Elevation_PillarPage_FutureofCreativity

Future of Creativity: What's Next and How to Stay Ahead

The creative industry is growing at an incredible pace, from new software, advancements in technology, plug-ins, and creative tools. If you don't continue to think towards the future and utilize these new tools available, you'll surely get left in the creative dust.

So we're constantly evolving and constantly teaching ourselves new things. It's fun to play anyways, isn't it?!

Here's a look at the future of creativity:

It’s been just over a year since the digital artist known as Beeple sold an NFT for $69 million dollars. While some saw this as a sign of the future, others questioned the idea of a future full of overpriced jpegs. But the truth is, both the ridiculous price and the jpeg itself are misdirections here. The NFT represents an entirely new way for people to connect with, invest in, and rally behind the things they love. And guess what? Brands need people to love them.

Beeple Everydays: The First 5000 Days - Photo Source: Christie's

When the Beeple NFT sale happened, most brand managers had probably never heard of NFTs, but then again, most brands aren’t Taco Bell. Maybe they were gathering intel from the late night drive-thru chatter, but Taco Bell actually launched their first NFT series just before Beeple broke the blogosphere. While some might accuse Taco Bell of trying to get a quick PR hit, they managed to call dibs on being the first major brand in the NFT world. Since then, several brands have tested the NFT waters with varying degrees of success, and occasionally, abject failure. But, the brands that are getting it right are the ones that understand the bigger implications of NFTs and how they will change marketing, brand building, and even brand ownership in the future. Here’s how brands are getting NFTs right.

Purpose & Transparency

Consumers are looking more and more for their brands to stand behind a cause and build a culture of giving. Believe it or not, NFTs and...

Read more

AirDrop

An airdrop, in the cryptocurrency world, is a marketing tactic that involves distributing coins or tokens to promote and raise awareness for a new virtual currency. This is similar to a giveaway to keep players involved and engaged, and in return, the players are usually asked to promote their service via social media. Could this be … the new influencer marketing?

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality combines the real world with the virtual world. It allows for real-time interaction and precise 3D registration of virtual and real objects. In the crypto world, augmented reality has an important relationship with NFTs. AR NFTs incorporate AR components, such as being able to see digital items in your surroundings or on your face/body.

Avatar

An avatar is a digital representation of a user. The term PFP (or profile picture) can sometimes be used interchangeably when used in the context of a social media icon. In metaverse spaces, avatars can give a player or user a "body" in virtual worlds in order to interact with the virtual space around them

Blockchain

Blockchain is a type of immutable database that is shared among the nodes of a computer network. They are best known for the role that they play in cryptocurrency, as they maintain a secure and decentralized record of transactions. Blockchains guarantee security of data, generating trust without the need for a third party. 

Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency, often called crypto, is an exchange medium that is digital,...

Read more

For creatives, we may not be thinking about how the art we are creating or engaging with is having a direct impact on our life. And even for individuals who claim to be non-creative, art that you come in contact with is impacting you too. The connection between our brains and art leaves a more positive, powerful impact than we realize. Countless studies have been done regarding the link between mental health and creativity. Let’s dive in to understand the relationship between the two. 

What Really is Creativity?

Creativity. In your head, you are probably thinking that you have an exact understanding of it, and words like painting, writing, and drawing are coming to mind. But, the definition and concept of creativity is a difficult thing to wrap your brain around. In sophisticated terms, creativity is the ability to transcend traditional ways of thinking or acting, and to develop new and original ideas, methods, or objects. Creativity is a skill that is specific and different for every individual. For some, this might come naturally, and for others it may not, but everyone has some sort of creative flair or edge. Second, creativity pushes the limits of the mainstream ways of thinking and acting. It breaks barriers and challenges those comfort zones. Lastly, it goes beyond these barriers and develops new ideas and things. 

Saying that creativity may be one of the most important attributes to one’s life is not an overstatement. It might just be an understatement. Creativity...

Read more

2021 has been the year of digital resilience. The global pandemic changed the advertising world as we know it, and the old-school rules no longer apply. Brands must prove to be digitally successful, have identity systems to provide customization at a large scale and have infrastructure set up to provide meaningful and relevant user experiences.

Consumers have always led the way, but this might prove to be true now more than ever. As our world shifts back to this “new normal” and we begin to shift outside of our homes again, consumer behavior will continue to change. The adoption of digital technologies by all generations was dramatically sped up by the pandemic. Budgets are being moved to digital devices in order to stay on top of the trends and in front of consumers. With this increasing growth of mobile use, grabbing consumers’ attention while they are using multiple devices at the same time will be important. Diversifying media types within campaigns will become a key part in engaging the consumer.

