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Creativity: Blessing and curse of every agency

It is impossible to imagine the advertising industry without creativity. Without it, everything becomes a boring uniformity. Here's why boredom is still a must.

Creativity: Blessing and curse of every agency

Creativity forms the basis of our work. We deal with it every day - some more, some less. Sometimes it just bubbles out of us and sometimes it brings us to the edge of despair. But what exactly is it, what do we mean by it and why does it sometimes require a little boredom? This is the subject of the following blog post.

To be able to talk about creativity, we first need to know what we are actually talking about.

What is creativity?

What linguists say: The word creativity is derived from the Latin term "creare", which means "to create" or "to bring forth". Creativity therefore refers to the ability to create something new. Advertising would therefore be creative per se because it is used to create something.

What ChatGPT says: Creativity is the ability to develop original and innovative ideas by combining and reinterpreting existing concepts in new ways. It often involves finding unconventional solutions to problems and the ability to create original and engaging forms of expression.

What we say: An idea is creative when new solutions are found for something that already exists and we find an angle with our storytelling that no one has looked at before. If appropriate, a pinch of humor can also be added. Creativity does not have to be limited exclusively to the work of Creation, but runs through all roles. The important thing here is to maintain the optimum distance from the briefing. The idea must be close enough to fulfill the set goals. But far enough away to be original. Both must suit the customer.

Do we understand each other?

Creativity can make a decisive contribution to standing out from the crowd in today's world. However, it is often neglected that not every creative idea suits every customer. Every customer needs a different level or form of creativity. What works for one client will flop relentlessly for another. A shared understanding of creativity between agency and client is therefore essential.  

The creative idea must be perfectly tailored to the brand. If it manages to convey their identity and values credibly and authentically with unique concepts, then it will be remembered. This can create an emotional bond between the target group and the brand. This also helps to differentiate the brand from the competition.

We are not creative at the push of a button...

Creativity also means a lot of research work. Of course, there is also the famous flash of inspiration in the shower. But in order for something meaningful to emerge from it, it requires an intensive examination of the customer for whom the idea is intended and their target group. The creative idea must therefore be based on strategic goals and it is the task of those involved to constantly check whether everything is on track. This means that even an initially crazy idea can develop into something feasible in several loops.

Today, a lot of emphasis is also placed on performance optimization, which often means that creativity falls by the wayside. The answer is not one or the other, but a combination. Optimization measures can provide the necessary insights to build on and make a creative idea stand out.

Last but not least, creative advertising requires courage - on both sides. Creatives need to have the confidence to think outside the box and take unconventional paths. Clients, on the other hand, must have the courage to go with the flow and often leave their comfort zone. Mutual trust is also very important for this.

...or do we?

Why are we even still talking about creativity when there is now AI that can do it for us? But can it really? We took a close look at this question at the digitalwerk Summit at the beginning of March. The conclusion was that AI cannot do the creative work for us, but it can support us. It can be a source of inspiration and guide us on the right creative path with both good and bad suggestions. However, we are not spared from critically questioning the AI output, breaking it down into its individual components and mixing it with our own thoughts. Because if the ideas are simply adopted, the result is the generic mishmash mentioned above. If you want to get even more insights into the world of AI and our Summit, this blog post is just right for you.

Why we can be bored at digitalwerk

No, this is not a call to let employees slip into boreout. But a little boredom can do wonders for creativity.

Because the conditions under which people are creative are very individual. Some are better able to kick-start their carousel of ideas on their own, others in a group. Some need to be out in the fresh air, others prefer to sit in an environment with few stimuli. However, one common denominator remains: time.

This can be in short supply in normal working life, where one task follows the next. In order to maintain an overview, creativity often has to give way to productivity. However, as this is not the point, digitalwerk creates extra space for creativity. One of the ways we do this is by providing time to spin around, during which you are allowed to be "unproductive" and indulge in your own creative thoughts. Of course, everything is done with the appropriate seriousness and with usable output.  

But there is also time to spar together, as this can also promote creativity. In addition to the scheduled project meetings and idea check-ins, there is also an appointment for co-creation with our creative director, where briefings are scrutinized, ideas are turned around and strategies are developed.  

To catapult us out of our own comfort zone - because that's where the most creative ideas are at home - there is a Fuck-Up Card for every employee. This involves taking a calculated risk in the form of something that we have never done before, in close consultation with the respective line manager.

At the end of the day, creativity is a muscle that needs to be exercised and the framework conditions must be created for this. This is how ideas with meaningful impact are created.

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