Forget the traditional ‘power pair’ creative duos focused on visual arts and language. It’s time to think outside the box to supercharge our way of working.
Until recently, I thought that diversity of thinking had always been part of my career. Thinkers from different departments could work together – people from advertising backgrounds directly conversed with those from direct response backgrounds and digital backgrounds, etc. But as I started to discover how to do true collaboration well, I was aware that inviting others into the conversation was essential to making the work better.
I started to collaborate with people outside of the general sphere – such as psychologists, comedians and magicians – and made sure different personalities were heard. For example, making sure an introvert is listened to and has the space to think.
Since leading a business where real collaboration is ‘built in’, I have come to realise that I had only just begun to touch the surface by fuelling creative thinking through diversity and different life experiences.
How can creative agencies and marketers re-energise the creative process and develop work beyond TV that speaks to our lives shaped by what is becoming an experience-based economy?
The experience economy is here
There is strong evidence that we are entering, or have already entered, an ‘experience-based economy’ – people’s relationships, propensity to use or buy from brands and their overall knowledge of a company will be focused on experiences.
18–34-year-olds are predominantly driving the experience economy, with a survey run by Eventbrite finding that 66% of respondents said they felt more fulfilled by lived experiences than purchasing an item of the same value. CX has ascended to a top priority for business leaders and consumers want services to be personalised, evoke emotion and to feel that a brand is in tune with today’s issues and trends.
Communications throughout B2B marketing and advertising have been largely product-centric and fact-based. Our customers are real people who are not always ‘boring and rational’ – why would we try and reach people in this way through marketing? The ‘TikTok generation’ is bringing a new set of criteria to creative processes and is asking more questions about what a brand stands for when it comes to things like support for communities, the environment, and DEI.
Experience-orientated marketing requires empathy, understanding and the ability to create content that will grab people. Creativity that is formed in a mixed melting pot environment will intrinsically connect to those with shared experiences.
Interactions with brand services and products coupled with experience and story-telling marketing demand creative teams who can not only bring different expertise, but ideas based on unusual perspectives and life experiences.
Company culture done right
Rethinking recruitment is a step that many of us need to take. There is a vast talent pool, but to find the right people, the ways of finding people need to be diverse too. Representation is slowly improving on recruiting platforms, but not everyone will be found in the same place.
The digital and creative sector is expected to need 1.2 million new workers by this year, and the UK Commission for Employment and Skills suggests fairer access to jobs and a more diverse workforce would help the sector find these new employees. Inclusive teams are also able to make better business decisions twice as fast – researchers from the Harvard Business Review found that increased cognitive diversity enables teams to solve problems faster and more effectively. Agencies should be encouraged to open the door to more of a diverse educational background, formal requirements are less important when you give an individual the chance to grow through ‘on the job’ training.
Hiring a diverse and inclusive team is just the beginning – an open culture where everyone is actively encouraged to provide opinions and thoughts and concepts and feedback which are included and discussed is necessary. Assuredly businesses require a hierarchy to operate efficiently, but to encourage all people to get involved, we must be cognizant to make that hierarchy disappear. It’s no mean feat to make egos and silos disappear, but the best attribute of a modern leader, no matter what the business is, is listening to others.
Emotion should fuel B2B
The B2B industry is more customer-centric than it’s ever been, and marketers must create deeper relationships by making the customer journey more humanly relevant, convenient and valuable. Emotion will increasingly drive the future of B2B – marketers should capitalise on this industry shift by continually learning about audience needs and what matters most to them.
What is meaningful to me will be very different for someone else, which is why diversity of thinking will fuel the conversations we have and the work we make so much more rewarding for ourselves, clients and their customers.
In the experience economy, where an individual in a B2B audience expects a meaningful experience, how can you get there, unless you have a full diverse team behind the work.