A creative and a data scientist walk into a bar

29 Dec 2019

There isn’t a meeting or brainstorm or strategy session that passes by without questions such as: “Have you seen that case? Great how they have used data to…” or “When we talk to prospective clients, we need to put more emphasis on the words data and research”. And don’t forget about this magical one-liner: “Would you like some data with that?”

I’ll spill the beans from my point of view (please hold on to something while reading this, for example, your pie chart). I started working for brands, and for Dorst & Lesser in particularly, for the love and sake of creativity. Working in the creative industry because of data is like working for Nike because you like to sit behind a desk all day long, every day, for the rest of your life.

That being said, we’re not throwing data out of the window just yet – and that is why we felt the urge to write a blog about it. Is data just a hype, a buzzword in marketing circles, or is it actually the foundation of any given strategy? And there you have it: the great critical question in advertising at the moment. Before we dig into this any further, let me start with a simple question. Sit back and think of one campaign/slogan/post/music video or even a ballet recital that has stayed with only because of its data interpretation… Having some trouble coming up with an answer? Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

Houston, we are under pressure

As a social media agency with a creative studio, the core of our services still lies in creativity. When an industry is under pressure, which, unfortunately, is the case for the advertising industry, business models have no choice but to reshape. Take it from the coffee, chocolate and retail industry, selling products consumed by millions of people all over the world. Industries like these are facing changes caused by very different drivers (for example, a growing awareness of work ethics or environmental impact). No matter what the drivers are, the point is that organizations feel pressure, and thus change occurs.

In the case of social media, everybody wanting a piece of the pie is the profound game-changer. Simply take a look at big consulting firms, like McKinsey and Accenture, acquiring creative hubs. And why shouldn’t they? Just think about the success of creative advertising initiatives such as “Just Do It”, the Dove campaign for real beauty or even “Padapapapaaa…. I’m loving it” (Fun fact: which is made by a rapper/producer named Pharrell Williams). Coming up with great ideas for brands that help them advertise their business or just sell their product is what we do best.

So are we done with data?

To be clear: while we are an advertising agency and we’re emphasizing the importance of creativity, we definitely don’t think data is all bad. Working and specialized in social media, of course, we use data. We need data of consumers to make sure that our creative content reaches the right person at the right time. Earlier this year, we created a campaign for one of our clients, where, using insightful data, we interpreted different moments of consumption for different personas. We’re talking personas going from a gardener to an entrepreneur towards a single mom with four kids. Making data and creativity work hand in hand, this campaign resulted in 188 different videos for 21 different markets. If that wasn’t enough, all these different forms of content were served on different channels at specific moments, based on… That’s right: data.

So in this great debate between data and creativity, take our word for it: a great idea made picture-perfect will never be successful on social media without the right amount of data, interpreted into the right points of action.

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