Let’s take a look into what we might expect to see in 2022:

Hybrids Events and Experiences

Online events might be here to stay, due to the fact that you can increase your reach and maximize the capacity of your event to its full potential. With a hybrid event, the mix of in-person and online guests makes this option the best of both worlds. Aside from reaching massive audiences, hybrid events also allow for lower costs, higher engagement, increased marketing and sponsorship...

Read more

In part two of our series, we covered commerce in the metaverse. In part three, we talked about communities. In our final installment, we’re going to look at some of the brands that have already dipped their toes in the metaverse space and some that have fully embraced the new direction we are heading. But, how can brands know the best ways to enter into a space that hasn’t yet been fully defined? The short answer is that they can’t. In much the same way that brands had to learn to navigate the web in the early days, the same goes for the metaverse. Undoubtedly, some brands will make missteps and handle their early metaverse experiences poorly. Others will find great success with the right insights, and maybe a dash of luck to boot.

But, the brands that don’t engage early enough stand a chance to be left behind, not just by other traditional brands who get it right, but also by the wave of digitally native upstart brands that are firmly rooted in the ecosystem and have the ability to adapt quickly in a rapidly evolving marketplace. 

Let’s review some of the ways that brands have made an impact on the metaverse for better or for worse, and look at opportunities for brands to start getting involved now.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Tweets

As we’ve covered extensively in this series, NFTs are the property deeds of the metaverse. The whole idea of verifiable digital ownership, with built-in scarcity, is being developed through the proliferation of NFTs and they are setting the...

Read more

The metaverse is here, and it is already making huge waves. From art to gaming to sports collectibles, several industries are seeing seismic shifts in how communities interact, how creators get paid, and how brands can engage with their fans and customers. Much like how the advent of both the internet and social media radically redefined our digital lives, the metaverse has the potential to have a similar impact on how we interface with each other.

The event industry is a prime sector to see the positive impact of the metaverse in action. Here are a few ways we think the next wave of internet technology will have a transformative effect on events, both in-person and virtual.

Enhanced Virtual Events

As 3D digital spaces are a major component of the metaverse, virtual events leveraging the metaverse promise to be more engrossing and engaging. Rather than a series of streamed presentations and Zoom calls, virtual events can offer a space for attendees to explore and interact. This can mimic the experience of going to an event, and lead to more spontaneity for the event-goer. But, there’s so much more potential than recreating the experience of going to an expo hall. Virtual 3D spaces can give an event a unique presentation that would be impossible just through video streaming or financially impractical if done in the real world. A 60 foot tall Ariana Grande performing would definitely be out of scope of most events’ budgets. But it happened in her wildly popular Fortnite...

Read more

Right now, we are building the infrastructure for the metaverse. Not just the hardware and software infrastructure, and not just the economic infrastructure. Perhaps most importantly, we are building the cultural infrastructure. A new type of community is emerging through an ‘ownership economy’, where brands, celebrities, and fans commingle and share, sometimes equally, in the success of a project. A theme of decentralization is changing the way consumers think about the brands and entertainment that they love, where everyone has a chance to shape the story.If we are building the metaverse, these communities are its town squares, and it’s a good idea to jump into the conversation.

Is this the new social media?

Social media is generally considered the primary communication layer of the internet. If Web 1.0 gave us information, then Web 2.0 gave us communication. But, while early internet bulletin boards and chat rooms connected small groups of like-minded people, social media is a fire hose of information that sometimes struggles to generate real connections. Perhaps worse, there is no incentive for people to get along on social media. Of course, there are many social media groups that create a positive experience for their communities, but the overall social media landscape can be overwhelming and lacking in coherency to many.Before we get too far, it’s worth mentioning that the size of the NFT and metaverse community is still relatively small, so it will face many...

Read more

The rise of the digital age has brought with it massive growth in countless industries and generated wealth for millions of people in its path, from software engineers to social media influencers. The e-commerce sector saw $4.2 trillion in retail sales last year, according to Statista. But, for as much time as we spend online, we don’t spend nearly as much money on digital goods. All of this is beginning to change. Technology advancements are accelerating. We’re just starting to get a picture of the next version of our digital selves, and this time, there’s a possibility for a massive digital economy to thrive. This is the metaverse. And, even though it’s in its infancy, it’s becoming more real by the day. I won’t claim to know what the mature metaverse will look like or what bumps, à la the dot com bust, it might face. But, the groundwork for the metaversal economy is taking form already, thanks to blockchains, cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and gaming. If gaming is the only word that makes sense in that group, I’ve got you. Let’s talk about commerce in the metaverse.

