Why creativity is moving to the crowd (and the cloud)
With agencies having to deal with reduced staff and smaller budgets, new digital platforms are crowdsourcing traditional advertising functions.
fromcars and home cleaners to flowers and freelance professionals, the well-documented “on-demand” economy has extended to almost every facet of our individual and business lives. For the uninitiated (and the tech luddites), the on-demand economy refers to a fast-growing digital marketplace in which most of our needs are fulfilled quickly and efficiently with the help of smart technology.
One of the more recent additions to this marketplace – and perhaps one of the most unexpected – is the provision of creative insights and expertise for the marketing and advertising sphere. Dubbed “Feedback 2.0” in the beloved tradition of digital innovators, the emerging concept of creative crowdsourcing will surely – as with its other on-demand counterparts – create very clear winners and losers.
One of the few local pioneers of Feedback 2.0 for the ad and marketing sector is a company called delvv.io, which officially launched in March 2016. According to co-founder Trevor Wolfe, the company is showing impressive growth, having already worked on over 25 client campaigns. They have acquired their first international clients and are doing work across Africa, Latin America and Asia.
“We have increased monthly revenues over 100% and expect to continue that growth trajectory over the next few years, thanks to our recent funding partnership with HAVIAC,” says Wolfe.
delvv.io, which was a finalist in the FNB Business Innovation Awards in 2016, is essentially looking to fulfil a creative and feedback role that has been created as a result of tough macro trends squeezing the traditional advertising model. For example, Wolfe points to reduced staff and smaller budgets within creative agencies, which leads to less time being spent on proper market research, insights gathering and ideation.
Not keeping pace
Jacques Shalom, executive creative director at communications firm Cerebra, echoes this sentiment – noting that there is certainly less qualitative and quantitative research being conducted now than just a few years back.
“The pace of the world has become faster and organisationally, traditional advertising hasn’t kept up,” he says. “You find pretty much the same systems in place as you did a few decades ago. As deadlines get tighter and budgets get snipped, agencies are finding it difficult to include appropriate research into their timelines.” Co-founders of delvv.io Shalom adds that with so many new channels available to advertisers, so much more research needs to be done. “However, one needs to realise that a strong human insight, translated into an equally strong creative expression, should be able to permeate any channel – traditional or new.” It is precisely these types of insights that the Feedback 2.0 model is looking to provide – on tap – by harnessing the transformative power of digital platforms. These platforms source creative feedback and insights that, arguably, traditional agencies and marketers no longer have the time to do effectively on their own.
Beyond the office walls
At delvv.io the crowdsourcing approach is to collect as much information on each creative professional as possible, so that the technology can select the right feedback group/panel based on the client’s project criteria. This includes their previous brand and product experience, the type of creative (copywriting, art director, strategist, etc.) and ultimately their ability to provide feedback.
“These professionals are removed from the client/ agency relationship and are people who might provide a qualified, fresh perspective on the project,” explains Wolfe. “In the Mad Men days, agencies had secure and predictable retainers from their brands with enough padding to allow for more constant exchange of ideas, brainstorming and feedback sessions. More and more agencies are feeling the pressure to bill every idle hour of time back to the client… so there is less room to ask colleagues for their feedback if it can’t be billed. Our model should support their process, not replace it in any way.”
Wolfe is confident that the need for such outside creative input will grow quickly, given that the global trend is towards a streamlined business model and increasing reliance on freelance and contract professionals.
“The organisations of the future will surely look to find value in how they solve complex business challenges like R&D, recruiting and product innovation by tapping into a global supply of knowledge workers,” he adds. “The creative industry has always known that creative solutions don’t always exist within their office walls – so they should use every means to interact with environments and great minds, even if they happen to be other creative professionals.”
Remon Geyser and Trevor Wolfe