We need to embrace data & technology as enablers of creativity: Stephen Li

The CEO of OMD APAC spoke on ‘Reigniting the creative spark’

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Sep 27, 2019 3:25 PM
Stephen Li Conclave

The impact of media and creativity is gradually declining due to the increased attention on technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI). In this scenario, how can an agency bring back creativity to its core? The question was answered by Stephen Li, CEO, APAC, OMD, when he took to the stage as Headline Speaker at e4m Conclave on Tuesday. 

Speaking on the topic ‘Reigniting the creative spark’, Li started off by defining creativity. “My definition of creativity is how we make a difference to the people we're trying to communicate with,” he said, adding, “In reality, the evolution of data and tech has enabled new forms of creative thinking, where data sits at the heart of the solution.”

Going forward, Li shared with the audience how thinking outside the box is easy and how it has no rules and regulations, but is also not realistic.

“The creativity that I've always looked for is creativity within the box. How can you be creative in the context of a tight brief, a tight budget, and in the context of knowing what will and will not move your consumers and your audience? Within the context of what data tells you, what are the rights and wrongs of what you should be doing? The creative spark is not in decline, rather we need to embrace data and technology as enablers of creativity,” said Li.

“With the kind of data signals that we can feed upon and with the fact that we do have technology informing what we do, we are able to be a lot more creative within that box. We are able to be a lot more focused, and a lot more pointed in how we bring creativity to life. Creativity spark will fail if we only focus on short-term success. A renewed focus on brand will lead you to success,” he explained.

Citing an example, Li told the audience about McDonald’s campaign in Singapore that overcame the challenge of long delivery wait times by using capacity data to optimise the customer experience. He also spoke about how with the rise of algorithms and accessibility of data, we run the risk of presenting people with very logical/functional solutions.

Speaking further, Li quoted Maya Angelou to support his views on power of engagement with customers. "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel," he shared.

“That is a crucial aspect of what I'm talking about; marrying of the Yin and Yang. If you are able to actually deliver the right kind of engaging & creative message, and at the same time be informed by a clear sense of what is it behind this message, someone isn't going to just hear it and forget about it tomorrow. That someone will actually feel engaged with this message or with this brand.”

Li concluded the session by stressing how empathy and the ability to understand and share the feeling of others is important for any brand. He shared how OMD revolves around four key areas of empathetic insights-- culture, tribes, content and context.

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