Brands of today need to group their efforts on delivering the best ‘return on creativity’ to fuel their performance. It’s impossible for a brand to rise above the noise without creative strategies to help them shine. The current renaissance of technology has created huge challenges for brands, but they have also created a playground for creativity. In a Middle East-first, the berries interviewed Chris Duffey, Strategic Development Manager of Adobe’s Creative Cloud Enterprise, to discuss his thoughts on the current state of global creativity and how can brands leverage it.

BB: Adobe has been nurturing the world with creativity for more than 35 years now. In your opinion, what defines “Creativity”?

Chris Duffey, Head of Creative Cloud Strategic Development Partnerships at Adobe

CD: To quote Marvin Minsky, a pioneer of AI, “Most words we use to describe our minds (like ‘consciousness’, ‘learning’, or ‘memory’) are suitcase-like jumbles of different ideas.” Much like our minds, creativity is a vast and complex concept. Maybe that’s why so much innovation is happening when you merge these two greatly complex dimensions of creativity and AI. What does creativity mean to you? The ability and action to bring seemingly unconnected things together in new, innovative ways. Creativity becomes even more powerful when it solves a business problem or delivering on a customer need. That’s where we delineate between art and science in service of business.

BB: In the era we live in, everything is moving with the speed of light, brands are constantly in a battle to find and unlock creative potential. How should brands view ” creativity”?

CD: When it comes to creativity, humans and machines talk. However, the only constant is change. The only thing to combat that change is the ability to be adaptive and creative. That’s when creativity can be a real brand differentiator.

BB: When can creativity be a real brand differentiator?

CD: Creativity can truly differentiate a brand when its used as a stethoscope of society – listening to and informing how a brand is performing and how it can be of greater value to consumers.

BB: Pairing creativity with data will lead to unique and unforgettable brand experiences. In the data era we are living in, how can brands connect the dots between data and creativity?

CD: This gets to the heart of the promise of AI – specifically, look at Adobe Sensei, our AI and machine learning platform focused on solving digital experience challenges across creative, digital marketing and document realms. It’s integral and foundational to Adobe’s products across the company. To the end user, it’s providing greater intelligence for content intelligence, experience intelligence and creative intelligence. These Adobe features are helping our customers streamline and optimize their workflow – whether they’re designing an app, editing a photo or film, or launching a marketing campaign. For example, Visual Search (powered by Adobe Sensei) in Adobe Stock helps creators find the perfect image from millions of possibilities, or Face-Aware Liquify in Adobe Photoshop CC automatically detects facial features and helps you adjust them to enhance a portrait or add a creative character to a fun shot.

BB: Does creativity, alone, sell? Do you believe in the correlation between outstanding creative success and commercial success?

CD: Well-informed creativity is a business differentiator when it’s based on insights and customer understanding; that’s where it has bottom line success.

BB: The rise of the digital age has revamped how brands are leveraging creativity to drive brand growth, making the audience more intrigued. How can brands use such trends to drive sales?

CD: Brands are in many ways so connected to audiences via social and mobile channels that they have an obligation to provide value and top experiences. For driving sales and ROI, brands need to deliver personalized and interactive experiences across the customer journey so every customer feels like a VIP.

BB: Creativity is a way of thinking not a department and every endeavor can be improved by creative thinking. Consequently, believing that creativity resides in the creative department of ad agencies and that media people, data people or CRM people can’t be creative, is questionable. Please comment.

CD: Everyone is creative at heart. It’s exciting to see that some of the best innovations and creativity is coming out of traditionally left-brain disciplines, which are traditionally more analytical. That mindset is now ushering in the ability to spot patterns and insights that can be used in exciting new creative ways.

BB: How do you see creativity in the Middle East?

CD: We’re living in an extraordinary time where the world has gotten smaller and more connected because of emerging technologies. Creativity is truly universal as you see across markets, industries and multinational companies – it’s global.