AI also enables advertisers to be more nimble, and adjust creative as needed.
“[AI] can be utilized to validate what’s working and what’s not by identifying what's resonating with our audience and then quickly adjusting the media and messaging to mirror that,” Veritone One's Maerov told CMO by Adobe. “With the power of AI, you don't need to wait until the end of the campaign to figure out what happened because by that point, the campaign is over, and it’s too late to engage your audience and get your message across.”
AI can work hand-in-hand with human creatives. A well-curated, highly on-brand Instagram feed is an act of creativity. On the back end, though, AI is hard at work. “If you have the right tools, for instance, you can use AI to help you surface photos that are most aligned with that schematic that you’re building,” said Leo Strupczewski, marketing director at Curalate. “It’s a huge enabler for helping social teams act on that creative strategy.”
AI also is a particularly powerful tool when managing massive amounts of user-generated content, for example. It can also make it possible to serve up creative options in ways humans alone never could. McDonald’s, for example, used AI-powered weather-based targeting to offer different versions of Facebook ads based on a user’s local conditions. Domino’s did something similar in the U.K. using AI algorithms to offer variations of a video based on individual interests (e.g., family, Christmas, football), resulting in significant lift in view-through rates, online purchases, and return on ad spend.
Creative Democracy Gets Real
Creative democracy isn’t a new concept. Marketers and agencies have long suggested that good ideas can come from anywhere.
However, “our increasingly fragmented world, and its increasing demands on agencies to provide more solutions for more distinct audiences in more places, is making creative democracy even more of a requirement to function,” SS+K’s Archer said. “You simply can’t create enough smart work in enough places if you have hierarchies and silos that limit where ideas can come from.”
At the same time, technology has made it easier to democratize creativity. “[It’s] given us the tools to allow more individual voices to be heard, which is liberating but overwhelming at the same time," said Brian Gies, CMO at Church's Chicken.
The fact that it’s now simpler to design experiences is also helping to democratize creativity. Creative tools are now more intuitive and intelligent so that just about anyone can be a creator.
“Intelligent tools will be key to helping companies amplify design creativity across the enterprise,” according to Chris Duffey, strategic development manager, Adobe Creative Cloud.
Along those same lines, digital marketing has leveled the creative playing field on which anyone can participate.
“Creative democracy is my Instagram story tagging @airbnb that gets recycled by the brand,” The Strategiste's Archer said. "Creative democracy is the power to interact and create in the same space where brands deploy their marketing. What used to be a Marlboro billboard, high in the sky and untouchable, is where we can all play and communicate.
Creative democracy also can serve as a key differentiator for companies lacking multimillion-dollar marketing budgets and agencies on retainer. Startup Glossier, which began as a side hustle for a fashion magazine editorial assistant and grew to a $400 million business, owes some of its success to creative democracy. Even today, the company’s creative approach includes real-world content shot on smartphones, edited in apps, and featuring employees.
“The opportunity to disrupt is free,” Neufeld said.
The Rise Of The Multisensory Experience
Another way brands can stand out is to engage with consumers more deeply by stimulating their senses.
“Brands can use multisensory experiences to create authentic connections with their guests, which, in turn, can lead to stronger brand loyalty and advocacy,” said Christian Lachel, executive creative director and vice president at experiential marketing and design agency BRC Imagination Arts. “Fully immersive experiences that ignite all five senses and engage multiple parts of the brain leave an indelible impression. Brands can tell a richer story.”
For Lachel’s agency, that includes “brand home” experiences like the Jameson Distillery, a social space that combines storytelling, sights, sounds, smells, taste, and touch; or the Guinness Storehouse, involving a self-guided tour of the seven-story structure, the smells of barley and hops, a tasting lesson, and a panoramic view of Dublin.
“Brands that can pull off campaigns that go beyond the traditional elements of the visual and [sound] have a better chance of being remembered by the overwhelmed consumer," Neufeld added. "[It's] an interesting return to more traditional modes of marketing, like sampling or in-person events that build community around the product.”
In an effort to re-energize the Burger King brand, Gies, who was VP of U.S. marketing before joining Church’s Chicken, tried a completely different approach to appealing to consumers’ sense of smell.
“Brand awareness wasn’t an issue, but we realized after years of discounting our flagship product that we weren’t going to get consumers to fall in love with us again overnight,” he told CMO by Adobe. “So we started with building curiosity, to get them to want to know us—and what we should’ve been more famous for—better."
Enter “The Flame” cologne.