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How to Win in the New “Experience” Era with Adobe's Executive Creative Director, Adam Morgan

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Adam Morgan is the Executive Creative Director Adobe, and with 26 years of experience in the creative industry he's seen many new "eras" of marketing come and go. In this episode  we discuss what mindset you need to succeed in the "experience" era, why the next-gen CEO will be a creative, and why he's pushing to have more creative people making business-critical decisions.

Aside from leading Adobe's creative efforts, Adam is the author of ‘Sorry Spock, Emotions Drive Business: Proving the value of creative ideas with science, and is the host of the Real Creative Leadership Podcast

Connect with Adam on Linkedin -

Discussed in the show:

Adam Morgan - Sorry Spock Emotions Drive Business (Book)

Simon Sinek - Infinite Game (Book)

Chip Heath & Dan Heath -Power of moments

Real Creative Leadership Podcast

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Adam: If you want to improve your marketing, and you want to have a bigger impact, you want to connect with your customers, then you are foolish to not think about those emotional connections, those creative connections, and make sure they're a part of your plan. Because if they're missing, you know, there's plenty of data to show that it's that your brand is going to sink. So the best so in short is for all those who don't believe in this experience there. For those who don't believe in creativity. For those who don't believe that it really can boost business. There's a lot of great data and science to show that it can.

Eric: I'm Eric Fulwiler and this is Scratch, bringing you marketing lessons from the leading brands and brains rewriting the rulebook from scratch for the world of today.

Eric: Everyone, My guest today is Adam Morgan, the Executive Creative Director at Adobe, a brand that needs no introduction, Adam has 26 years of experience in the creative industries, both on the agency and the brand side. He's also the author of a book called "Sorry Spock", emotions, drive business. So Adam and I got connected because I was actually on his podcast, real creative leadership. And I really loved the conversation and his perspective around how creativity drives growth of businesses. And so we had him on here to talk a little bit more about his perspective and this movement, this progression into the experience era. So what we talk about today is definition of what we are actually going into in terms of this experience era. What does it mean for marketing, the marketing function market tears out there? What do they need to be thinking about and doing differently in this experience era, and what the future looks like, as we're in it now, and more and more businesses have an opportunity to take advantage of it. So really enjoyed this conversation, you know, a little bit different than some of the other ones that we've had on I don't think we've had anyone on who had kind of comes from such a pure brand and creative background. So really interesting conversation, and I'll let you enjoy it from here. Hey, Adam, how you doing today?

Adam: I'm doing so great. So excited to chat with you.

Eric: Me too. And of course, this is the second time we're chatting, I guess kind of on the other side of the table, but there is no table because we've done both of these virtually. But I'm hosting today, and you're on our podcasts. But it was great. And I really enjoyed the conversation coming on your podcasts. And I will have plugged it in the intro, but also want to give you a chance to kind of explain what it is because I think a lot of our audience would be really interested. But before we get into that icebreaker question that we ask every guest, can you please tell us about a brand that you're passionate about right now? And why?

Adam: Sure. I'm going to give you well, I'll just do one for now. Because I'm sure during our conversation, we'll bring up others. But you know, I the one that's just fascinating to me right now is is? Well, I guess we'll go with this one, I'll go with Patagonia. And mostly because of the big announcement that the owner made around, you know, profits and where it should go. And it's really the reason why I find it fascinating. For those who have read infinite game by Simon Sinek. There is really an interesting conversation around where is our, you know, what should we be holding on to? Is it just stakeholders? Or is it the people? Or is it the environment? You know, and it's just a lot there a lot of great questions that come out of that. So I thought it was pretty fascinating. And Shannara just announced that, you know, all of his profits are basically going back to, you know, a cause, in essence. So I think it's pretty fascinating, something interesting to follow for sure. Because there are very few companies that have done that.

Eric: I'm curious to get your thoughts on this. And I know I'm going way off script from the very beginning, but also fascinated by it. And of course it made the rounds, not just within the marketing industry. But I remember my mom even texting me to say I went into a Patagonia shop for the first time because of what he did. So the whole purpose and how it can link to profit. That was a very specific and anecdotal example for me. My question for you and something I've been mulling over and has kind of come up at times. Because you know, if you are the founder of Patagonia, or if you're the CMO of a big business, you can make decisions like that, for people listening that are kind of, you know, a marketing director, marketing manager, if they believe that their company should be taking purpose more seriously should be doing more in that vein. Any advice on how to get you know if the business isn't a Patagonia? If it isn't there as much naturally? How do you get people further up the chain to believe in this to want to do something differently to actually steer the ship in this direction? Any advice for folks out there?

