Merging the online and offline experiences of consumers has emerged as the key driver of change for the creative community across Asia Pacific in 2017, as companies seek to build strong, successful experience businesses.
Design and creativity are now essential foundations for businesses, while simultaneously becoming the competitive differentiators of successful digital transformations.
By harnessing new technology like artificial intelligence and machine learning, creative teams can strip away the mundane and focus instead on strategy and ideation, and craft authentic experiences that span the physical and real worlds.
Merging online and offline experiences stood out as the number one investment priority for enterprises when Adobe polled 5,000 creative and marketing professionals across the region for the Creative Pulse 2017 report. Yet while there’s clarity about priorities, there remains evidence of an opportunity gap.
52 per cent of survey respondents said customer experience was front and centre of their strategy, yet only 21 per cent of creatives in the region have designed their own CX project.
A quarter of all respondents said they don’t have a customer experience program in place, nor do they have plans to develop one over the coming year. This apparent mismatch between intent and reality places slow-moving organisations at a serious competitive disadvantage. While they languish, their nimbler regional rivals race ahead with brilliantly designed, creative customer experience initiatives that are attracting customers and building loyalty.
A digital transformation is underway across Asia Pacific, reshaping how the world’s leading enterprises engage with consumers by combining rich creativity with deep data-driven insight and powerful technologies.
Professionals understand the importance of keeping their skills relevant – 45 per cent upskill every six months, while a further 26 per cent update their skills annually, the report found.
This isn’t surprising, given that 54 per cent of respondents understand how technology is drastically changing creatives’ work practices, with social media and data analytics highlighted as having the biggest impacts.
What also shines through in the report is how most creatives are embracing new technologies as a tool for raising the quality of their work. Half of all respondents said that artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies would support and stimulate creativity.
There is, however, a smaller number of creative professionals that are concerned about the existential threat these technologies could pose. These concerns were most prevalent in India, Southeast Asia and Korea, which perhaps reflects the prevalence of content production hubs in these markets.
Advanced technologies won’t replace human creativity, they will augment it. Artificial intelligence and machine learning can streamline creatives’ workflows and help to remove organisational friction, which was also identified by many respondents as a brake on their ability to roll out new creative content at speed and at scale. These technologies liberate teams to focus on ideation and design thinking.
Time to act
But again, there are signs that not everyone is benefitting from technology equally.
Asked whether they would use machine learning and automation to free them to invest time in strategy and creativity, half of the respondents said yes and half said no. Similarly, when asked if they could use artificial intelligence to give consumers personalised experiences, 47 per cent said yes and the other 53 per cent said no.
There was a similar split for creatives exploring virtual reality and augmented reality and those who were not.
The results of the Creative Pulse survey reveal an opportunity for all creatives to press pause; to recognise that every industry and every role is being transformed by technology. Humans aren’t being replaced by technology – at least creative humans aren’t – they are being assisted by it.
There is an opportunity here and now to identify how technology can strip friction from creative processes, how it can inject intelligence into the online and offline customer experience, and how it allows creativity and content to scale at the speed that social-savvy consumers now expect.
Watch this video for some key highlights from the report.
Download the full report here