guide rails rather than signposts. There is no going back from all the data collection that is happening, but making that data work requires collaborative effort between creative minds and the analytical ones.

For example – data-insights on what content themes is a pregnant woman in her 3rd Trimester looking for and where and how to engage them is clearly a business opportunity that needs an integrated approach.

And two brands with the same data and insights can address this opportunity differently. Likewise – Holiday-Travel behaviour exhibited by ‘Families with Kids’ vis-a-vis ‘Friends’ vis-a-vis ‘Singles’ is different and each needs a bespoke approach built on the back of data-insights for each cluster.

“At ada, our data science teams are continuously mining and exploring opportunities and insights related to O2O attribution, life-stage predictive analysis, ‘HVC’-audience segments, device-switching behaviour for the telco players or catchment area marketing for QSRs and convenience stores. And we are looking at leveraging this data – either to grow or grab market share for clients across a core set of 8-10 industry segments,” reveals Mahesh.

“Our integrated planning framework facilitates the collaboration between the left brain and right brain,” adds Ravi Singh, Director for Client Leadership. “In the past few years – we have seen massive shifts in consumer behaviour.
As more and more consumers are moving towards digital and mobile first media touchpoints, they are leaving behind a huge trail of data – which if harnessed and leveraged – can be a game-changer in helping brands create relevant messaging and engaging content.”

Creative teams at ada have been using data from Xact (ada’s proprietary telco powered DMP) as a single source of truth to drive creativity and ideation.

“Using data from Xact at the core, we have been able to help brands with platform agnostic creative ideation and storytelling, whether it is FMCG brands looking to drive brand adoption and engagement from parents, or quick service restaurants aiming to spark positive conversations during festive season on social media.”

Gone are the days when creative was traditionally driven by a big idea based on “gut feeling”. Today insights gathered from this consumer data can fuel the creative ideation process helping brands to create relevant communication and custom messaging throughout the entire consumer lifecycle.

Data can definitely take the creative thought process to the next level, however, only time will tell if data geeks will lead this next wave of creative storytelling.

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