Adam: It's a great question. I don't know if I have any like silver bullet answer to solve it. I can just

Eric: Yeah, there really isn't one, right. Yeah.

Adam: And it's with a lot of things. It's not just that type. topic, but it's like how do we drive more creativity? How do we drive more, you know, you name your topic, it's really about. I mean, the basics are building trust building a case for it, you know, if I were in a new company, and they weren't involved in some cars, or something that I thought was really core and true to the brand, it'd be a matter of like, getting together a lot of data and presentation and a good reason why, like, that's where I'd start. But I've been lucky, like, the company that I work for Adobe, they already have a lot of causes that they care about, and you know, being 100% digital, and, you know, in terms of our carbon footprint, I guess, or our impact on the environment is pretty minimal. Granted, we're lucky because we're a software company. And we really don't have to, you know, manufacture a whole lot of anything. But there are other causes, you know, when we've been helping with Girls Who Code or we've been helping with, you know, universities or young kids who are just trying to learn, you know, how to be more creative how to, you know, take tools to the next step, there, there are a lot of different causes that we can get involved in. And it's pretty awesome when you do get the backing of the company, especially like for us. And even beyond that, if we have a cause we want, they'll match whatever we give. So if I give five grand to some cause they'll match it another five grand. So it's pretty awesome when you have a couple like that, but to get there. That's, that's rough. But I would just try and make a case for it.

Eric: Yeah. And it is, I think there is a lot of data and an increasing amount of data about why it makes sense to invest in having a purpose being more purpose driven. And I think, you know, we actually did some research a few months ago, kind of on how a lot of Challenger brands are more purpose driven. And it's not about saving the world for everybody, you know, we referenced that. That whole story about Unilever, and how the new CEO said that every brand needs to be purpose driven. And you end up with this Manet's that's trying to save the you know, the planet. And it's just there's a disconnect there, right? But it is about authenticity, and figuring out what is it about your company that already exists? And how can you get more behind it, but the other thing I was gonna say is I think there's kind of a general information to educate leaders, non marketing execs that might not be as familiar with this. But there are these tentpole moments when brands and businesses break through, like Patagonia, and I think that's an opportunity to hopefully bring some of that momentum into your organisation as well.

Adam: And you're right, like, it's a lot easier when it's a company like Patagonia that was built on a purpose, right, like it was started that way. Whereas if you're like selling tractor trailers, and you're not like, necessarily built on a purpose, except someone still had a deal and made it made some money, it's fine. But I think you're right, like authenticity is the true answer, like, I know, we're gonna be getting into this experience era. And I think that's a huge part of it. of, you know, it's really digging deep into what your brand or your company is all about, and what those values are to your audience and what they care about. And then authentically, you know, joining sides with them and making sure that you're going out to the market with it. Yeah.

Eric: So so let's go there. So obviously, the, you know, the focus of the conversation today is around this movement into the experience era, and how brands and marketeers can win in that era. So let's start with a definition. How would you define the experience era?

Adam: Good question. How would I define the experience era? For me, it's really, you know, in the past brands differentiated themselves through the variety of different ways. But more and more as technology and pipelines and things just make it so that many products are just comparable, and very similar. The thing that helps the brand stand out are the experiences they create the customer experience. And so the experience here to me is really a matter of like brands embracing the customer experience, and looking beyond just the product is a differentiator and looking towards how do I how do I create moments that matter with my customers, moments that change the moments that help them moments, that means something? Those are truly the differentiators for brands and companies. And so, as part of that, I think, and this is veering off the definition a little bit more, but brands need to become experienced businesses is what we've talked about, which is it's no longer just a matter to say, Okay, we'll do a great experience. And we got to, you know, really talked about what is an experience, it's not a transaction, it's Brian solace, had a really great quote about what's an experience and it's an emotional connection to a moment. And I thought that was really awesome. Then experiences emotional connection a moment so we kind of had, you know, 10 years ago, this data driven world where everything like slammed for it is like We've got all this data, we don't have to guess we know exactly what's going on. But I feel like it's the pendulum is swinging back towards the centre where it's like, you've got to have the data. But you've got to also have this human experience. And so to be part of the experience era, your company needs to prioritise experiences above all else, meaning. It's no longer about just operations, it's no longer about just price points, it's no longer about all these other aspects, you know, through your whole supply chain to delivery. It's a matter of prioritising experiences. So what is the you know, how is the CEO thinking about experiences? How are we making decisions based on budgets around customer experiences? How are we making decisions around our corporate structure, or how we deliver goods and services and really treating the experience as a product as something that we create and deliver, and making sure that's at the forefront?

