COVID-19 Learnings #4: Creativity

COVID-19 Learnings #4: Creativity

Crises can be good for creativity? We’ve uncovered some good stories around this topic with AMIN members. What kind of ideas emerge in these times? What is the impact of a crisis on creativity? Are there any changes in the creative process? How to brainstorm remotely? Check out all the answers!

1. John Baas / Campagne / The Netherlands

There seems to be a momentary, global, focus on collective creativity. At this instance, everybody starts working, thinking and creating from the same point of view. A single point of truth, so to speak.

Also, in times like these, there is a much stronger sense of purpose. We are all aware of the consequences if we don’t act accordingly. As humans, but also as creatives and as agencies. This automatically affects the way we create.

From a practical point of view, not a lot has changed. We/our industry are already familiar with working at home or from other places. Changing the scenery by working from different locations has been a way of getting activated on a different level for much longer. The same goes for long distance conferencing.


2. Juriaan van Berkel / Campagne/ The Netherlands

How we create or think of ideas hasn’t changed that much. We don’t have face2face brainstorms but we have (video) calls. However, the insights and messaging has changed. 

In times of crisis (any crisis), it is important to stay close to the values of the brand. People will know and see when something produced doesn’t fit the brand, making it feel insincere. In ‘normal’ times this might be accepted or brushed away. In times of crisis, this will backfire. 

It is more important to listen carefully and keep up with the changing needs of your target audience. For example, the way we have lived in the last few weeks has changed drastically. We are spending more time indoors. So we are looking at new or different ways to stay connected and make sure we don’t feel isolated or alone. On the other end of the spectrum, we are also, en mass, cleaning or redecorating our houses, making sure it feels like home. 


3. Bill Hyde / DP+ / USA

At DP+, like every agency, we have been adjusting to a new way of working during the Covid crisis. Pitching business remotely is a challenge. You lose the personal contact that can give you insight into your prospect’s personality and temperament. You lose the drama of “using the whole room” or showing off your space if it’s held at the agency. Despite these and other downsides, what you gain is some control over how each team member presents (scripts are not problem when you’re a 2” x 2” square on a screen that has your presentation on it,) control over the flow of the meeting (people don’t interrupt in the middle of video conferences typically,) AND it gives you an opportunity to introduce an element of surprise.

[ If you want to read the valuable lessons they have learned in this new way of pitching, click here. ]


4. Danny Koteras / Stoneward / USA

When we were at our office, we were very interactive. I was constantly walking into my art directors’ and copywriters’ offices. We brainstorm on whiteboards together. They are always asking me for feedback on projects. I am always checking in with them. All of this is in person. Now, it’s by looking at a 13-inch MacBook Air.

We have definitely utilized Google Hangouts to the fullest and I have learned that I’ll probably continue to do this even when we go back to the office. I’m in Little Rock and we have an office in Chicago. Those guys will never get a phone call again. Only Face to face on the computer from now on, baby!

[ want to know more about a creative director day? Click here to read a full article]


5. Rachel Allinson/ Meyocks / USA 

The biggest change we’re addressing is that we don’t know the reality in which we will  be launching the new work,” says Rachel Allinson, creative team lead at Meyocks. “We’re needing to consider – and develop work – for different scenarios, in the future, as best we can anticipate them.


6. Chad Baker / Meyocks / USA 

Creativity is all about finding a new perspective on a known subject,” says Chad Baker, creative team lead at Meyocks. “A sudden shift from the normal forces a new perspective on you. The challenge is finding the time to tap into that immediate inspiration while it’s still burning hot and before the next upheaval happens.”

[ Meyokcs created a game to inspire brainstorms sessions. Click here to discover more ]


7. Trevor Villet /Planit / USA 

One of the greatest things about working at an agency is the culture, right? We spend a lot of time having interesting conversations. Some are frivolous. Many are substantial. Almost all are fun. In between the important and pressing work we do, there’s a lot of wonderful banter that happens and along with it, learning and inspiration, whether we realize it at the time or not.

And then this.

While we try to cram as much of the culture into Zoom meetings as we can, it’s a far cry from the daily trappings of agency life. For the most part, we’re on our own. Oh well, spilt milk.

While collaboration is forced to take a backseat, independent talents are now du jour. Ideas come faster. Necessity daughters invention. And, call me crazy, but people seem a little bit quicker to celebrate each other’s wins and creativity. Perhaps it’s because we’re happy to be working. I tend to think it’s because we’re seeing that there are many ways to do this crazy-ass game called advertising. (Or whatever the hell we call it.) While I, for one, look forward to getting back in the office with my second family, I think some really powerful lessons are being taught and equally powerful realizations are being made. Not the least of which is, “no matter, we got this.”

[Planit has a weekly design challenge on their Instagram in which their talented designers create custom content around a positive theme. This week’s theme? TOGETHERNESS]