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.

Finweek English Edition - - THE WEEK - By Jes­sica Hub­bard edi­to­rial@fin­week.co.za

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

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