Eric: So what is this? What are we transitioning from? Or what have the cycles of the eras been before? If now we're going into the experience era? And what are the implications for businesses and brands to try to take advantage or not, you know, not lose in this new era?

Adam: Oh, I'll probably butcher this, there are so many different waves that we've been through in different eras that people claim. And so again, this will just be my experience of things that I've gone through. But it started out like there have been eras, like product first era where someone came up with certain ideas that are awesome, and therefore product always dominated. And when there have been eras of supply chain errors. I mean, you think about the total quality management era of the 90s, where it was a matter of how do we simplify processes down to its essence and get it to market faster, and total quality management was like a big deal. So like, speed, the era of delivery, I think was was in there.

Eric: I think it's interesting, because to me hearing you talk about it. You know, one of the things I think about all the time, particularly coming from a product business in the FinTech space, is the reason businesses grow. And obviously, I'm totally oversimplifying this, and there's so much that goes into the growth of a business, but it's really about customer centricity, you know, and having so many CMOs and, and marketing leaders and thought leaders and entrepreneurs on this podcast, that's really it's the red thread. I think, if I had to pick one thing that gets mentioned and talked about the most in different ways, shapes or forms, it's really that it's how do you become more customer centric? So would you I mean, because to me talking about experience, particularly relative to maybe some of the past eras of product, delivery, supply chain, etc. It's really more about thinking from the customer's perspective, and what are you delivering to them? Ideally, what are you delivering a value? And I love that quote from Brian solace, we've actually been trying to get him on the podcast now for a little while of having that emotional connection. So anyway, there's not really a question. But just be curious. If you feel like that lines, if that's kind of either another way of saying it, or how does experience I guess relate to customer centricity in your mind?

Adam:Yeah, I have seen a trend where, you know, I think back in the mid 90s, when I was creating ads and marketing, it was all about the unique selling proposition right? What makes your product unique, what makes your product special? And we really went to this huge era of product first company first it's like why are we different? Why are we unique? Where we you know, even I think you can see that our own challenger brands like what made it a challenger brand different is because we treat you different and we do things different. It's all about it's still company first. And they're slowly been that transition over to away from the inside out. towards the outside in of customer centricity of customer first, you look at like sale selling, you know, cars used to be all, you know, go out. And I remember brands are like, how fast can you be a better seller and really sell that it was all about benefits and features. And now it's really like, do you know your customer? Do you understand what they're all about, you know, what they want, and an outside in approach where it's all about helping them get what they need. And so that has been a huge transition. And I think that works with the experience here. Because if as we focus on the customer and what they care about, we're going to create moments that matter to them not moments that put us as a brand in the limelight.

Eric: So let's take it down a level, let's get a little bit more tactical practical with this. What are the specific or what are some of the specific changes that you think are that you see already happening? Maybe you're changing within how you run things that Adobe or that you see in the wider industry, brands and businesses doing differently within the six experience era? What does it actually mean in terms of changes that people are making or should be making?

