Big Data and creativity: everything is changing
By Juan Pablo Carrero, Strategic Planner at Wunderman Spain.
Organisations are going through important transformations as a consequence of the information revolution and the resulting knowledge economy.
Numerous new technological developments have made the collection, storage and management of information easier and affordable for most companies. With these innovations we are able to capture more information about the daily lives of consumers and business interactions across multiple new devices. In an e-commerce context, for instance, we have data about consumption habits and patterns that were unthinkable before.
Turning data into value: a matter of asking the right questions, knowledge and perspective
We live in an age of information abundance and the sheer volume of information will continue to grow. A key question is what are we going to do with it. What knowledge can we generate from it? How do we make it relevant and valuable to our businesses and consumers?
Ford is a good example of how companies have progressed as a result of innovation in the way they use Big Data and carry out data analysis. Information has always existed, there just is more and the differentiator is our ability to have a new attitude and look at new ways of seeing, understanding and leveraging that information. To find relationships or points of view that we didn’t think about before. This way, Ford is getting information about drivers, their driving style and traffic problems, allowing the company to create new models and services that best match consumers’ needs.
This attitude towards data was very well explained by an excellent research teacher, whose classes I attended at University. He once took his smartphone and showed it to us from different angles. He first showed it from the side, and asked us what it could be. We all gave different answers, according to our point of view: a remote control, a phone, a digital recorder, etc. He then gradually rotated it and as he did we saw it could be a smartphone, a camera or other things. The exercise made us realise that information and data depend on the perspective from which we look at them. Nowadays we can analyse information from perspectives that we have never dreamed of before.
In recent years, for instance, there are ample initiatives to make city and government management more efficient through data use and analysis. Think about how IBM has been developing an ambitious ‘Smart Cities’ project, whereby – starting from the analysis and search for new relationship patterns between different sets of data from cities – new insights are generated, leading to solutions to problems such as environmental management.
Information as a competitive advantage: detecting new opportunities
Marketing and communications are no strangers to the impact of the ‘information revolution’. Data has become a very important asset for marketers. It allows us to know our clients and markets better.
The competitive advantage of a brand now also depends on the capabilities and skills that are needed to interpret data and generate interesting and relevant insights so it can create business and customer value, discover new niches, detect opportunities, find new uses for products and services and be more efficient in its marketing.
For advertisers and marketers this changed reality offers great benefits. In the past, measuring the impact of any communication campaign seemed complicated, imprecise and even opaque. The new information paradigm allows us to develop new ways of analysing communication and marketing efforts. We can measure more precisely, in order to both monitor and discover new possibilities for our brands. Data is the basis for new opportunities.
The challenge is to be able to use this data in order to develop the creative messaging and approaches that allows us to achieve our brand and business goals and engage with consumers. Data as such is not enough. Agencies must develop new skills and capabilities if they are to compete in the new environment. While the interpretation of data and gaining actionable insights is essential, these insights need to become the drivers of creative innovation and marketing.
A new paradigm that leads to surprising insights and effective marketing
A new paradigm emerges in marketing and communications: the data and creativity paradigm. Data and creativity cannot exist without each other. Creativity is inspired by and based on the insights gained from the data we can obtain and process.
There has been a debate for several years on what insight exactly means. Primarily, we understand it as a truth about the consumer which connects facts that seem unconnected at a first sight. This truth inspires us to find an insight and rationale which we develop into stories based on creativity in order to elaborate persuasive messages.
A good example is a case from our Wunderman UK colleagues, shortlisted at Cannes in the ‘Data & Creativity’ category and shown at dmexco 2015 where Wunderman CEO Mark Read mentioned it in a panel on the content revolution: ‘It’s Not Cheating When It’s Your Dream Team’.
It identified a very powerful insight: the participants in the “Dream Team” game mainly select soccer players from teams other than the teams they are a fan of when they build their virtual ideal team. In other words: being a fan is not correlated with believing the club has the best players. This insight, which was based on the analysis of a large amount of data from various sources, drove the creative that resulted in very good results.
Data and creativity are two sides of the same coin
We need data in order to be able to develop campaigns that ensure a great probability of positive response from our clients. Mastering both processes – creative and data – becomes the key.
Agencies must gather talents with diverse expertise and make them work together with common challenges and goals: business specialists, creative talents and information specialists. Feedback and collaboration between all of them is critical for successful projects of the brands we serve.
Data and Creativity is one of Wunderman’s strategic pillars at global and local level. We handle over 800 million consumer profiles, manage over 2,300 Terabytes of data, have developed 5 platforms for the analysis and management of information on company products and services, both off and online.
But none of this would make sense if we did not focus on creativity, which builds differentiation and relevance into our clients’ brands. We have developed communication campaigns based on the balance between data and creativity in order to ensure the best return possible and build long-lasting relations with our customers. Data and Creativity are two sides of the same coin.