Public speaking, UX and identifying trends: skills for creatives of the future

Creative skillsets are diversifying.

Public speaking, UX and identifying trends: skills for creatives of the future

The five "creative super-skills" creatives need are coding, augmented reality, identifying trends, presentation and public speaking, and user experience.

According to research from Oliver, these are the five skills identified as being vital for creative success. The research, undertaken this month, polled creatives across the agency landscape. 

The study, Oliver says, shows a definite shift in what it means to be "creative", with more of a focus on technical skills.

Frederico Roberto, EMEA senior creative director at Oliver, says: "The way people consume creativity has changed – new creatives have to keep stitching physical and digital together, otherwise they’re fighting a losing battle."

The importance of trend-identifying skills underlines how essential analysis skills are in this fast-paced industry. "Consumers have so much choice and they’re only going to be given more. Future creatives need to be able to make judgement calls on which trends to invest in," Roberto explains.

Humanity as a creative advantage

"The one that initially surprised me most was presentation skills," Roberto said. "Held against other digitally led skills, this one felt very ‘human’, which was genuinely interesting." 

However, he added that, after careful consideration, it does make sense: "It’s obvious that this would rank high. In 2018, every aspect of life is becoming faster and more and more automated and digitised. It’s leaving us eager to break away from the algorithm and indulge in the most ‘human’ of things: namely, to interact, socialise and debate. It marks a return to the age of philosophers and thinkers. It’s exciting."

Indeed, this is an era in which personal branding, driven by social media, has driven up the marketing agenda. Roberto continued: "In 2018, we find ourselves in a society that revolves around self-promotion and self-validation. Creatives probably feel the need to keep pace with this change, although some may find it much easier than others."

Digital skills

According to Roberto, creatives still rely on the same platforms and software as they did 10 or 20 years ago, such as Adobe and Oculus.

However, there is a shift afoot in the merging of "old tech" (such as mobile phones) and other existing technologies such as virtual reality or 360-degree films. "When spliced together, it makes for amazing experiences – augmented reality, for example, was an old dream that came true, thanks to two existing technologies coalescing," Roberto explained.

When asked why writing didn’t register as a top five creative super-skill, Roberto pointed to the fact that "we live in a world of short attention spans". He explained: "The visual component takes the lead by a significant distance. But that doesn’t mean writing isn’t important – it serves a purpose, just as visual cues do. It’s essential that strong copy is integrated within creative work, no matter what fancy new medium it’s dancing on.

"People worry that apps, digital experiences and web platforms are basically numbing our ability to think. So with this evolution society is undergoing, creatives have to deliver experiences that complement new platforms rather than just pander to them. 

"The brain is a muscle; reading and writing are perfect exercises to flex and develop it. If great copy is woven into that context, you engage people on multiple levels. It’s not just about the hot new technology or the app that gets the most dwell time; copy balances the creative, giving your work genuine argumentative power."

The battle for talent

So how can agencies ensure they attract creatives who have or are developing these five creative super-skills? "I believe that agencies will have to focus on doing more creative, culturally relevant work. Less blah blah, more doing. Less explanation, more show and tell," Roberto said. 

He continued: "People crave cool stuff to see, to share, to do; they can now access this across any platform, all the time. Agencies have a role in fulfilling this need and they can’t do so with a blinkered, old-fashioned view of what people are willing to engage with. Agencies need to attract talent as diverse as their end users – so not just tech people, writers or designers. For new stuff to happen, they need engineers, musicians, dancers, architects and chefs, all working together."

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