Adam: So I'm going to definitely give a perspective that's more from a creative perspective of how I see things shifting and changing and where I see them them going. And it started about 10 years ago with a design led movement. You know Before that, when it was all data driven was all the rage. And so it was all about measurement and really understanding the customer. I think those were the early days of like, how do we even know the customer. But when you saw the design lead movement come on to the stage, it really showed companies that yeah, innovation and design really do play a key role in your brand and experience. And it's not just something that's relegated to the back room, that you know, you just have to have, and it's kind of a downstream thing. And since then, I've seen a lot of great studies come out about how yet design and creativity and all of that really impact consumer decisions that impacts the emotional moments and impacts those customer experiences. It impacts first impressions of brands and impacts, loyalty and brand affinity, and all that. So I see that the pendulum swinging more towards the centre of like this idea that creativity and creative, you know, ideas aren't relegated to just, you know, lipstick on a pig, where it's like, alright, we have this big product idea, and then we'll just make it look nice and put some design around it now it's like, oh, no, we understand that. If we are in the experience era, then design and creativity is a huge part of those experiences. Because creativity is really, if you break apart creativity, it's really emotional, right? A creative experiences an emotional experience. And so really, truly understanding the emotional drivers of customers, and then creating those moments, those creative moments that connect with them. That's a huge, you know, kind of basic part of of the customer experience. So the trend I'm seeing is, and this may be getting to off script a little bit. But, you know, again, we talked about past trends, and I look, let's take the total quality management of the of the 90s, where it was like businesses were all focused around operations and finance. Right, it was all about how do I streamline my, my supply chain? How do I streamline you know, just in time delivery, all those types of things. And so boards of directors were really made up of operations and finance. And as we start to move more into this experience era, we see that the differentiator of a brand is all about those emotional moments. And yet, half of our leadership, or most of our leaders, is still living in this world of operations and finances king. And there have been like, there's a recent study that showed that, you know, actually, the next best CEO isn't coming from your CFO, right? Where we keep thinking that it's still this that operations and finances is going to rule rule business. But I'm seeing this huge shift. If you look at you know, startups, a lot of startups are being created by a creative, visionary person, not not someone who's operations finance. So I'm seeing this trend start to develop, but it's not 100% there. And that trend for me would be like, Alright, then let's start to look at, if we truly are going to put a premium on experiences, then the board makeup of our companies who are directing, and naturally choosing what we should do, should reflect that. And I would love to see that trend happen more where we have chief creative officers, chief brand officers Chief Experience officers living on a board, as opposed to most the board being made up of like a product person, or finance person or an operations person. And if because I see that as where the future is going, it's truly understanding the customer and creating those moments, rather than just creating a better product or a faster pipeline. And so that's where I'm hoping and pushing us to have brands say if you truly are an experienced business, if you truly believe that the customer experiences is the future, and creating those moments that differentiate differentiate you through emotion, then you need to start putting people on the board that reflect those values, and can help drive your company forward by by having those right skill sets.

Eric: And are there any examples of companies out there that you see doing this or that are really winning in this new era? And maybe you can talk about how you're adapting this to how you've set things up at Adobe are the change that you are that you're pushing for there?

Adam: Sure, I just interviewed the creative leader at Rocket Mortgage. And the and just let's talk about Rocket Mortgage, that's an extra thing in in FinTech. Because, you know, I worked in FinTech for a decade and getting a loan was really, really painful and cumbersome because it was outside and it was all about does that process go through all the underwriters and all the people who need to look at it, and so on and so forth. And I'm not saying that Rocket Mortgage may have the perfect answer for it. But they've at least tapped into that customer experience of wanting to make loan processes a lot faster and easier and quicker, and really make it customer centric. And so I think from his experience of talking to me about how they're embracing that experience of the loan application and process like that is you've seen them take off because you've seen them focus on that right experience rather than just focusing on safety and security of a financial institution of making sure We're making a sound, you know, loan. So that's for me a good example of taking those experiences and putting it right in, you know, in front. And also you look at like IT startups, a lot of startups are taking that approach of the experience first, right, it's no longer about the back end, it's about the front end.

Eric: Yeah. And often, you know, because a lot of the work that we do is both with the startups, the scale ups, the quote, unquote, Challenger brands, but also the bigger established businesses that are trying to think and act a little bit differently. And it's so fascinating sitting in the middle to kind of see the contrast between how they do things differently. And a lot of this what you're talking about, with the experience era, a lot of it comes naturally, to startups and scale ups, right? They don't know anything else, they don't have to adapt and evolve, the way things were before to the way they think they should be. Now they're born into and fit for purpose for the world of today. And a big part of doing that is focusing on the experience that you deliver to the customer. So I think that's interesting, you know, if you're in a startup, maybe looking around and and seeing with this frame, with this perspective, this lens of the experience era, what is it that you're already doing? How can you do more? And if you're in a bigger organisation, maybe looking at some of the startups in your industry, like the rocket mortgages of the world and seeing again, with this lens, what are they doing? And how can you kind of learn, and apply that to your own business. And that kind of leads me on to the next. The next thing I'd love to focus on in the conversation, which is, if we zoom into the marketing function, and for marketers out there, whether they're marketing leaders are kind of coming up in their career, how do marketers need to start thinking and acting differently based on this shift? Towards the experience era?

