Matt McNeanyFounder and Chief Executive Officer
There’s been some thoughtful and comprehensive views on Creative Technologists lately from the likes of Wieden + Kennedy (why they’re not hiring CTs – by Igor Clark) and a follow-up from
Defining the role is crucial
Don’t get me wrong, by and large, I completely agree with Igor and Sermad’s posts. They help our industry define a necessary consensus or baseline on what this (not so) new role is.
From my own experience as a
Candidates, agencies and recruiters alike now have clarity on what can be a very broad role, so everyone can plot their requirements and
Evolving roles and creating diversity
From this baseline of common ground, it allowed the
A quick look at agency CMOs, for example – such as Simon Bond at BBDO, the wonderful Helen Weisinger at McCanns in London, and Debra Coughlin at Draftfcb – shows you not only how the brand-focused elements of
And so it is with the Creative Technologist role. The industry needs a baseline, so we need debate and consensus. And by understanding the role, we also get a very healthy diversity in the backgrounds of those coming to the role.
Where next for the Creative Technology community?
Secondly, and far more importantly, the role is far too narrow – especially now. Newsflash: adland is largely insular, risk averse and conservative. Go on, admit it, we are. I don’t mean the innovators, the early
But compare that to the Creative agencies – drop Don Draper into most ad agencies today and he’d soon pick it up. In
Time for Creative Technologists to think bigger
These threats are why agencies and their Creative Technologists need to think bigger. In fact, even the name is devalued and self-limiting. I remember working at a design agency about 17 lifetimes ago and being told that we couldn’t say we were ‘creative’ because everyone would assume we were an ad agency. Hang on, isn’t ‘creative’ an adjective?
At the risk of my own chin-stroking indulgence, conforming to the ad industry’s definition of ‘Creative’ isn’t helping. Creative Technology isn’t just about using technology to make advertising better. It’s much more than that. Creative Technology is also about enterprise architecture; about smart, innovative and, yes, creative applications of new technology that make the business of advertising and marketing better – be that entirely new ways of working, new business models or, yes, engaging with audiences in new ways.
Like small-c conservatism, you can be risk-averse without being a Tory / Republican and you can be creative with technology without working on an ad campaign.
Am I talking about ‘marketing technology’ (see Scott Brinker’s brilliant overview of this every subject)? Well, maybe you could argue that it better reflects what we do at Code. But I’m not convinced – what happens if Code chooses to work outside of the marketing and advertising sector? Anyway, it’s just a name. Code Worldwide is a Creative Technology agency.
We’re essentially a marketing agency with technologists instead of creatives. And we use technology to make marketing better. Do we expect to single-handedly change the ad industry’s understanding of the word ‘creative’? Nope. But can we encourage everyone we meet (clients and agencies alike) to think bigger – about technology as a force for entrepreneurial change and the importance of enterprise-level thinking? You bet. Because that’s what clients are asking for from us.