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How Creativity Has Changed for the Better

2020 has been a tumultuous year for all of us. For those in advertising and marketing, both in-house and agency-side creators, the impact of 2020 has been profound and, potentially, long lasting. Recently, Adweek hosted a webinar called The State of Creativity Right Now with insight that is both predictable and surprising.1 Here are some key findings.

Creators are working more quickly, pushing more boundaries.

In the webinar, Adweek cited an Adobe survey of 600 global creators this summer.2 CMOs, creative directors, art directors, and designers made it clear how the current environment is shifting expectations for the amount of time required to do creative work as well as the level of disruption desired from the work. Eighty-one percent of respondents felt that they are being asked to develop more in less time. (Side note: I have yet to see a survey where creatives feel like they have more time now.) At the same time, 84 percent said they are feeling more pressure working with clients who are risk averse, which is a 14 percent jump from 2019. The combination of economic uncertainty due to the pandemic and societal shifts due to social justice awareness has affected the world in which that work is being viewed and how creators are feeling.

Staying relevant is a bigger concern.

While feeling the pressure to work more quickly, creators are also feeling pressure to keep up with rapidly evolving industry and cultural trends. Seventy-six percent said it’s harder to navigate trends in visual culture and topics today than it was six months ago. Eighty-five percent agreed that they are struggling today more than ever to stay relevant to customers. A key takeaway here is the importance of getting good audience insight and having a pulse on audience sentiment to anchor every campaign and creative endeavor. The GLG media and strategy teams routinely provide this insight for our creative teams and clients.

Necessity is the mother of creative invention.

The new creative environment of remote collaboration, compressed timeframes, shifting audience sentiment, and more risk-averse clients has led to some lasting and positive changes. A whopping 89 percent of creators said that they agree that 2020 has made their team think more creatively than ever before. The push to include more diverse voices and perspectives in creative projects is welcome and long overdue. The work is showing more diversity and emphasizing the human dignity of all people. Stock imagery and photography, particularly, are being relied upon more by creators to show a more diverse world where budgets are tight, time is short, and the challenges of photo and video productions are substantial. Would creators have pushed this much and changed this significantly without all these outside influences? Like most people, probably not. But change has arrived, and creators are embracing it, learning and growing, expanding how they think, and collaborating with clients to try new things to meet audiences where they are today.

Our marquee image for this post was created by artist Nelson Rios, a production designer at GLG who is part of our creative team that is becoming more diverse and inclusive every day. Nelson’s muse for this project was: What does it feel like to be a creator today? (Hopefully, he didn’t feel too much time pressure, but a little bit is a good thing.) It’s a joy to see the work of artists such as Nelson come to life, whether it’s in the service of marketing and advertising or simply connecting us all through the inspiration of creative expression. It’s a human moment that sparks delight.

In 2020 and beyond, that will always be a great thing.

 

1. The State of Creativity Right Now: How a Global Pandemic and Cultural Movements Impacted the Industry, Adweek webinar, November 10, 2020, https://event.webcasts.com/starthere.jsp?ei=1383884&tp_key=7e3073d208.

2. Monte Lutz, “State of Creativity: A New World Shaping a New Breed of Creative,” Adobe survey, September 24, 2020, https://blog.adobe.com/en/publish/2020/09/24/a-new-world-shaping-new-breed-of-creative.html#gs.l5eyya.