Mark Figliulo
Oct 25, 2022

Creative data is an underutilised weapon in brand-building

Data is still viewed by some as the enemy of creativity. But used correctly, it can elevate brands out of a sea of sameness.

Creative data is an underutilised weapon in brand-building

Refusing to admit that data had any place in their process, creatives, until recently, relied solely on brainstorms and gut instinct.

That’s partly because creative directors need control. But when the right information is available, they can gain even more control because the data proves what we knew all along.

Don Draper talked about advertising as based on just one thing — happiness — but in today’s world it is multilayered and involves creativity and technology paired with consumer trends. If this is our reality, what kind of impact does that make on how we work and the creative work we produce?

Creative data is the missing piece in our industry. We not only have to find it, but embrace it as marketers.

Where data lacks

Not all data is created equal and it has never been designed for creativity. According to Nielsen, creative execution is responsible for 47% of a brand’s sales impact. It’s the most important element by far.

So why are marketers and agencies retrofitting consumer data into creative decisions? It’s certainly not making the work any better. It’s important that we work with a data set that deconstructs communications and ultimately helps us make smarter, creative decisions.

We live in the information age; the bar is higher now as consumer realities challenge the direction brands need to go. But where is the data lacking?

Advertisers and marketers need to ask themselves what they’re doing to create a differentiated, on-demand product, and their teams need to leverage technologies that impact the quality of the consumer experience.

Ads are nothing more than pixels and soundwaves arranged and rearranged in surprising but predictable patterns. These add up to campaigns, and campaigns add up to big ideas. Creative data is the information contained in each and every asset within a campaign. It is the combination of the visual, verbal and audio signals that help us tell a story.

Breaking out of the sea of sameness

Until recently, we didn’t have the technology to collect creative data. But with advances in computer vision, natural language processing and other AI tools, we can now deconstruct the visual, verbal and audio information inside every ad. We can analyze multi-media campaigns over time and look for patterns. These are established technologies that have been in the market for years, but never trained for this task.

We have to focus on refining a brand’s story by creating the right technology to deconstruct and more deeply understand the sphere of communications in a brand’s category.

We were able to drive differentiation and preference for Kettle One in a low involvement and competitive category by developing creative work that led to brand affinity and emotional connection. The creative data, gleaned using our StoryDatatechnology, demonstrated that the vodka category is a sea of sameness, filled with images of nightclubs and bottle shots. To break through, we needed a different approach.

When an audience is captivated by emotional or comedic storytelling, they will remember it. But now, the difference is that we can measure it. By having access to these new data sets, creative directors can gain the confidence to think bigger and to sell more breakthrough stories that ultimately drive their business and brand forward.

The riskiest thing a brand can do in today’s information age is play it safe. But it’s up to us as agencies to arm our clients and teams with the type of data that encourages creative risks.

Mark Figliulo is founder and creative chairman at Fig.

Campaign US

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