Creatives, strategists and music

Sonixtrip - Jye Smith

A photo of the guys and I from a time where all there was, and was going to be, was music. I miss that.

Myth of creative

Recently, Weber Shandwick held our global digital summit in NYC.  We learned heaps.  Not only from our own digital leaders, but also from the likes of Gary Vanyerchuck.  We also met our new Chief Creative Officer, Josh Rose.  He exposed us to a world of the creative. What they do, what they’re perceived to do, and of course, what they don’t. 

One of the biggest take aways, is that yes, your job may require you to be creative, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a creative. Something that I toyed with years ago during my first Vibewire FastBREAK presentation on the challenges of innovation and creativity.  And then I looked around: and quickly it became apparent how many people had bastardised the term to describe their job function.

This leads to misperception which, in turn, leads to structural and operational problems. Especially around ‘the creative process’ and exactly how creativity can reach its potential, and more importantly, how it is valued.

What did I learn? Creatives are ACCOUNTABLE for their ideas and creativity. Once you draw that line in the sand, clarity is achieved.

Before joining the PR machine, I knew little about them – but creative, and to an extent the role of the planner – isn’t well defined.  PR agencies are generally structured by practice (tech, lifestyle, corporate etc) like a law firm. That’s all changing.

The bane of strategists

Julian Cole recently had a couple of great posts that changed the way I look at both digital creatives - and also the role of the strategist. And for the most part, that’s where I sit. Julian makes a great point that as strategists, we tend to try and work out why shit doesn’t work – rather than why it would.  I think it is something we learn to do, because its considering intelligent or decisive. But I really agreed with how it can kill creativity.

While I’m giving JC a heap of link love, I think I also readily took for granted the coding, design and development skills I’d already developed.  The ability to craft exactly what I wanted online.  Digital creatives, it seems, also benefited from their other crafts. Which in my corner of the world is with my music and the music I’ve created with others.

So what did I learn?

As a strategist, I need to open up and.  The way I can do that, is probably the same way that every song generally starts with a few piano keys, or a few words on the page, and I look at every single possibility to make it resonate.

My strategy behind my music is clear. And perhaps now, my creativity behind my music is clear. 

Jye Smith is currently Senior Vice President, Head of Strategy & Operations, Asia Pacific at Weber Shandwick. Ranked in B&Ts 30 Under 30, Jye a regular keynote speaker and workshop facilitator who specialises in digital and social media strategist.

There are 7 comments for this article
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  2. Tom Eldridge at 11:07 pm

    I would hate to think the role of planner is to be an inhibitor of creative strategy. To my mind those planners who offer value are those who constructively offer guidance and direction as well. When collaborating on creative strategy the best approach that works for me is to apply the appropriate framework that guides thinking.

    I say framework, because it offers an objective approach to creative thinking, reducing the influence of personalities or titles when it comes to spotlighting the idea and testing it.

    However the framework needs to flex as well, and should encourage the expansion or combining of ideas and strategy, as well as being able to embed itself in an agency’s culture.

  3. Jye Author at 11:25 am

    I would hate to think that too :) Love your thoughts on this. Thanks for sharing. I hope this inspires those in these roles, and those around.

  4. Nick T at 12:12 pm

    Thanks Jye. As ever a good read and thought making.

    Makes me think.

    Accountability. Surely that is a responsibility for everyone not just a creative.

    Creativity. How about passion as a contributor. I know those without an identifiable craft, those who do not write, draw or play music but they are creative by their passion for what they do and their part in their industry let alone their life.

    Shame there is a belief that strategy is about why things don’t work. I would think that strategy is what effort is required to be done over a period of time (roughly greater than a year) to achieve a stated aim (mission/vision/objective). It can be applied to anything and should never be just about what is broken or the ways to improve but rather a holistic approach to the varied strands needed to achieve that objective including fixing the broke and or implementing improvments.

    Make me wonder. Can you clearly define the difference define creativity and being innovative. (I just wanted to make the word innovativity but as I cannot even say it quickly I will desist ;-)

  5. Pingback: Jye Smith on social media, digital media and story telling - A Digital Perspective
  6. abir at 7:13 pm

    I could anger for you to considered that too . Adore psyche about it. Many thanks with regard to sharing. I goal this particular influences anybody in these characters, and then patients on.

  7. Home Health at 4:14 pm

    Before joining the PR machine, I knew little about them – but creative, and to an extent the role of the planner – isn’t well defined. PR agencies are generally structured by practice (tech, lifestyle, corporate etc) like a law firm. That’s all changing.