Will data and analytics tools change the role of creative directors in ad agencies?

Advertising industry experts say that data and analytics tools won’t curb creativity, in fact, creative directors can leverage these marketing tools to reach out better to their target audience

e4m by Noel Dsouza
Updated: Sep 17, 2019 8:24 AM
Change in the role of a Creative Director

In recent times, data and analytics tools are being used to help a brand know exactly what the consumer thinks and wants. Data and analytics have become fuel for creativity, due to which agencies have become more integrated with their work. When analysts and creatives come together they can lead brands into the future.

The rise of content marketing has brought into prominence the role of a content director. Traditionally, this role was that of a creative director who focused on coming up with a big viral idea that contained value and ROI for the brand.

On the contrary, content directors focus their attention on the actual platforms that deliver content and how to tap into the right audience. The two roles have many similarities, both need to know their audience through and through, need to have the ability to reach the audience with the right content and advertisements; and lastly, have a strong knowledge of their brand's audience.

exchange4media spoke to advertising mavens who shared their insights on the changing role of the creative director due to data and analytics tools.

According to Agnello Dias, Creative Chairman, Dentsu Aegis Network India, data and analytics will affect the role of a creative director soon but he doesn't think it has happened as yet.

“Eventually, it will substitute the conventional brief, or at least be a significant part of it but it can never substitute the intuition that comes from interpreting these numbers. It's like the current state of the Indian economy. The same data is available to everyone but it can be interpreted completely different from what's happening on ground. So 'understanding the brief' will change to 'interpreting the data' in the lives of creative directors”, Dias said.

Russell Barrett, Chief Creative Officer & Managing Partner, BBH India, shared that data and analytics have always been essential tools for every good creative director. Barrett added, “It’s just that in today’s milieu, access to that data and the applications of analytics is so much faster and used well, so much more profound. That is not to say that data and analytics can take the place of creativity. It is in fact, a modern creative leader’s sharpest tool and most accurate weapon. Today’s creative leader needs to leverage every tool available to her/him to be truly successful. The image of the creative diva, working in a vacuum to create stories and narratives with little or no connection with the audience is dead. If it ever existed."

Today, thanks to data, many CMOs are also engaged in customer acquisition instead of just brand building. This involves analysing real-time data, creating buckets and designing specific communication for each bucket. These require good creativity too.

“A creative director needs to be interested in business-building creative work instead of just brand-building. Secondly, the creative director has to be quick. The volume of communication done by a brand has also gone up. The lead time for campaigns can't be too long anymore”, remarked Raghu Bhat, Founder & Copywriter, Scarecrow M&C Saatchi.

Today a creative director develops art with the power of science. Sudish Balan, Chief Business Officer, Tonic Worldwide, added, “Now all the more with the availability of data in ways never-seen- before, it directs and assists a creative director to create, plan and fire his art to the relevant audiences at relevant times. Analytics shows them what is accepted and what would people be looking for. Persuasion becomes easier and Eureka moments more frequent.”


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