Look at any industry publication and you’ll find an abundance of articles touting ad tech, automation, and programmatic. And then there are the start-ups and software experiments using AI to generate content, creative, and even taglines. It’s enough to make most creatives swoon. Add to this our growing capacity for data mining, and advertising has gone from a seemingly creative exercise to an almost scientific one.
There are times when it might feel as though the era of the creative gut is gone—but fear not, dear creative. We human beings have some things that automation, data, and all of the strategy in the world can’t ever replace: intuition and a knack for human connection. Data and strategy can get us far, but to make brilliant creative, we need each other and we need to take heart.
There’s no algorithm for a gut feeling. You can’t solve for it. It’s something that only the human mind and heart can guide you to.
What’s even more stunning about intuition is how accurate it is at helping us do the right thing. It’s a lot more scientific and less hippy-dippy than you might think. Just ask Psychology Today and they’ll give you these three studies as examples, which show us that our intuition is capable of recognizing patterns before our rational brains, and that, in turn, it can help us predict outcomes and keep us safe from harm.
These kudos for intuition are unlikely to surprise creatives like myself. When it comes to making great work, trusting your instinct is a powerful tool. Be it a hunch for design, or a powerful feeling about an amazing tagline, your gut can get you there. Of course, every campaign is different. In many ways, data has enabled us to act on our intuition with greater confidence. Data often sets up the strategy before the project has even begun. For others, creative intuition sets the tone and pulls the trigger. Together data and intuition are powerful and impactful.
All the Feels
Our creative gut is more than intuition; it’s a collection of current and past experiences and these are a valuable resource. Where strategy is based on past data, our experience is based on emotion, memory, and influence.
Believe it or not, data can actually solve for basic human emotions. But it can’t recognize, replicate, or understand the power of true human connection.
As humans, we are hardwired for connection; therefore, the most effective work requires a creative mind to connect in a way that breaks through all of the noise. Tools are great for making our ideas and visions more concrete from an emotional standpoint, but how they come to life still requires a creative mind.
The Moral of the Story
With AI, VR, and every algorithm imaginable working hard to replace what we humans have always done, it’s no wonder people feel threatened. And it’s true that jobs are being replaced by computers in increasing numbers. But that’s what makes the life of an agency creative so exciting. We bring something raw and real to the work because we are human. Our unique experiences and insights bring subtle beauty and truth to the work. (Yet another reason for getting diverse perspectives.)
You can sleep better tonight knowing that computers or even strategists won’t replace creatives. Keep trusting your gut and pushing your ideas to not only be the biggest ideas, but the right ideas to get the job done. Substantiate your creative gut with strategy and data, but ultimately know that you’re the one with the sixth sense. Acknowledge there is subjectivity and accept that it’s not about being right—it’s making sure that the work is right.