Advertising Digital Publishing Top Stories
3 mins read

“Creativity is an extremely valuable competitive advantage”: Publisher insights from Cannes Lions

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

“Creativity directly affects the bottom line of business”

Creativity is in focus with the Cannes Lions event going on this week. The event is highly relevant for publishers as advertising continues to be an important source of revenue for many. 

UK Digital publishers’ revenue reached £66M in Q1 2022, an increase of 24% against Q1 2021, according to the latest Digital Publishers’ Revenue Index (DPRI). Additionally, the IAB Europe AdEx 2021 Benchmark Study revealed double-digit digital advertising growth across all European markets. Overall, in 2021, digital advertising grew 30.5% to €92B.

Considering the above, it’s important for publishers to know that 67% of brand marketers see creativity as an extremely valuable competitive advantage in business, according to a new report from Cannes Lions, State of Creativity Study: A High-speed Evolution

Source: State of Creativity Study: A High-speed Evolution

The report is based on LIONS’ global survey of over 3,300 marketers, creatives, media owners, tech specialists, and creative education bodies from 102 different countries. It identifies the most pressing issues the creative industry is facing. These include the constant need to change, stifled creative freedom, and a talent crisis.

Here are key insights for publishers

“Crack the demand for effectiveness”

Convincing stakeholders to invest in creativity is the biggest challenge cited by agencies, production, and media companies. Only 8% of agencies say they feel extremely confident in convincing clients to invest in high-quality creativity. The industry needs to find a better way to frame creativity’s value in business, the authors note. The survey reveals that “agencies and brands must actively assess and agree upon what success in effectiveness looks like.”

Creative effectiveness cannot thrive until brands and agencies have a shared understanding of what it means. Everyone – finance, marketers, creatives, tech and media employees – must agree on how creativity contributes to business success.

State of Creativity Study: A High-speed Evolution

“Crack the demand for effectiveness through an aligned culture and agreed goals,” the authors suggest. “Include long-term metrics. Outline your agreed KPIs with at least one measure that tracks the creative work’s impact beyond six months.”

Source: State of Creativity Study: A High-speed Evolution

They also recommend building a constant feedback loop into the creative process. “It gives creatives a more concrete direction and ensures that the final asset is the best possible fit.”

“Investigate the commercial value of virtual worlds”

The report also recommends exploring and experimenting with the metaverse based on the finding that 67% of brands and 55% of creative partners say understanding it will be very important or critical in 2022. 

“Investigate the commercial value of virtual worlds – and bridge them to the physical,” the authors write. “Businesses are looking to unlock new forms of commerce and connection as hybrid experiences evolve. 

“Be wary of the hype, but be sure to follow the developments. Spend time getting to know the platforms, trial ideas with smaller communities, and keep an eye on what the competition is doing.”

Create marketing experiences that tie in with real-world experiences or parallel what your brand already does in real life.

State of Creativity Study: A High-speed Evolution

Reporters Without Borders used the massively popular video game Minecraft, which itself is a decentralized metaverse, to build a safe place for uncensored press. 

Source: State of Creativity Study: A High-speed Evolution

The Great Resignation is another critical challenge forcing businesses to review how they inspire and nurture creative talent. 56% of brands and 55% of creative partners say securing talent is the most difficult aspect of transformational creativity to deliver today. Survey respondents call for the “industry to invest more time in developing talent, be more flexible with working methods, and prioritize mental health.” 

As an industry, we are witnessing a significant churn. People are asking themselves why are we doing this, where’s this going. The great resignation is real for us. They are speaking to their bosses about their mental health and the need for flexible hours. 

Josy Paul, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, BBDO, India

Finally, the industry is still looking for the right combination of creative and strategic minds. 82% of brands and 78% of brand partners still say that understanding creative effectiveness is very important to upskilling the workforce in 2022. Many respondents say that the industry lacks critical, lateral, and design thinkers. There is a need for “more diverse teams with different points of view.” The onus is on leaders to “bring together teams with different abilities, skills, viewpoints and lived experiences.” 

Source: State of Creativity Study: A High-speed Evolution

The full report is available here:
State of Creativity Study: A High-speed Evolution