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It is undeniable that technology has changed our way of life. Have you ever stopped to ponder in what ways technology has helped to better or worsen our quality of life? Tech can be an immersive white canvas for creation or a dystopian black mirror for intrusiveness. 

Entire industries are being disrupted by technology – from banking to healthcare, automotive to nutrition and tourism to retail These changes have had a direct impact on how we live and how we experience the world around us.

Although, technology by itself has not been the catalyst for this disruption. It’s not powerful enough to change the world. Think about it. Without imagination, technology is useless. It needs intention and purpose to create the new. 

We live in an era where digital is the very fabric of our existence. It impacts all. The ‘new’ today needs to be digital-first and truly integrated. It’s a world evolving rapidly. 

But ‘integration’, like ‘digital’ or ‘innovation’ has become so loaded as a word, that you don’t want to risk underlining its importance. Integration needs to be by design. It needs to deliver a seamless experience no matter when or where people choose to engage. 

In this exciting transformation of our industry, almost all companies unanimously agree that creativity is at the core of their future business differentiation. In Dentsu Aegis Network’s annual Chief Marketing Officer Survey this year, more than 1,000 global CMOs agreed that creativity was going to be the most important investment going forwards. In fact, some 85% of these senior marketers believe “creativity is what builds the emotional connection between brands and consumers”. 

‘Connection’ is born from creativity in terms of integration. That’s hard but meaningful work. Our industry is being redefined and we too need to reshape what it means to work in this new reality. The future of creativity in marketing is not solutions for marketing. It is solutions with a cultural impact. 

Real people couldn’t care less about your funnel or your path to purchase. That takes creativity via integration. Not integration as a procurement exercise to squeeze a few extra dollars in profit out of this year’s budget by collapsing teams or departments. But instead integration with the power to impact human lives.

We, as creatives, need to be accountable. We must evolve our creative processes and structures to be anchored by this new normal. We need to move away from our old habits and be brave enough to stop hiding behind ‘the big idea’. Nick Law, the newly appointed vice-president of marcom integration at Apple has called it “a brand-new language where our ideas are new products”.

Ideas for today’s integrated ecosystems should not be big, they should be bigger. New products with value beyond marketing. Tangible. Real. Intelligent and thoughtful. And based on this new business context; from vertical executional ideas to horizontal impactful ideas. 

This requires new behaviour and skills for both marketers and their agencies. It requires integrated thinkers, not just siloed specialists. We need to empower the mutants hiding among us and harness their brilliance and multidisciplinary powers. Championing a shift towards a new breed of creative thinking. In other words, creatives that speak geek and geeks that speak creative. 

Yes, it is a new language. One that challenges what an integrated proposition means in this industry. And one that redefines the fundamentals of brand experience reinterpreted for a digital-first world. Also one that empowers creativity to expand the boundaries of storytelling with innovation, involving people where they are – beyond technology, platforms and formats.

And that’s an amazing white canvas for imagination. Let’s choose that, rather than the black mirror alternative.

Flores wants to see a new breed of ‘creative geeks’

Joao Flores is executive creative director and head of creative at Dentsu X Singapore

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