Isn’t there a free version?

A lot of people over a certain age complain about paying $1.99 for a mobile app when they’ll pay $6 for a cup of coffee. I think this is in large part due to the fact that many digital goods are so freely available and copyable. In the Napster era, all music was free. Whether that was ethical, or good for artists, it didn’t matter, it was free. A lot of people under a certain age have...

Read more

Welcome to the first installment in our 4 part series on the metaverse, and how it’s already affecting brands in some profound ways. If you’re sick of hearing about the Metaverse, I’d encourage you to find and replace all “metaverse” references in this article with Cat Cafe. 

The reality is, a lot of people are talking about the metaverse these days. It seems we’re entering the metaverse era without fully understanding what it actually is. Over the past few years, we’ve seen the pace of innovation increase at such a rate that we are building a whole new digital world faster than we can even define it.

What is the Metaverse

The Metaverse isn’t a single platform, technology, or community. And, it won’t be built or owned by one company. Instead, it’s a somewhat loose concept that encompasses the latest and future innovations in computer hardware, internet connectivity, virtual platforms, digital currency, and content. Some might define it by the level of immersiveness in a VR virtual world -  something like the virtual world and namesake for the Metaverse envisioned by Neil Stephenson in his 1992 sci-fi novel, “Snow Crash.” Or, like the limitless Oasis from Ernest Cline’s “Ready Player One.” Others would say we are already in the metaverse - that the amount of time we spend in the digital realm, from virtual meetings over Zoom to chasing around AR Pokemon characters in mobile games, is enough to classify us as metaverse residents today.I believe we’re somewhere in between....

Read more

This post written by Elevation's Director of Strategy, Brett Rakestraw, was originally published on Branding Magazine in the article linked here.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about Web3. Maybe you’re in the same boat. Or, maybe Web3 just looks like a typo. If you’re in the latter camp, and I was until recently, let’s start with a quick overview.

The first generation of the web, now known as the “static” web, was composed of basic websites existing to pass along information to visitors. This was the predominant site format from the early 1990s to the early 2000s. Then, a combination of web technology advances and broadband internet adoption ushered in the Web 2.0 era. Web 2.0 brought us social media and user-generated content, along with ad retargeting and influencer marketing.

We’ve actually been living in the Web 2.0 world for about 15 years now. But, we are starting to see a new web emerging. There is a paradigm shift happening as our lives continue to become more digital and as many web users become fed up with the “surveillance economy” and with the big tech players holding all the cards. This shift in technology and power is pushing us towards Web3 (or Web 3.0). And, its foundation is based on blockchain technology and decentralization.

Does any of this matter to brands?

Well, when Facebook was being developed in a dorm room, were brand stakeholders worried about how they would get attention on the platform? Probably not. But, as history has taught us, the longer...

Read more

It seems like “virtual” has become the most ubiquitous adjective of the last year. Virtual learning, virtual conferences, virtual weddings, and even virtual tourism have become common activities. While the virtual trend has definitely accelerated since 2020, more and more of our world has gone virtual since the dawn of the internet. Although there’s a huge leap between the first online message boards and chatrooms to today’s apps like Twitter, Instagram, and Zoom, the virtual experience has primarily stayed two-dimensional. 

Like the word “virtual,” three-dimensional virtual spaces are nothing new. I distinctly remember seeing a virtual reality headset at Epcot in Disney World that let you fly on Aladdin’s carpet over Agrabah in all its pixelated glory over twenty-five years ago. Anyone who remembers Second Life knows that 3D environments have been used as virtual social spaces for decades now. But vast improvements in software and hardware in virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (XR) are supercharging the ability to make and experience these virtual worlds today. This technology will only get better, and the importance of virtual spaces will only improve. 

Today, I’m highlighting five of the most exciting ways virtual spaces are being implemented, and how that will transform several industries for the future.

Next-Level Branded Experiences

Virtual spaces provide a way for brands to create new forms of engagement and get their message out. With...

Read more

What’s That Sound?

