Insider’s view: Where creativity, customer experience and insights meet

Insider’s view: Where creativity, customer experience and insights meet

Jyrki Kallinen

Jaakko Veijola, the Founding Partner and Creative at Wörks Agency, has an extensive career of 20+ years covering arts and various positions in creative marketing agencies. From co-exhibiting at the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art to production and Art Director positions in a variety of agencies, having also taught at the Aalto University in Helsinki, Veijola has formed comprehensive and solid understanding of the path that leads to success on creativity. In this article Veijola shares his views on what is happening in the field of creative agencies in Finland, what are the “musts” to take into account in generating value to clients, and what are the tips for young entrants on how to make the mark.

Our world of noise needs clarity

Through our existence as a human race in our documented history, there have been evolving trends and phenomena that shape our lives. After each of these specific eras there have been a counter-force that somehow balances or counteracts the influence of the previous era. In arts, renaissance celebrated the intellect and capabilities of a human being, which then evolved into emotionally focused romanticism, followed by more abstract and experimental modern art. After the massive industrial globalization era, many of us today prefer food that is grown, cultivated and manufactured close to where we live.

“We live in a world of noise. We seek peace, clarity and consistency by nature, and the world of noise strengthens this desire in us”, Veijola opens. “The surrounding world bombards us with ads, messages, offers, promises, and other attempts aimed at influencing on our behaviour. For agencies and companies who wish to succeed in generating a desirable influence, fragmentation needs to be minimized. It all boils down to clarity and consistency”, Veijola continues.

On digital customer journey design, “mobile first” is a commonly used term. This means that mobile devices are considered as the first design element when crafting a consistent digital experience for a company. Online desktop experience, and traditional elements such as ATL (above the line) marketing covering television, radio, print media, and outdoor ads add their own spices into the mix.

“The customer journey needs to be consistent on all touch-points, from the perspective of the consumer”, states Veijola. “This is also the core challenge in the work of most creative agencies; how to ensure that the desired customer experience is consistently solid. Moreover, the fragmentation of different media channels has led to the avoidance of ambiguous, post-modern and sarcastic tone of voice. In messaging, it is better to have frank and easily understandable tone of voice”, Veijola underlines.

Insights driven creativity

According to Veijola, the corona pandemic has also brought positive elements into the domain of creative agencies. The changed situation has healthily challenged creative professionals to boldly explore and try out new things, which under normal circumstances could have be considered too risky. Another aspect that has changed is the way how the theme of responsibility is handled and treated in professional creative consumer messaging.

“Before the corona pandemic, the theme of responsibility was typically approached from rather abstract, world embracing perspective. Now the approach highlights more human closeness, concretizing people’s own immediate living circles, communities and societies. I think this is positive development, it focuses on things that truly matter, aiming at drilling down to what’s meaningful in life”, Veijola comments.

For years, Wörks Agency has collaborated with Crowst to adopt and inject insights into the work of creative professionals who design sketches and develop new ideas. The insights are sourced directly from people; consumers who have concluded that they have a genuine opportunity to influence in the world and commercial offerings around them.

“Today we are able to establish our work on solid ground, and even win new projects, backed by the insights driven advantage”

“Having the opportunity to integrate direct consumer insights in our design process has been huge for us. Today we are able to establish our work on solid ground, and even win new projects, backed by the insights driven advantage”, Veijola states.

Tips for tomorrow’s heroes

Working in a creative marketing agency is challenging. You need to work following strict timelines and deliver, while continuously impressing your colleagues, peers and most importantly, your clients. According to Veijola, the working mode with clients has also changed a bit in the past 5 years.

“Today, it is common that the clients’ teams we work with are mixed virtual teams. In the past they tended to be structured, dedicated team units. I think this is good development, because the clients’ organizational silos and structural limitations have a lesser negative impact. Mixed teams enable clients to dedicate best talent for different projects”, ponders Veijola.

In winning creative marketing agencies, creativity and consumer insights complement and support each others in the design process.

In winning creative agencies, creativity and consumer insights support each others in the design process.

When considering what would be the recipe for success for young talent who wish to establish their careers in creative agencies, Veijola points out the following 5 things, with a smile:

    • Be concrete, you should aim at clear expression
    • Be friendly
    • If you are aware that you have a big ego, throw that to the bin. After that you are unleashed to do anything.
    • Learn to learn, continuously, as a part of your way to live and work. Don’t try to specialize on something specific too much. World moves fast, and if you get too deep into something specific, your expertise may be outdated tomorrow.
    • Never be late

“Try to avoid hypotheses, theories and assumptions; they are not a solid foundation to build on. Knowledge is power; you need to recognize and know what works and why.”

For clients, Veijola has a tip, as well. “Dare to pilot and test. When you have identified what works, backed with relevant insights, scale the identified recipe of success. Try to avoid hypotheses, theories and assumptions; they are not a solid foundation to build on. Knowledge is power; you need to recognize and know what works and why”, Veijola closes.

Read more about the collaboration between Wörks and Crowst on our other blog article.