Let’s face it – we’ve long-needed more humanity in our work, and also the daily interactions by which we get it done. But this pandemic-induced reality has brought a whole new level of longing. The lack of smiles, handshakes, and gestures, not to mention the hallway conversations and casual ideas floating around in the studio, have had a deeper impact emotionally.
And this is an introvert writing this.
Finding the silver lining.
We were already heading toward a world where work-life balance and new capabilities demanded we get things done in new ways. COVID just forced it in the way my Labradoodle charges through the invisible fence he sees his friend.
Necessity has also forced us to think differently in terms of how we get the work imagined and created. The natural imperfection of User-Generated Content (UGC) has become totally acceptable. Brands are also making the decision to utilize illustration-driven visuals. When this first started, most people weren't comfortable with the lack of control in social and production values, but the industry has gotten used to it. Even accepting it as just another creative constraint. Accepting a lack of control and perfection is tough. But isn’t being imperfect the hallmark of simply being human?
Quick Recap (What happened?!)
-Work continued. Cannes still lit up with their virtual Lions Live. The Super Bowl was still...the Super Commercial Bowl. And writing and storytelling were even more important than ever.
-Everyone thought differently about “production.” And it’s beyond commercials – movies have been shot well-before 2020 with phone-only creation and we know that’s here to stay.
-Beyond just CGI, augmented and mixed reality is happening. And it’s shoppable. and then there’s the dystopian perspective too.
-Animation and illustration had yet another renaissance and showed how they could make something endlessly ownable while unifying a brand style in a fun and energetic way.
-Same goes for stock footage and what the possibilities are.
What to look forward to
We talk about “enviable work” here at Gupta because what we do should also be judged based on the emotional as well as the rational. The performance in “Performance Marketing” is the price of admission. It’s the rational component. Enviable adds the “Damn, I wish I did that!”
Being the contrarians that we are, this process didn’t just make us stronger, it made everyone appreciate the ways in which creativity can find solutions to engage humans. Use their imaginations. Help them feel. Bring everyone together. And it also helped us validate how “the data” guides us.
Understanding humans tends to be difficult. It’s all about our gut. What’s ahead for the rest of 2021 and 2022 necessitates us to use data to inform and make effective those gut instincts. As we re-emerge into the world, this data will once again help us understand human likes, dislikes, and even the “meh, I just don’t care.” It’s indeed merging science and the instinct to always improve and go. And isn’t that truly the human aspiration we’re all longing for?