Adobe global brand VP: Let go of perfectionism and control and foster creativity

Adobe's global brand chief talks exclusively to CMO about brand purpose, why human creativity will never be replaced by AI, and what marketers must do to spearhead CX

John Travis
John Travis


Customer experience custodian

As if this wasn’t enough change, the modern marketer also has to spearhead this notion of total customer experience, serving as a catalyst in their company, Travis said.

“They may not be responsible for half these areas, such as customer support or in-product design. But they need to be an advocate in the company to ensure it’s a delightful experience wherever the customer is,” he said.  

“It comes down to two things. One is: Do I have the relationships with the people across my company to do it? That’s the job now. It’s a constant re-invention. The other thing is as a marketing leader is you can’t do it alone.

“There’s no binder with the 10 steps to transformation, and it keep evolving. Senior leaders need to get out there and network, because everyone is going through the same thing.

“Certain marketers can be ahead or behind in terms of actual transformation and their investment in digital and technology tools. But the mindset is the same. There’s no question now about digital transformation now. Now it’s how, because no one has found all the answers yet.”

Creative pursuits

What Travis believed will help marketers get there is creativity. And while Adobe’s marketers increasingly embracing artificial intelligence and machine learning to take up mundane operational tasks, he’s convinced robots will never take over the job of marketing.

Recent research conducted by Faethm into the future of marketing and creative roles, presented by Adobe at last week’s event, support this theory. The Future of Work report found while operations jobs are most exposed to being automated, creative and marketing roles are more likely to be augmented by emerging technologies than replaced by them.

“I personally believe marketing will never be done by robots. I go back to our relationships with people: These are about instinct, connection and emotions. I don’t see AI replacing that,” Travis said.  

These are ultimately reflecting creativity, a uniquely human trait. “Creativity is talked a lot about in the context of marketing but it goes beyond that. It’s the most unique human trait there is – it’s a mindset, an openness, and not just about art and pictures,” Travis said.

“Ninety-three per cent of Gen Z want to be creative, and creativity is the number one skill LinkedIn says you need as an employer looking for staff. The World Economic Forum says creativity will be the number three most required skill by 2020 from number 10 in 2015. So as a leader, how I foster creativity in my organisation to both do great work, but also attract talent and keep them, is vital.

“Creativity is truly being recognised and appreciated at a business level. And that’s exciting.”

Read more: Adobe experience marketing chief: Creative people power is what will save modern marketing

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