USING DATA TO INFORM THE CREATIVE PROCESS

By Barry Blumberg - August 09, 2018

During my 25 years of working with content creators, I’ve had to wrestle with the balance between unfettered creative expression and the desire to measure and quantify the impact of those efforts. Today, I am seeing more and more thoughtful creators use data, especially considering the ways that we can now track, measure, and in some cases predict the viability of a piece of creative content. Finding the right balance isn’t always easy, but I firmly believe that using data can actually lead to the best possible creative outcome.

Validation of the creative instinct

Creativity is intuitive and people’s responses to it are unpredictable. It can be hard to anticipate what people will like, dislike, or find entertaining. Data allows us to quantify some of those abstractions in order to better understand what worked, maybe why it worked, and perhaps allow us to replicate that success in the future. Or, at minimum, use that successful formula to inspire the next creative endeavor.

Data lets you ask intelligent questions about your audience’s response. For a creator, data doesn’t have to be the final decision, but it can provide a few advantages.

Competitive advantages of data

Creative projects guided entirely by data ring false -- think of any insincere brand sponsorship or influencer match you’ve spotted. Or when a brand chimes in on a trending social topic that has no relevance to their product or audience. Those decisions are transparently data-driven; a marketer knows that a certain influencer or topic will get them X amount of views… But in order to create really meaningful branded content, marketers must uncover the ways that a creator’s content overlaps with the brand’s values.

Brands that have mastered this principle have grown cult followings. Think about Red Bull targeting action sports enthusiasts who are perfectly aligned with energy drink buyers. Once those deeper connections are made, the creativity can flow freely and the resulting projects can be breathtaking.

Better data can be the genesis of those smarter connections.

Companies like ICX Media, whose AI-powered platform provides audience insights to video creators, are empowering creatives to find those meaningful partnerships. This kind of proprietary tech allows independent creators to have access to a deeper level of sophistication than what is available from the social platforms themselves. This can help independent creatives to not only make their very best work but also provide them with exposure to potential sponsors for that work. It will open up doors to world-class brands, making independent video producers more successful and also improving the quality of branded content in general.

Some of the best projects I’ve ever been a part of have been branded. The key to these successes is finding the smartest possible alignment between creator and brand. And that relationship cannot be based on simple data points. It requires that symbiosis between artistic inclination and the demographic data points.

Data is one of many colors on an artist’s palate which they can use to enhance their creative vision. It should never be used as a Paint By Number with data dictating the whole picture. Learning to use data as a gentle informer for artistic inclination can allow creators to scale their success and exposure at unprecedented rates. Data can help you create deeper connections between you and people who will appreciate your art.

Barry Blumberg is Chief Content Officer at Mammoth Media, a founding partner of Prompt News and an advisor to video storytelling data platform ICX Media and to Pocket.Watch, the kids entertainment headquarters .

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Video is the key to the future of social

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