When Data meets Creativity. Chapter 1

Car, Vrie Universiteit, Amsterdam
Car, Vrie Universiteit, Amsterdam

“Throughout history, the technology always comes first. It’s just technology for a while, until the day we artists inherit it.” Lee Clow, TBWA\Worldwide

I decided to share today something more than my perceptions. This is a first post from a list of many to come, as the subject at hand is quite complex. Some time ago I finished an elaborate research project. My endevour took a lot of work and about six months to put together. More than 60 professionals active on the Dutch market (many thanks to Kingsday for the support) and some kick ass data analysis (huge thanks to Francesca Sotgiu for her guidance).

Its goal was to shed light onto a topic much talked about – data, analytics and the ad industry- by presenting the current status of marketing and advertising analytics: what influences its adoption, what impact it has on agencies, clients and particularly on ideation itself (the core of the industry, of course) and, probably mostly importantly, if it leads or if it will lead to a new era of creativity.

“It has been said that the era of Big Data began at the point at which the cost of storing data dropped below the cost of deleting it.” (Hofacker et al., 2016)

But curiously enough, the term big data is already considered too general or even

“too simplistic and potentially misleading […] the real value is not in the large volumes of data but what we can now do with it […] In effect what big data should really stand for is smart data and whilst I think the term big data will disappear in time.” ( Bernard Marr , 2015)

Many of us might think, that by now, the ad industry has understood the importance of data and that they are using analytics on a daily basis. The reality is a bit more complex than that. As we are not all McCann Japan. And as today there are many mixed feelings about data. Mostly driven from a lack of knowledge and skills. Or due to its complexity and tech limitations. And as agencies and clients do not really share their data or technologies. Or just some old fashion belief that creativity is inherently human. And I am not saying this top of head, I came upon these findings during my research. You could say this is a sneak pick into some of the conclusions.

I will leave you (for now) with this quote from one of my interviews. It might give you some food for thought, if you are interested in the matter.

“Everybody in the marketing and advertising industry is in a discovery phase. Some are leading the path because of their digital legacy, others like bigger advertising agencies start to discover data and what it can do to their business. For example, from a media agency point of view, data is the core of their business. However, agencies measure different things, they are either focused on branding or on sales, for example, so we are dealing with different types of analytics […] We can say it’s not about if branding is successful or if sales are successful, it’s all about if the customer journey is successful.”  (Head of Strategy, ad agency)

Until next time…

What defines us

Bridge, Amsterdam
Bridge, Amsterdam

Where are you from?

It seems today’s society defines us – our character, our knowledge, our capabilities, our strengths and weaknesses – by our nationality. Here in Europe, we are not Europeans. We are English, French, Dutch, Spanish, Greeks, Polish, Hungarians or Romanians. And I am not going to carry on to the United States or Africa for that matter. You all know the story.

If that’s not enough, some want to build walls. Others speak about jobs only for nationals. Or even about a country where only the ones who come from the ancient civilisations are welcomed. Nations. Boarders. Peoples. Does all of these make sense in 2016? I repeat 2016.

“Where are you from?” has become the most annoying question. I am from the neighbourhood, from the city, from here, from far away and from nowhere. Does it matter that much? Aren’t we suppose to be what to want to be – communicators, managers, business developers, scientists, teachers, artists, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters – all or none at all.

I am not defined by nationality(ies), nor by the languages I speak. And I will never be. My son is not French, nor is he Romanian. My son is a wonderful little boy who loves cucumbers, wild animals, books and trains. He could tell much, much better what else he likes and dislikes.

It’s really astonishing, how little have we learnt. How low have we gotten and how much work we will need to fix it. It’s astonishing that when some have multi planetary visions others spend their time asking people where they are from.

Until next time…

Reinventing yourself


Street in Amsterdam
Street in Amsterdam

Be aware this post has no interactive content, just some good old fashion words.

I have finally decided to start writing five minutes ago. Literally. It’s the first autumn day here in Amsterdam. And when it rains, it rains. I am in one of the cities’ cafes and when looking outside the window there is not much to hope for. Except for a good mint tea. And that’s what I ordered.

My morning did not start as planned. Of course it never does, especially when it rains. And you have to take the metro and park your bike. Had a meeting that went well, but it could have been much, much better. And after these kinds of experiences, one starts to doubt oneself. Which I did.

I came a long way since, well since I took a lottery ticket and left a very comfortable place. Home. And built another home and then another. But how do you succeed when leaving behind friends, family, a successful career and start to building these new homes? Where do you begin? Especially in a time when the world doesn’t seem like a very nice place. You know, natural disasters taking place almost every week, wars going on, politicians too eager for power failing their nations, far wright extremists winning the heart of Europe to name a few.

To be honest, I do not know. I guess you just do and sometimes you stop and wonder “Where am I going?”. Or, like I did this afternoon, “Should I finally start writing about it all? Would I have anything interesting to say?”. That remains to be seen. You’ll be the judge of that. Funny enough, I was asked this morning: “Are you a good writer?”I hesitated. I still have a lot to learn. About writing and about this world. That might help with the reinventing story, as without it we are just sheep. And that’s an exciting news.

Until next time…