After working in the advertising world for nearly two decades, then launching a technology platform that solves the problem of curating and licensing creative content from anywhere on the Internet, Analisa Goodin has basically seen, heard, and done it all. More pointedly, she’s had a front row seat to the key role technology has played in shifting how we produce compelling, unique campaigns across multiple platforms, devices, and channels.
The good news: creative opportunities abound and there are more avenues than ever before in terms of getting inspired and thinking outside the box. The challenge is in understanding the business side, which includes licensing and clearance, in order to take advantage of everything the “Internet Ocean” (as she calls it) has to offer.
Rebekah Iliff: How has the creative process evolved?
Analisa Goodin: Today, creatives have to be attuned to business needs. Industries are fragmented and competition is fierce, so creatives have to cast a wide net, be willing to learn new things, be flexible, and ultimately be on the pulse of what brands and consumers are looking for.
RI: What are some of the challenges creatives face?
AG: As I noted above, the industry is extremely fragmented – there are multiple channels and sources for finding work and collaborating with creative people. So in one sense, as a creative, you have to focus on developing work that gets noticed, while also expanding beyond your comfort zone in order to get paid. This means being open to multiple revenue streams, through multiple channels, and for a variety of skills up and down the creative spectrum. Creatives are also under pressure to make great work with less time and more limited resources than ever.
RI: What are the challenges that agencies face?
AG: The agency of record (AOR) model is no longer the norm in the advertising industry. Instead, brands are increasingly working with agencies on a project-to-project basis. While this provides more flexibility for agencies, it’s also less consistent and it requires them to reduce overhead and streamline operations.
Agencies are facing budget restrictions and trying to do more with less. Gone are the days of producing one spot and being done (“one and done”). Now agencies have to create multiple spots for multiple channels with smaller budgets and in shorter timeframes. Meanwhile, competition is heating up from smaller, more specialized agencies that rely on freelancers and are beating big agencies on price while offering super talented creative people.
RI: How do these challenges affect brands?
AG: Brands face similar challenges as agencies. While the move to a project-based advertising model has reduced costs and allowed brands to work with a larger and more dynamic group of content creators, this comes at the expense of the stability offered by traditional agency relationships. Like agencies, brands are increasingly cost-conscious – they have to ensure that their marketing dollars are actually leading to positive business outcomes.
It has become more and more important for brands to have authentic interactions with their customers. In the era of social media, it’s no wonder that consumers are demanding authenticity like never before. This is why brands have to be capable of producing genuine, relatable stories that drive engagement, increase trust, and ultimately secure loyalty.
RI: What’s your take on the current industry landscape?
AG: It’s shifting all the time while simultaneously relying on age-old fundamentals. What do I mean by that? Think of TV and film ten years ago versus now with Netflix, Amazon Prime, and name-your-favorite streaming service. We’re also seeing a revolution in AI, which has implications for marketing attribution, consumer research, and (ahem) content curation and licensing.
New platforms like TikTok and IGTV require different formats and versioning. Live action productions aren’t typically thought of as a “flexible” medium to work with (compared to pre-existing content you can find and license).
All of that said, we’re always going to need good writers, skilled photographers and filmmakers, and people who can execute a vision.
RI: How is technology driving major shifts in the advertising industry?
AG: The primary role of technology is to reduce inefficiency in the creative process and amplify messages that brands want to disseminate. With the emergence of high-quality audio and visual equipment, sophisticated editing platforms, etc., creatives have never had access to a larger suite of tools to produce great work. Meanwhile, technology such as attribution software has allowed brands to bring more and more of their marketing in-house.
However, technology can’t replace ideation, the creation of emotionally-driven narratives, and human connection. Sometimes, it even gets in the way of authentic connections with consumers (take targeted ads, for instance, which are more of a nuisance than anything else).
RI: How have roles within agencies changed?
AG: In many ways, agencies have become brokers of creative ideas and outputs. They have to find influencers, people who can create unique campaign ideas, and people who can execute those campaigns. Many have become accustomed to managing the creative process and focusing on logistics while outsourcing the actual creative content to freelancers and outside talent.
Agencies have to produce high-quality content for an increasingly integrated media landscape. To prove value, their ideas have to work in a wide range of formats, from social media to other digital channels to broadcast. This means individual roles within the agency will have to become more agile, as they’ll require working knowledge of all these formats.
About the author:
Rebekah Iliff is a business and humor writer based in Nashville, Tennessee. Her writing has appeared in Inc., Entrepreneur, Mashable, Forbes, HuffPost Comedy, Points in Case, Weekly Humorist, Slackjaw, Erma Bombeck blog, The Satirist, and Little Old Lady Comedy. Follow her on Medium @Rebekah_WriteVest or Twitter @rebekahiliff.