Left Brain Vs Right Brain---Tony Yuan, Senior Vice-President of hdtMEDIA
from Campaign
If the left side of your brain represents creativity and strategic thought, then the right side of your brain would represent logic, or, in this case, pro­grammatic buying. To many, the dawn of the in­ternet and everyone having digital DNA, as well as the advent of ¡®big data¡¯, has signalled an end to tradi­tional advertising. If this is true, does it signal a glori­ous new era for marketers and consumers alike or are we simply reinventing the wheel? Are some of us standing over an abyss of troubled waters or clear skies ahead?
Does the internet dilute the value or rele­vance of the advertising agency?
If we consider the communications industry as a left and right brain dynamic, then the left is strategic thinking ¡ª based on experiences ¡ª and the right is a programmatic mindset (hu­man-less, automated). Way before the internet existed, most ads were assessed on left-brain reactions. Advertising agencies played a vital role, providing strategic thinking, identifying, cre­ating and opening effective channels to help project brand qualities.
Then came the internet, followed by big data, and behold we discovered one-to-one brand en­gagement. Has this lead to diminishing impact or ef­fectiveness of strategic input or actual creativity? And yet the concept of full-service creative agencies remains.
Could the same be said for media agencies? We all know that media agencies have to go along with the times. If they stay with the original system, their value will become marginalised. Many have ac­quired technology companies and constructed trad­ing desks. So it¡¯s clear, they are obviously different from the past.
But if the only gap between a brand (and its values) and the actual consumer experience is only a clever algorithm, what hope is there for a commission-based middleman?
Media agencies continue to thrive and flourish de­spite the odds. However, no matter how sophisticat­ed or clever any software-based intelligence system gets, it seems we still need human traits: the experi­enced eye, the ability to buck the trend, to question, to challenge or even to ignore what we see (often with minimal thought and even less time).
As our digital world continues to fragment, to sup­posedly be more and more personal yet often ex­tremely public and vulnerable at the same time, the role and purpose of what was a creative or media agency changes. But their necessary skills and de­sire to create and build brands thankfully remain. The complexity of this ever-changing media land­scape therefore allows creative, strategic and audi­ence-buying disciplines to excel.
Does our evolving business model fuel or stifle competition?
As in any industry, if entry barriers are low, then every man and his dog will be in the game, all chasing the same dollars. Or if the market is becoming more and more specialised and niche then we can all carve out our very own corner.
For example, hdtMEDIA only works in digital media and we specialise in bringing quality audiences to ad­vertisers and their media agencies, simply because that¡¯s how the digital media landscape has evolved. Everyone sticks to their strengths; ours are advanced technology platforms and strategic solutions.
Can or should you combine creativity and big data?
Creativity can¡¯t be replaced in some fields, such as social, video, PR or traditional media. Creativity also can be found in technology ¡ª dynamic creativity is the perfect combination of technology and originality.
In my opinion, technology combining with creativi­ty is inevitable. If there is just technology then mar­keting will be tedious; the other way round ¡ª just cre­ativity ¡ª then marketing will be imprecise and wasted. Only combining both lets us present the right creativity to the right people at the right time.
The opportunities and challenges, and even the definition, of ¡®big data¡¯ has become a hot topic in the industry. Interpretations and views can be very divid­ed. The point I want to make clear is, numbers and data are not the solution to every marketing problem.
Often at advertising awards in China, it appears that the ¡®winning¡¯ campaign did not lend itself to an obvious creative concept or execution. This may not even matter, or it may only be visible to those it was meant for. Either way, we can get caught up in the dig­ital numbers and measurable elements, and may not always appreciate the basic idea or insight.
Luckily, the internet and its consequences will keep evolving and no matter what new technologies appear, good brand creativity will definitely defeat hawker-style branding.
So which side of the brain is needed to win, sur­vive, succeed or remain relevant? While the left or the right is sometimes more or less in vogue, clearly we cannot have one without the other; we just have to put our minds together.