Ann Wixley, creative director at OMD UK
Ann Wixley, creative director at OMD UK
A view from Ann Wixley

Big ideas and how they are distributed call for creativity

My 2015 opened with a bang in the manipulative-yet-spontaneous, man-made-yet-mythical sensory overload that is the Consumer Electronics Show. This felt like a fitting start to the year - a portent of the abundance of ideas, all shapes and sizes, that will be unleashed by the new evolving creative democracy. Let me explain.

Ideas are coming from a growing number of new sources, beyond brands and their agencies. They’re coming from the crowd, from cultural influencers in the form of disruptive "no middlemen" business models, and from emerging media brands – all powered by exponentially evolving technology. As these sources develop and multiply, they demand fundamentally new marketing approaches.

The shift from a model of awareness to one of relevance will be empowered by the growing discipline of programmatic planning. Communication can now be seeded where and when it’s most relevant, not just according to the promotional calendar. This shift will require bridging the gap between brand and direct marketing creative execution, but also a new volume of quality digital assets to be available on tap.

Creative craft is required in the design of how ideas will travel, as well as in the making of the ideas themselves. Great ideas cut through. However, scratch beneath the surface of those that shift the dial and you’ll find that the scale delivered – reach and frequency – is creatively engineered too. The hierarchy between big ideas and how they are distributed no longer stands. We need creativity throughout the process, from all agencies.

'Ideas are coming from the crowd, from cultural influencers in the form of disruptive business models'

There is the curatorial challenge of how "traditional" ideas meet with ideas of the crowd, such as marketing the phenomenon of Disney’s Star Wars or businesses such as Airbnb. And, of course, the challenge of how we co-create ideas with the crowd, let alone with each other.

Finally, more than ever, brands will need a portfolio of creative solutions of different shapes and speeds to remain relevant and valued. At OMD UK, we’re articulating this as the need to create ideas that earn a share in people’s lives. I’ve noted two implications in response to this.

First, enjoy your niche, yet know how it connects to the now even bigger picture. Second, work with others who have a different piece of the puzzle and know things you don’t. This is the window for collaboration. Success will lie with those who partner well with others.

I guess it boils down to attitude. We have a choice. We can view this new world as an opportunity, a creative heaven; or as a threat, a creative hell. Either way, our choices dictate the paths that we will forge. And, perhaps, the ending too.

Ann Wixley is the creative director at OMD UK