It would appear that the newest technology flooding the internet, and social media in particular, is audio. That’s right, audio. The same technology that swept the nation in the early twentieth century before the invention of television, and long before the vast online world of the internet was at our fingertips.For the most part, the internet skipped exploring social audio, pushing instead into all kinds of video streaming platforms from YouTube to TikTok. Instagram moved straight from images to videos with their Stories feature, and audio has mostly been relegated to “mute by default” status in order to avoid mild heart attack moments when scrolling through a social feed at work or in bed. 

While audio might not seem like much of an innovation at all, the new ways in which it’s being used socially have the potential to open a new market for genuine brands to become an essential part of.

Why Audio is Emerging Now

Slowly over the last decade, but especially over the last 5 years...we’ve seen the rise of podcasting. Podcasting growth has accelerated as people have realized they have an opportunity to consume content without their full commitment. You can listen to a podcast while commuting, while exercising, or even at work. This convenience paired with the wide adoption of Bluetooth headphones and smart speakers around the home has made audio content a much more regular part of many people’s daily lives. But, while good podcasts do offer a sense of...

Read more

And Then There Were NFTs

If you take nothing else from this post, take this. The pace of innovation is accelerating, and if you blink, you might miss something important. Case in point, at the beginning of 2021, most people had never heard of NFTs. But at the time of this writing in March 2021, it’s hard not to have heard of them. 

Over just a couple of weeks, seemingly endless dumbfounding headlines have been shared across news outlets and social media flaunting, propping up, and critiquing the astronomical prices suddenly being paid for what, on the surface, appears to be digital copies of art and internet memes. We’re talking about many of the same images that are freely shared and downloaded across the internet. 

So what gives? 

Why are NFTs suddenly worth so much money? Where did they come from? And, in the world of brands, should we be paying attention? The answer to the first two questions is “it’s complicated,” and the answer to the last question is “definitely, yes.”Before we dig into the implications of NFTs for brands and potential future use cases, let’s do a quick primer on what NFTs actually are.

Non-What Now

The term NFT stands for “non-fungible token.” Fungible means mutually interchangeable. Think money, where a dollar...is a dollar...is a dollar. But, a piece of art holds different values depending on who’s looking at it, and not all art is identical.The token part has to do with the blockchain. Cryptocurrency is tracked through a blockchain, a public...

Read more

It is becoming increasingly clear that TikTok is taking over the social world. Although the app has been around since 2016, brands are just now starting to take advantage of the giant platform that sports 800 million users worldwide. Even though there aren’t that many brands on the platform yet, the ones that are using it successfully are making it big.

Here are some helpful things to think about if you are trying to rule the TikTok-verse in the way brands like Dunkin’, American Eagle, Chipotle, and The Washington Post are.

Is my brand right for TikTok?

If you’ve been staring at the app store deciding whether or not TikTok is even worth the download, first think of your brand’s target audience, and be aware that the platform is primarily used by people ages 16 to 24. If that sounds close to who you are trying to reach, click that download button! If it’s not, TikTok could still be a great opportunity to expand your audience.

For example, The Washington Post is making great strides on the platform even though it was initially unclear if they would find their audience on TikTok. They’ve been successful because they make content that still stays true to their brand while appealing to the younger demographic. In this TikTok, you are still getting news about the stock market that The Washington Post would regularly report on but in a way that is comedic, quick, and easy to understand for the audience.

How to apply TikTok trends to your brand

There’s no need to make your CEO do...

Read more

If there’s anything true about people, it’s that we love stories. We eat them up. They entertain us, they teach us, and they can come to define us. We’re so into stories, in fact, that just about everything we say comes out in the form of a story. Think of any conversation you’ve had with a friend or family member. It’s always about something, isn’t it? How great your day was. How bad your day was. How something happened and why it was a total disaster, or how, surprisingly, everything worked out in the end this time. Just about everything we say is a story, and people gravitate towards a good one.

That’s because we’re curious by nature. We want to know what’s happening, and we’ll go to great lengths to find out what it is. Anyone who’s eavesdropped on an interesting conversation, or waited in line to see a new hit movie on opening night knows this feeling. A good story is entertaining, and the craving for entertainment will always be with us.

Good Stories Go a Long Way

Since people are so curious, they need to be rewarded for their curiosity. No one wants to be bored to death. We need to be captivated. The more interesting a story is, the more memorable it is. That’s why it’s so hard to focus on someone struggling to recall what he ate for lunch yesterday, but it’s easy to watch a stand-up comedian tell a great joke.

Brands especially need a good story. Without one, it becomes a lot harder to keep your audience interested.

These are just a few things for your brand to keep...

Read more