Adam: Well, it starts with the customer. Right? So what are the what are the KPIs you're measuring right now? Are they really that important to what the customer cares about? Are they just important for your sales or pipeline or whatever it may be. So start first with, know the customer, and really, really focus heavily on what I would say looking for human Insights is what we caught, call them. Because far too often, we're just looking for data or whatever it is around the customer. And we really need to say, Okay, if we're going to start by creating experiences that matter to our customer, we need to know what they really passionately care about. And this is something that we've had for a long time. This is not new for our industry, to look deep to those insights. But it's really like, I think we've conflated insights into an anomaly in the data. And we need to stop thinking in terms of that, and really think of an insight as like, what is a human truth, a human truth about what they care about, or what they're passionate about, or what they want? And like, think of emotion, so a human emotion, start with that. And then next, now start to build your whole programme around, how am I delivering a great experience? How am I delivering that, that wow moment? When there are a lot of great books, you could you could read on it. I mean, I think we talked about, you know, infinite game from Simon Sinek. I think the power of moments by Dan, Dan Heath, are two great examples of really focusing on those those key, you know, key moments that you create as part of your brand. And then it's the, the rest of the job is like how do you get the rest of the company on board so that we, we see marketing as a product, we see marketing as the outward facing manifestation of what we give to our customers, not just the stuff we sell, right, or the services we provide, and really think of that experience as as almost like a product, and then do our best to create those moments and prioritise those moments and get budget for those moments. And really make sure that the business is experienced first.

Eric: There's also a book by this guy named Adam Morgan, that touches on this a little bit. So maybe I don't know if you know him, but maybe you could talk to us a little bit about the premise for the book that you wrote, because obviously, that's relevant to this conversation. But I did want to weave it in here at some point. So tell us about Sorry, Spock, emotions drive business proving the value of creative ideas. With Science, we'd love to hear a little bit more about the thesis kind of what's in it at the process that led you to writing it as well.

Adam: Yeah, the process is back when I was an agency, and I had all these clients, including, you know, FinTech or finance. I had this problem where a lot of people felt like creativity or these emotional moments, were not, not real marketing. And that, you know, when recessions came or things got tough, the knee jerk reaction was just to tighten up the ship and just be very direct and straightforward of just like, state the facts. Here's what here's what we sell over and done, you know, very straightforward marketing. And I wanted to try and find a way of saying like, Is it is it truly that subjective like is creative and creative experiences and emotional moments? Are they just subjective? And most often we have people try to prove that with case studies like that. Oh, Apple did this cool spot, therefore, you know, creativity works. But we also find out that through the same case studies, we could just we could prove it the opposite way, right? Like there's it's really subjective, and it's hard. So I thought, how can I prove that creativity actually does improve the bottom line and do it in a very non subjective way. So I instead went to science, neuroscience, hard studies and science, like there have been so many great moments that I've been reading about, that I just brought it all together to show here's exactly what's happening in your customers minds, who's exactly what they're thinking and doing, and how you as a brand can react to that by creating these great experiences. And actually, we no longer have to guess at this and think, Oh, it's just, you know, this is just window dressing. No, this is actual, like, if you want to improve your marketing, and you want to have a bigger impact, you want to connect with your customers, then you are foolish to not think about those emotional connections and those creative connections, and make sure they're a part of your plan. Because if they're missing, you know, there's plenty of data to show that it's that your brand is going to sink. So the best. So in short is for all those who don't believe in this experience there. For those who don't believe in creativity, for those who don't believe that it really can boost business. There's a lot of great data and science to show that it can, and that that's the right way to do it. And so it's just more of like, for me, it's like backing up all the stuff we've been talking about of having these experiences. And these moments. If you don't believe it, then here's here's the book that you can go back and look at the hard science and really understand that. Yeah, it actually does. And it's really important for you to do that. And make sure you create those experiences and creative moments.

