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Is big data killing creativity?

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Big data is arguably the today's biggest buzz word and many firms are collecting data to help optimise their campaigns and marketing strategy.Some might argue that with big data driving so many decisions, it has the potential to stifle creativity and the art of marketing and PR all together.But others disagree. "I don't believe that big data is killing creativity," FleishmanHillard global CEO and president Dave Senay, said."Data helps differentiate the contenders from the pretenders."For Senay, people were creative for creativity's sake in the past."We are confusing making a spectacle out of yourself with building a brand and communities around it. What is the shelf life of making a spectacle out of yourself?" Senay said."What you should be doing is building a long-lasting and enduring relationship with your customers."Today, the person running brainstorm sessions at PR firms is the one with the insights. First come the ideas, then insights from data, and finally, creative ideas flourish from there.A brand's reputation takes a long time to build by consistently delivering on a brand promise.  The idea is to close the authenticity gap between your reputation, which is what people say about you and the intention to recommend, and your brand, which refers to the emotional appeal and status of your products and the intention to purchase."The role of reputation drivers in driving purchase decisions is completely under-appreciated," Senay said.According to the agency's own research, reputation drives around 40% of purchasing decisions, which is difficult for advertisers and ad agencies to swallow, added Senay. Your brand's reputation or whether customers want to recommend you is almost entirely out of your control."Your branding and reputation is more closely related than ever before. If you are consistently bad at delivering your promise, your reputation will catch up with you. Conversely, if you over-deliver, it's a good thing." Senay said.

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