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Why Hiding Behind Your Strengths Won't Save You in the War Between Art and Data

2 min read

Jeremy Carson is an Associate Creative Director, working in the advertising and design industries for over 15 years.

Everybody has a weakness. Some...most...okay, all of us have lots of them.

But we hide them behind our strengths. We lean into those, ignoring our failures. We badmouth our weakness, saying they don’t matter, even going so far as to say they’re ruining our strengths.

And in that moment, your strength becomes your weakness.

Don’t let your strength become your weakness.

It’ll hold you back from evolving. And unless you get some serious self-awareness, your strength will be your blind spot.

Now, in advertising, that eternal struggle is between creative and data.



Mad Men vs. Math Men

The fact is, it’s pretty rare for one person to bridge that gap between math and art. But master creatives are going to fail. And math men will fall short.

Here’s why...

Creative Handicap

Maybe you’re a genius creative, weaving a story from the most powerful human insight and communicating it impeccably through a beautifully crafted piece of art.

To you, ideas are the core. Who needs engagement numbers, impressions, or qualified actions? Creative drives emotion, emotion drives action, and that connection isn’t something you can measure.

And this will hold you back.

You’re going to grasp onto the traditional idea of creative, ignoring how data and math can not only measure creative’s success, but help direct it. Data is simply a way to look into human behaviors. And ignoring it means resisting the candid, sometimes subconscious actions of your audience.

You’ll justify every creative decision you make by saying it’s about the heart, not the numbers.

Fail By Numbers

Or maybe you’re a data savant. You think in binary. You saw the Matrix and were more interested in the guy that stared at code all day while Keanu was learning kung fu. Data is the underlying foundation of reality, right?

To you, creative is a necessary evil. You need something as the face of the data, but “human insights” and “gut instincts” are just unmeasurable concepts. They might as well be made up, because there’s no proof that it works.

But that’s what will limit you.

To put it in math terms: data is the constant, but creative is the variable. Everyone has the same data, so art is what makes the difference.



Not a World of Either/Or

Without creative, numbers are worthless. But art needs reason, or else it’s just a guess. When the two meet that delicate balance, magic happens.

That’s how you should see yourself. Lean into those strengths, use them to carry you to success. But your weaknesses are just as important.

You may never conquer your weak spots. But you can compensate for them. And most importantly you can respect them.

Or else your strength will become your biggest weakness.

Thanks for reading!

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