Eric: Well, I think that'll be interesting, for a lot of people listening, but also maybe we'll help make the case internally, to pay attention, invest in support these types of initiatives. And, you know, really, it's more than initiatives, it's really how to be thinking about growing a business, and structuring and running a marketing function. And I guess on that note, you know, we've, we've, the word creativity has come up a bit, but I want to give it a little bit more space. So when it comes to creativity within the context of the experience era, how should businesses be thinking about creativity, in terms of if they let's say that people listening are like, great, I've got the buy in, I, you know, have convinced people that we are going into this experience era that we need to be more emotionally led that creative is more important than what, you know, what do they do? Is it looking at the agencies they're working with? Is it looking with looking at the team structure internally? Is it looking at the process for how they develop marketing campaigns? What some of the advice that you could give to people on how creativity should be given more weight, and focus and importance within an organisation? Well,

Adam: Here's the truth. So I grew up in the creative field, right? So for 26 years is, you know, it's been all the way through most of my career of being a creative. And then I went out and got a master's degree in integrated marketing, just to see like, what it's like on the other side, so I could speak the language of marketing and understand and work with them. And the reality is, they didn't teach a single thing in the best marketing school in the nation about, you know, maybe they taught you how to create a make a creative brief, but nothing about how to how to be creative. And for several decades, my life as a creative has been, put myself in the customer shoes, have a lot of empathy, understand what they're going through. And really, truly, you know, be a people watcher, and try and find those emotional moments, whether through an astrologer or humour or other methods, but to really connect emotionally. And that's what creative people do they train their brains for years and years and years to connect emotionally with customers. Why I set that up is because you're asking, like, how can I change things in my organisation? In many traditional organisations, the way it works is you have marketers who run a marketing department. And then the creatives are in this little creative department that's almost like the Batcave that you let them go in and do their thing. And you don't know what's going on in there. And it's magical and weird. And then it comes out. And it's like, do I trust her to leave it? I don't know. And so there's all this friction between the marketers, and the creatives have like, what's right and what's wrong, and they're everyone's going off their gut, and so on, and so forth. So, in my mind, like, the thing that we need to change that I've seen, and we do this at Adobe, and it's, it's been super helpful is to make the creative director and the marketing director equals the marketing director is going to run the strategy and how we get there, and what's the plan and the KPIs and let the creative director run, how do we express the brand? How are we going to do arts and words and pictures and not have the marketer just trump the you know, like, supersede the creative and say, No, we're just gonna do it my way. We're going to do it with green and we're going to do it with this headline because I like it, and it fits my plan. But I've seen like this organisational shift, where you have them as peer groups, working together in concert, and I tell you on the creative side You need to have creative people who can step up and become creative leaders and truly understand and dig deep into business strategy and marketing strategy and be able to express that in creative ways. And on the marketing side, it's like building trust and finding the right partner and finding someone who you mesh with, in a way that you, you don't have to try and become the creative, but you can trust someone to do all that work and partner really well. And I think both sides when it's done, right, embrace it, and actually benefit from it. I mean, you can look at you know, famous duels like Disney, where they you know, they have the, the yin and the yang of creative and more data. And so I think that's a big thing that you can do right now is find a great creative leader, who truly understands how to push the bar of your creativity, how to push those emotional moments, who have who's trained themselves to truly dig into, understand the customer, and, and embrace and identify those little emotional triggers. and partner with them and have them build out a great team and make sure you know, they're getting all the work done on the creative side. And don't try and just like guess at it or just drive something with somebody that you haven't had experienced for decades, like, I truly think that's where there's a lot of growth. And I've seen you do that at Adobe, you know, I partner with the marketing director, I'm the director of creative and we we work together on creating all of those plans. And it works famously. So that's a big trend I'm seeing is changed the marketing department structure, to give more value to those experiences and creativity. But make them step up as leadership's and I'll tell you, the biggest thing is not the marketers, it's the creatives, a lot of creatives want to just like they're used to their whole life, just being in this flow state back in the Batcave, and just designing or writing, and they need to step up and really understand the customer and the journey and all of those things in order to drive that. So I would say it's a call to arms more towards creatives to to become better creative leaders.

