Creativity, Technology, and Advertising of the Future

Written by Tim Edmundson

46106_FB_LinkedINEveryone is creative – from artist to advertiser, everyone has a different way of expressing themselves. Humans are creative by their very nature; you need only to look to early man’s cave paintings to know that humanity has an innate desire to create.

In our modern world, people are still just as creative as our early ancestors. There is a disconnect though that many have struggled with – finding an outlet for creativity. A great sculptor may never realize his artistic potential if all he has at his disposal are oil paints. So what can be done to connect the creative with the appropriate outlet? How can we give the inspired a way to channel that inspiration?

That’s the topic SteelHouse Chief Product Officer Marwan Soghaier tackled this week at CreateTech in New York City. In his presentation to a packed a house, he explored the essence and origin of creativity, and how technology not only enables but inspires those to create. “Ideas are sparked by interaction with your surrounding elements,” he said. “It’s born out of the need to communicate ideas – but that inspiration needs an outlet.”


The Next RembrandtTo kick off the conversation, Soghaier explored the question of what role technology plays in advancing creativity. He cited “The Next Rembrandt,” this year’s Cannes Lions Grand Prix winner for both the Cyber and Creative Data categories. The groundbreaking project saw a computer taught how to paint like famed Dutch artist Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn. The computer was fed data on brush strokes, composition, lighting, and other elements that went into his work, and in turn created a 3D-printed painting that could not easily be distinguished from the real artist’s catalogue. This project drew both praise and ire (some considered it an abomination to let the role of artist be played by a machine), and illustrated the divide in thinking when it comes to technology’s role in art and creativity.

“But what can’t be argued,” said Soghaier when describing what the Rembrandt project represents, “is that technology is changing the way people create – and it will continue to do so.” He continued, “Technology is becoming the conduit for people who are inspired to express themselves, and for people who know how to express themselves to be inspired.”


Cw2HrneXAAMvoK3.jpg_largeSoghaier brought the conversation back to how this could be applied to digital advertising. “I’ve been designing and building products for almost three decades, and at SteelHouse our culture has never been afraid to innovate. We took a look at the lynch pin of our industry, which is the creative process. We started with a lofty idea: build technology that acts like a sort of ‘bionic for the mind,’ allowing individuals with ideas to express them and those with skills to get more ideas.” Technology, said Soghaier, can facilitate and enhance creativity.

That idea evolved over time and energy spent – three years, 40 engineers, 15 prototypes, usability testing involving facial mapping, and more – and eventually resulted in a tool that enables intelligent and creative design. The SteelHouse Creative Suite was designed to bridge the gap from idea to execution, and do it in the easiest way possible.

How does it do this? By incorporating fundamental elements every marketer must keep in mind when building creative and campaigns. Soghaier shared six steps that are not only fundamental in the Creative Suite, but are also strong principles for creating and collaborating on advertising design that are true now and will continue to be well into the future:

Know What Your Audience Likes | When you’re creating, you need to know who you are creating it for. Add an element of behavioral data to interpret patterns that could understand intent, and better suit your creative to your audience.

Leverage Dynamic Content | Take advantage of rich media and interactive experiences elements. Audiences feel more invested, engaged, and ready to interact in your content when it’s active.

Reach Your Audience in Real-Time | In addition to understanding what your audience likes, you must understand when they are most likely to be in a purchasing mindset and target them at that moment. If you’re able to meet your customer at that moment, your chance of conversion is much higher.

Strive for a Quick Creative Cycle | The more you can cut out time-wasting production steps, the more you can focus on the creative product. Look for opportunities to streamline process – and take advantage of tech solutions (i.e. the Creative Suite) that help facilitate this.

Use the Content Around You | Have a well-organized library available that will help you retrieve relevant content efficiently and in one place. By removing the hassle of hunting down the right image, you can stay locked in on the creative process.

Incorporate the Best Imagery | Take a quick look at your Facebook feed or Instagram – chances are you’re going to see some great content. Take advantage of user-generated imagery when possible.


Cw2IMA9XAAMQq_0.jpg_large“What role does technology play in the creative process? We think it’s the catalyst to turn ideas into art.”

Technology is on its way to being that catalyst, and Soghaier and team have taken big steps in enabling people from all backgrounds to tap into their creativity. When faced with the choice of using the same creative tools that were readily available, he said, they decided to ignore the options that would have given the same old results and push forward. They decided to build something from the ground up, and if by doing so they were able to change the way people advertise in even a small way, it would be a major accomplishment.

So that begs the questions – what’s the ultimate goal for tech that enhances creative process?

“Well, in the hands of the people that feel inspired by the things they see and use everyday, it has the potential to reverse the role of the consumer and the advertiser, allowing anyone to generate beautiful creative,” he said. “Because what happens on the level of the consumer gives them the ability to generate creative in real-time, right at the moment where they are inspired by what they see. And because everyone is creative, the best technology is the ‘one’ that harnesses it.”