From seasoned professionals, to fresh-faced students, the crowds rolled in for D&AD Festival last week – ready to celebrate the brilliance of the creative industries.

Throughout three days of inspiring talks, one reoccurring theme stood out to us the most: the importance of staying human in the digital age.

Always remember there is a human being at the end of your idea.
Resh Sidhu, VR Creative Director at Framestore
Creative Uses of Tech

We’ll be taking a look at the lessons we learnt from industry leaders, and how they can be applied to create campaigns that are more human, and more impactful as a result.

Respect Your Audience

The viewer has control, so you need to respect them with content that is emotionally engaging, funny etc.
Seb Edwards, Film Director
Strategic Storytelling

The average person spends over 5 years of their life on social media, so brands have the responsibility to ensure their content is worthwhile. Instagram Global Lead, Kay Hsu, and film director, Seb Edwards reiterated this need for respecting your audience, by engaging them with quick storytelling and gripping visuals.

On Instagram alone, 95 million photos and videos are shared daily. Marketers on social media are not just competing with other marketers, but against all content creators.  In such a crowded marketplace, brands have no choice but to create standout work.

Move Your Audience

Humans feel before they think – in fact, the emotional section of the brain processes sensory information in a fifth of the time it takes for the cognitive part. This means that scrolling users, who spend mere seconds on each post in their newsfeed, will process posts quicker if they have an emotional impact.

Not only does emotive content have a faster response time, but it’s also the most powerful form of communication. Chief Strategy Officer at The Gate, Kit Atlin’s talk on persuasion made Aristotle’s modes of persuasion more relevant than ever.

The right balance of ethos (credibility and authority), pathos (emotion) and logos (logic and facts) will drive persuasion, but pathos holds the most power – again, reminding us that being human in the digital age is the best way to capture audiences.

Wow Your Audience

During The Digital Renaissance: A Design-Lead Approach, we were reminded of iconic designer, Milton Glaser’s enduring quote – “There are three responses to a piece of design—yes, no, and WOW! Wow is the one to aim for.” This lesson is still just as relevant in the digital space.

The internet has seen a whopping 9900% increase in visuals over the past 11 years. The same part of the brain that processes emotions also processes visuals, so we know that the right design has a direct impact on human emotions.

The Rule of Three

By taking these three lessons on board, campaigns can become a force to be reckoned with. Engaging storytelling, emotive communications and design that ‘wows’ make for a powerful, and ultimately human, digital campaign.

I really like it when brands speak in a human way.
L.A. Ronayne, Creative Director, Stink Studios
Digital Storytelling: Core Habit Crash Course

Want to see more of the inspiring things we learnt at D&AD? Head to our Twitter page, @ZDW_Agency, for our live coverage from the event.