The rise of the right-brain creative
Day two of the Festival of Marketing was packed with even more insights and action. And speaking from Microsoft was Consumer Marketing Director, Paul Davies, with a talk about why creativity is the new productivity, and how you can futureproof your marketing career.
There’s plenty of doom and gloom in the media about automation replacing jobs. According to PwC, automation will replace 30% of UK workers – around 10 million people – over the next 15 years. And even more worryingly, Nesta predicts that automation will eventually replace 60% of all UK jobs.
Luckily, Paul took to the stage with much more optimistic news. According to research, creative jobs are more resistant to tech-takeovers: only 13% of creative workers are at risk of automation. And it’s easy to see why – ever heard a pop song generated by a computer? Clever computing, yes. But enjoyable music or admirable art? Not really.
Creativity isn’t ‘fluff’
Paul starts by looking at the definition of creativity. It’s an attitude, a state of being and doing. The ability to make and invent. And while this may sound fluffy, it has clear commercial value. You only need to look at the £110m pay-out that the shareholders at Adam & Eve/DDB got. And they earned it through creating big, beautiful work that explodes in culture and becomes part of the national conversation. You only need to look at the agency’s work with John Lewis and Marmite to see how well they do it.
These ideas and this creativity carries a premium – and it’s one that companies will pay for. Which is then reflected in salaries: creators earn 13% more than non-creators. But it’s not just the money that matters, as creators feel 34% happier, 29% more energised and 31% more fulfilled than non-creators.
Contrary to what many people might believe, the UK’s creative industry doesn’t just sit in a London bubble. Creative jobs are spread throughout the country, and as an industry it’s bigger than heavyweights like financial services and construction. Almost 3m people are employed in a creative job – that’s 1 in 11 of us. It’s an industry that’s one of the UK’s shining lights: it’s worth £84bn and is growing every year.
For creatives, it all sounds good so far.
The marriage between art and science
Paul points out one obsession in our industry: marketing science. From programmatic buys and big data to automated trading desks and real-time bidding, it’s everywhere you look. Technology lets us do amazing things for our companies and customers, and when it powers marketing science it undeniably drives great efficiencies.
But it’s important to keep the balance right. Ours is an industry where we can take an artistic, creative career path. We can dream, model, make, curate, create and build. Because without our big, bold ideas, there’s no great campaigns. And then there’s nothing for the marketing science-side to optimise, drive or bid on.
The answer lies in the marriage of art and science. We can elevate and celebrate the art and creativity in marketing, by using technological advances. And then we can create amazing moments for our audience.
Every business is a technology business
Paul moves on to discuss the brain: you’ve probably heard of the differences between the left and right sides. The left is associated with science, logic, fact and analytics, while the right is about creativity, intuition, feel and emotion. The left is also dominant in language, understanding what you hear and handling speaking. It’s also about logic and maths, and when you tell someone a fact, it’s pulled from the left side. The right is in charge of movement, facial recognition, and processing music. It also does some maths, but more estimations and comparisons. It allows you to take great leaps of faith, looking beyond the data. Its role in language is more about interpreting tone and context.
So, how can ‘right brainers’ – those creative, gut-instinct types – drive organisational change?
Paul states that every business is now a digital business, as customers are in control and have access to all kinds of technology. This is driving digital transformation, which is about continuously inventing new products and ideas to address changing needs.
If companies want to remain competitive, they must constantly adapt and reinvent, and use creativity to solve problems. 83% of businesses believe that investing in creativity fosters innovation.
Creativity is the new productivity
This leaves us with one conclusion: creativity is turning into the new productivity. Creative problem solving is driving business progress, and 78% of businesses think that investing in creativity raises productivity.
The future of the UK economy lies in our ability to nurture creativity, and to help people develop it as a skill. And this isn’t just important in creative industries. All businesses can benefit from creative thinking, if they want to adapt and evolve, and solve their customers’ changing needs.
However, only 41% of people would describe themselves as being creative, and only 31% are living to their creative potential. So, our challenge now is to bring that creativity to the fore, and help people reach that potential.