Eric: And do you see that laddering all the way up to the C suite? Do you see organisations having a CMO and a Chief Brand Officer, I know you talked before about Chief Brand Officer Chief Experience Officer, but within the structure that you're describing at Adobe, and for other organisations have encountered those two co leads? Do you see an extra seat at the C suite level for this type of role as well?

Adam: Not enough? No. I think that's like, if I were to get on a soapbox and start shouting from the rooftops, that's what I that's what that's what we need to see more of, because what we'll have is sometimes you'll have just a CMO there, maybe that cmo has creative experience a certainly an Adobe, that role is filled by analysts, our CMO, she understands creativity and believes in creativity and our sense of power is a champion of it. But there are a lot of times the CMO is more of like, you know, of the two different types of CMOS that I see it's more of like the lead driven, data driven marketer versus the brand emotional, you know, build up the brand leader. And so if you have one that's more of just a numbers, leader than its, you have a lacking hole there. And we have, we also have a Chief Brand Officer, Heather, who focuses on that. So I'm seeing it in my company. And because it's like Adobe cares about creativity. So it's an unfair battle, you know, compared to other brands, but there are a lot of brands that aren't doing it. And I think that's what we need we need to and I don't know, it's funny, I was talking with Sandra Lopez, who's a VP over at Intel on this exact topic, because she also, you know, is pushing for this of like, how do we change the makeup of the board of directors to become more experience driven rather than operations driven? And the best answer we could come up with is talking about it on shows like this going to events and bringing it up having someone present on the topic, but our books like you know, infinite game, like we really need to have a groundswell where we start to see the value of it. And because the people who have the power right now are the boards of directors, they're the ones who are going to decide if we're going to open up and have a seat for a chief creative officer or Chief Brand Officer, a chief experience officer. So the first step, if you're a marketer, if you're creative, or anything is start to convince your leadership, that experience is important. And that you need the right people who understand experiences to be driving those experiences. And then you need your leadership makeup needs to reflect that. So I think it's a it's a long shot. But hopefully we can all keep pushing and get more and more brands to embrace that. Like we said, in startups. It's easy. A lot of people have done that. Most times this, you know, the founder is has a creative, visionary kind of take on things. But in mid sized to larger companies we need, we need a lot more help in getting those roles filled on the on the C suite.

Eric: So let's look outward to the future. How do you see this all playing out? I don't know if you've predictions for the next five years or if you think there's going to be you know, going back to the Patagonia example, I think change always happens gradually and then all at once, right? It's kind of building building building in the background and then all of a sudden Patagonia does something like this, but actually it's been building for a while. If you're if we're thinking about the next few years, it doesn't have to be a specific time domain. What are some of your predictions are key things that you think might happen or that people should watch out for, within the context of this move towards the experience era?

Adam: Well, I think what you see right now is there's a lot of talk and a lot of studies, when companies will go and interview CEOs of companies, and they'll ask him, like, what are the most important things that matter? And inevitably, in the top one or three, it's creativity. And I think it's lip service right now. I think they understand it, but they're not willing to give up power for it. So my predictions are, there will be a groundswell of more and more studies like that, that say, Yes, experiences are the future. Yes, creativity is important. Yes, humanity matters, you can't just be, you know, it's not just straight up numbers, operations. Here are the facts, ma'am. And we're done. Like, the nuance of how successful brands will start to the ones who have that who put experiences first who have, you know, causes that they care about, or people they care about that are outside and they'll start to eventually win. And my guess is like 510 years, they'll replace a lot of the brands that aren't doing that. And so I think that will be the groundswell. There'll be enough research and study in us talking about it and things happening, that those who embrace it will succeed, and those who won't, will fall off the list and be replaced. So it's not going to happen fast. But I hope within the next 510 years, we'll get to a point where we see that that's important and start to make some big changes.

Eric: So it sounds like people need to get to work. I know you mentioned a bit just a minute ago. But if you had to frame it up in terms of one thing that people should do differently. After listening to this episode, it sounds like it is the you know, pick up the torch of experience, and figure out how you start to push change, even if it's small, within your organisation, but anything else you should add, or that you'd want to add in terms of what you recommend people practically tactically do differently, after the after listening to this.

