We all know that the creative industry has been changing drastically the last ten years, especially in the advertising market where media and entertainment companies have involved and developed numerous platforms, systems, games, apps and more to engage consumers with brands. Under this scenario the creative people had to adapt their leadership to get success and not getting off the industry. Everything is happening now and multiple things are occurring at the same time, this is the willing of our consumers hungry for their kind of entertainment at the fastest speed to get it possible. Therefore, advertising creatives have had to get the skills to understand this change and the "convergence" is the word that appeared like the main capability to learn to lead this challenge or industry change, whatever you want to call it.
Understand the meaning of "convergence" of media and entertainment will help our whole business to have better communications and relations with our consumers. I am not just talking about knowing and managing the concept of "convergence" I am talking about a new way of leadership that any single creative must know: "convergence leadership". What does it mean? Films, short films, online series, TV series, podcast series, transmedia creations, media content, app subscriptions and more and more are changing the way brands communicate with each audience, we call this change the digital age.
In words of Al Lieberman about convergence he remarked: "Media and entertainment companies are like supermarkets with shelves, if you don't have products, what are you going to put there?" - As "convergence leaders" we constantly have the duty to develop products to put on those shelves. But how are we going to make it in the digital age? To put products on those shelves we need to transform ourselves into "digital leaders" and therefore managing sustainable growth in this age, to get this there are four forces that the EY survey reveals and that will help any creative man to handle this new convergence and use them in the advertising industry. These forces are "Innovate an rebalance", "Embrace risk", "Leverage data and analytics" and "Manage technology relationships". On the next lines I will apply these ideas into the world of advertising and in creative leadership as well.
There's no doubt that the advertising role is to remark brands on consumer's minds and positioning them there, if we move this idea to the convergence arena it is like highlighting those products on the "digital shelf". To start doing this, the first force in the road to being a digital leader is to "Innovate and rebalance". How is possible to lead this market if you are not part of it? Maybe you are over 40 and you are fighting between offline and online advertising strategies or you are on the way to move yourself a hundred percent to digital. This is not an option anymore, it is a must, and every creative leader has to change his business to a digital one. Checking processes systems, business flow charts, Google Drive, sharing presentation apps, creating co-working spaces platforms for your creative teams, online devices to enhance deliveries, social networks as data trackers and many more are just some samples that we need to incorporate now and to understand how them works.
The digital life gives you new tools and opportunities, and the speed seems to be the language, then if you don't make a list of opportunities speed will make you loose as many chances as you don't list. Begin now writing those opportunities, it is the only way to diversify your business model; i.e. traditional advertising agencies do traditional endomarketing campaigns, but what if we join digital to endomarketing the result is an "endigitalmarketing", a whole new business structure where you can develop an internal application for your client's employees to stay them connected and informed about mission, vision, work opportunities, company strategy, etc. This is just an example of how you can diversify in this digital era. Start reviewing your core business; make a list of the most important to least important, as a creative leader you have that duty. Pick any from that list and deepen till you find something wild and applicable. This is the only way to expand the scope of your business and find new markets.
On then other hand, how it is possible to create an application that recognizes any music just simply approaching the device to the playing song? The answer is simply: assimilating new technologies. This is another way to discover more opportunities for creative leaders to help them find new markets as well. It is all about innovation and it is all about connecting it with brands and consumers, in the digital age this will be hard if you don't manage new technologies. Start now.
Secondly, "Embrace risk" is an attitude that any creative should have to lead. The "digital age" is moving on a speed we never saw before in human history and risk seems to be the only way to gain time. Every second counts, hence all "digital leader" (convergence leader) should act rapidly and change their leadership style, this means to start making and learn instead of learn and making. There is no time to test; there is time to risk. Be the first in the digital age could mean everything. If we take this to the advertising leadership and something did not work at first, we do the respective learning and the second time we will do it better, bigger, perfect and at the end of the day we will be the winners, the first on positioning a brand idea on our consumers. To take good risks we need to be optimistic and keep eyes open to anticipate any possible competitors movement and environment opportunities, in this kind of leadership you need to experiment, to explore, to discover and to be agile. For instance, creative leaders have to have the capability to exhibit a campaign and if something is not going in the right direction you can modify the following day, or you can exhibit a new one or you just can simply stop it. Knowing when is another skill that a "digital leader" should learn, this will help you monitoring the size of any risk and understanding what kind of chances you will take.
All creative leaders embrace risk nevertheless their teams are not risk driven therefore, this is a challenge that they need to accomplish in order be better digital leaders.
Thirdly, to manage our personal growth in this digital world according to make it succeeds, we require to "Leverage data and analytics". The opportunity what the digital age is giving us is something we never expected before in the industry and is not just about collecting more and more data, it is about getting data what matters for the advertising business and for communications with brand's consumers. Today we have the chance to access to data in real-time and advertising agencies must incorporate online data platforms for their teams in order to service clients and to follow consumers and their trends 24 hours a day. Today we have access to market data that helps digital leaders to make better decisions and this is a unique condition. Who is watching our ads? A person is interacting with the product? The consumers are following our products? The changing in the design affected the launch? Why? How? Where? These are questions with answers that today any creative leader can control whenever they want to and wherever they are they can cross data with different medias and business units to increase and manipulate opportunities; i.e. Bullboard is an in-house Chilean TV advertising channel that connect in real time worldwide media data with cool-hunting trends and overseas best advertising practices; Bullboard screens are installed inside media and creative departments to help them take better decisions to fulfill a strategy as well as to change any approach on a singular case or brief.
As creative leaders in advertising we need to cross the love for innovation and the love for risk with the love for data, we are not Mad Men anymore we are trying to be digital leaders. Data is in favor of the product and service offering, in this case is in favor of our campaigns, ideas, creative strategies and creative products or services.
Finally, in order to evolve our leadership into a digital one it is necessary to have technology in-house or to start "Managing technology relationships" in case you do not have it in-house. The first thing to do is to assess your current technological resources with the purpose of having a real tech X-ray and then establish how important is this in your business strategy (priority? high? medium? low?). According to this respond you will take decisions i.e. if your tech necessities are low and your agency services are focused on offline and one of your clients ask you a digital challenge maybe the best chance is to freelance that or make a partnership with another digital agency in case this kind of requirements starting to be more and more. Technological decisions are also leadership decisions. Is not just about supplying digital solutions to your clients is also about making your creative team perform better, introducing technologies that help them to create a better work, in less time, in the right direction, at less cost and all connected following common goals. For a better technological performance you are the one who will drive the decision of changing systems and processes in your company, is note the team.
Managing technologies is essential in order to have a leading good digital performance.
To establish a new way of creative leadership to make our industry goes ahead, today you should move to a digital leadership which is controlling the four forces that shape your growth in the digital age "Innovating and rebalancing", "Embracing risks", "Leveraging data and analytics" and "Managing technology relationships".
Digital leadership is an attitude to change and to keep eyes open to the unknown; is understanding that everything is converging; is knowing that supports are not anymore rigid; is moving at the speed of young people; is anticipating the future; is evolving according to people's life and behaviors; is having the data now not tomorrow; is handling new technologies or looking for the partner who will; is doing business across different platforms; is connecting our business at one stop shop and is transforming your leadership to a new one...
Digital leadership is convergence leadership.