the delicate balance of art and science
Two articles this week provide alternative glimpses into the delicate balance we are all seeking to achieve: to do incredibly creative idea-driven work that grabs people’s hearts and moves them to action but in a context set by the strategic and often left-brained world of target audiences, measurable goals, metrics, etc.. Too much creativity and communications becomes narcissistic — art disguised as public outreach. Too much structure and the result is bloodless, metrics-obsessed, and boring.
At Sea Change, we keep vacillating internally over whether we are first and foremost a “big ideas” company or a “solid strategy” company. Daggummit, we need to be both.
The fun read on this subject is Joel Achenbach’s meditation on the death of American journalism at the hands of the cyber-bean counters:
Newspaper journalism is different these days: Suddenly everyone is obsessed with eyeballs, page views, “stickiness,” “click-through rates,” and so on. No one shouts “Stop the presses!” anymore, but they do whimper “Why aren’t I on the home page?” The noble product that we manufacture and distribute throughout the metropolis — the physical thing so carefully designed, folded and bagged — is now generally referred to in our business as the “dead-tree edition.” It gets little respect.
In a similar vein, advertiser Alan Schulman posted an excellent rant on the Online Video Insider blog:
The point is, despite how much more sophisticated the algorithms and authoring tools get at search, assembly, contextual and behavioral serving, etc., advertising still has to move you. And that comes down to the kind of creative that makes you feel — not just think.
Yin and Yang — it’s always with the Yin and Yang.