Adam: Alright, as far as the takeaway, because we've talked a lot about a lot of trends and things you can do and Structure and Change and, and, and all these things you can push on. But I would say the very first step that people need to take is read. Read a couple of these books read infinite game read, you know, the power of moments, read sorry, Spock, emotions drive business, I think that is step one. Because, as I say, a lot of my show, it's like, the more you read, the better you can lead, right. And so if we're going to lead our way to a more experienced driven era, it starts by learning and understanding now and I still feel like the vast majority of marketers and creative leaders don't know enough. And so getting out there and really educating yourself listening to podcasts like this is step one. And really, you know, arm yourself with a lot of data and understanding and experiences of your own. So that you can better go back and pitch and sell and convince leadership of the value of experiences.

Eric: Do you have a or what is your system for making a habit of reading and reading regularly? I'm just always curious when I come across people that have kind of made that work. And it seems like you have what's your kind of system for for making sure that you're actually doing that yourself.

Adam: I'm glad that you think I have a good system, I really don't just go on based on bookshelf with your back in the background. It's a big bookshelf behind me. They're all about the power of habits that I've read and been like, alright, alright, Hi, can I do this? Can I do this? And I've set up so a different systems and in ways of doing it, but I don't know if I have the perfect answer. I've done different things where I've like set aside certain times, I block my calendar for certain things that I have to do, whether it's writing or reading. I make things easy by putting books and things in places where I just chill so that it's like accessible. I make goals and habits. I think I do the same things that all of us do. And I don't know if I'm, I personally think I'm a lazy sob and I'm not, you know, getting it done. And I need to be better at that. But maybe we're all thinking that and at least a little bit by absorbing some of that stuff. We're getting there. But I I'm trying all the things same as everyone.

Eric: Yeah, but I think that's reassuring. Yeah, maybe to be honest, I think that's reassuring, like it's a work in progress. Same as same for me, you know, and I like to think I'm pretty disciplined. And I'm always figuring it out, you know, and I've had years and months where I read a lot and then more recently, I just haven't as much and I know I need to get back to it, but you're constantly figuring it out, as is everybody else. So I think that that is actually good to hear. So Adam, I'm going to let you go and get on with your day. But before I do just one last question. If people want to find out more about what you're up to, obviously, we're going to link to the book. We're going to link to the podcast. But what's the best place to connect with you? All right, I'll

Adam: give you a couple. The first thing I would love to just have people check out is real creative leadership. So that's the podcast, I'm in going into season four. And it's all about, you know, how do you become a creative leader, there's so much out there for creatives on like how to be better at the art or the writing or the design or the videography, but very little on leadership. So it's a great place to learn and grow about how to become a better creative leader. So you can go to real creative, or the YouTube channel or any podcast platform. That's, that's one way. If you want to just reach out to me personally, LinkedIn is where I live. So you can just connect with me on LinkedIn, happy to chat, happy to hear topics you care about and want to, you know, want me to focus on or just, you know, a connection. Great. And then the last one is my, just the URL to my my website, which is Adam w And that's where you learn more about my book about speaking about articles, I write all of that kind of stuff. If you just want to keep up on on those things.

Eric: Amazing. We will link to all of that, Adam, thank you so much. I guess we can kind of call this round two, even though it's a different podcast, but definitely some connection points between the conversation that we had the first time so I really appreciate you making the time. It's always great to chat.

Adam: Oh, I appreciate it. These conversations are so helpful, not just for me, but hopefully for everyone else listening because I know for me, when you talk about learning, that's the same thing I do. I go listen to all these other podcasts. Oh, that's an interesting insight or there's a great book. I need to take that up. So super helpful. Thank you for thanks for having me on.

Eric: Even this. It's like, you know, I guess this is my job kind of but like, this is fun. Like that just happens to be recorded and getting sent out to people like I certainly learned something today. Cool. All right, Adam, great to see you. Thanks so much again, I see you soon.

Adam: We'll see you later. Thanks Eric, bye.

Eric: Scratch is a production of rival. We are a marketing innovation consultancy that helps businesses develop strategies and capabilities to grow faster. If you want to learn more about us check out If you want to connect with me, email me at or find me on LinkedIn. If you enjoyed today's show, please subscribe, share with anyone you think might enjoy it. And please do leave us a review. Thanks for listening and see you next week.

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