Rory Sutherland: How Video Calls Can Boost Creativity

09 Apr, 2021

Ogilvy Vice-Chair Rory Sutherland explains why he thinks the normalisation of video calling is changing how we work forever - He believes that the adoption of new technology is freeing up time for creative work.

As anyone who works in marketing knows, aside from being Vice-chair at Ogilvy, Rory Sutherland is an all-round industry legend. Rory was an early adopter of the internet and is fascinated by the way technology can change the future of marketing.

So what’s Rory’s Shiny New Object? The social norm of video calling. Rory believes video calling can make a huge impact for businesses and change the way we approach clients, beyond just our meetings. 

During Rory’s career, he’s had the opportunity to live through many “firsts” and he was fortunate to become acquainted with the Internet and its power in the early days, through his brother (an astrophysicist) and his university research connections. From identifying the future influence of the Internet, to adopting the latest technology on a regular basis, Rory is continuously staying abreast of trends and seeing how they can change marketing.

When I asked Rory, what was the most useful thing he bought that he uses for work, he referred to his recent purchase of a Sony ZV-1 vlogging camera that he has “pimped up” to allow him to create a lot of videos at home during lockdown, instead of having to physically deliver presentations and talks. Adopting Zoom has turned a lot of preconceptions on their heads, not just for meeting and interacting, but also for how companies can use remote connections for different marketing and different employment practices.

Rory believes that the absence of a need for people to go into offices and physically attend meetings will not only free up a considerable amount of time for creative work, but it will also allow businesses to vastly expand their clientele. He calls this “becoming a bit more random” – “The barriers to gains from randomness have gone down” in the Zoom era and one can meet and explore opportunities with clients for whom the cost of physically meeting up would have been too high otherwise. This normalisation of video meetings will forever change the way we work.

For Rory, “creativity boils down to a mixture of curiosity and observation” and this is what he has done with video meetings in his own company. He sees the future of marketing as making the profession more accessible to all and more easily called upon. Much like a phrase he likes by the economist John Maynard Keynes, marketing can become more like dentistry, allowing creative marketers to easily step in and solve problems they would not even have seen in the pre-Zoom days.

For more about Rory’s technology and marketing tips and his predictions on the future of white collar work, check out the full podcast episode here.

Tom Ollerton is the Founder of Automated Creative. Rory Sutherland will be speaking at MAD//Fest London on 7-8 July.

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