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New challenges, new opportunities: meeting the future of marketing

Whether in-person or via industry research, we’ve heard time and time again about the new challenges marketers and creatives face as they navigate a rapidly shifting and increasingly complex landscape. We believe the solution is a collaborative, interoperable visual communications platform that puts the power to create effortlessly into everyone’s hands.


With the recent flood of game-changing technologies, huge changes in how we work, shifts in content consumption, and an uncertain macroeconomic environment, we’ve landed in a brand new era of marketing. It’s an exciting landscape to be part of, but one that also comes with new challenges to navigate.

A recent survey(opens in a new tab or window) of marketing, creative, and communications professionals conducted by Canva and Ad Age confirmed what we’ve heard time and time again: 75% of them are dealing with an increase in the volume and complexity of creative assets. At the same time, turnarounds are being cut short.

75% of marketing, creative, and communications professionals say they're dealing with an increase in the volume and complexity of creative assets. At the same time, turnarounds are being cut short.

At last week’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity(opens in a new tab or window), we connected with a range of creative and marketing professionals to get their take on the future of creativity, what’s going on in the industry, and trends to keep an eye on.

“It was clear this is a crossroads moment,” said Canva’s Strategic Partnerships manager Jonathan Harley. “A time of significant change, due to the combination of the unknowns and opportunities of AI, along with the fact that businesses are spending less at the moment – and in many cases restructuring.”

The new challenges

Sixty-nine per cent of those surveyed by Ad Age say their budgets have either shrunk or stayed the same since the COVID-19 pandemic – meanwhile, the cost of creating content for increasingly savvy audiences keeps going up. So, these teams face a tough challenge: finding ways to be more efficient, without sacrificing quality and creativity.

Canva's recently-released Visual Economy Report(opens in a new tab or window) highlighted a crucial shift in how brands need to operate. Visual communication has become an absolute must, meaning brands need to explore new ways to scale content outputs. They need to invest in visual platforms that promote design literacy(opens in a new tab or window) for all employees – not just the designers. They know they now need tools that streamline the creative process and make it easier for everyone to create visually appealing content. But there's still a problem – they lack a simple, user-friendly platform for creative collaboration.

Natalie Schwartz speaking on Amazon’s panel about the future of creativity at Cannes Lions

Natalie Schwartz speaking on Amazon’s panel about the future of creativity at Cannes Lions

One of the main takeaways from Cannes was a strong sense of collaboration – teams want to work together. There’s a strong understanding that the best work happens in a collaborative manner.

However, a staggering 86% of those surveyed by Ad Age stated that collaboration systems within their organizations are ineffective. Tools that unblock workflows are very welcome, especially with teams increasingly distributed around the globe.

Banishing collaboration inefficiencies

As empowering teams to do more becomes necessary, streamlining collaboration becomes critical. It can be frustrating when seemingly simple tasks, like granting temporary access to a freelancer or updating logos, cause headaches and lead to unpredictable outcomes and inconsistencies.

According to our Ad Age study, only 25% of creatives say they’re ‘very satisfied’ with how other teams in their organization maintain and adhere to brand guidelines in the assets and materials they create. It’s becoming essential to have a platform that allows collaboration in real-time with outside agencies and freelancers, and provides greater flexibility in managing access across teams.

Only 25% of creatives say they’re ‘very satisfied’ with how other teams in their organization maintain and adhere to brand guidelines in the assets and materials they create.

80% of the Ad Age survey respondents also worry they're wasting too much time on boring, repetitive tasks. Marketers and creatives are looking for efficiencies at every turn with many embracing AI tools(opens in a new tab or window) to supercharge creativity, boost productivity, and automate their workflows. At Cannes, AI was part of almost every conversation. We heard over and over again that practitioners are optimistic about AI – and that they’re thinking of it as a new tool in their kit.

“AI was everywhere and optimism prevailed,” said Canva’s Head of Sales and Success Jen Howard. “Many brands had already moved into the phase of establishing governance about how to use it. This was a clear signal to me that it’s here to stay, the creative/marketing community is embracing it, and that operationalizing it was a clear next step.”

Ideally, creatives can also centralize brand identities and control the ingredients teams use to create assets, as well as have access to self-serve capabilities to design content templates that are accessible, save time, and empower team members to be more autonomous. The result? Removing bottlenecks that stifle creating branded content at scale. With a democratic design approach, these tools can liberate creatives to focus on generating fresh ideas to engage with audiences, instead of getting bogged down in creating multiple variations of templates, images, and content.

Looking to the future

We’re committed to brands and agencies, and have made it our mission to meet these new challenges and opportunities – especially when it comes to brand consistency, scaling campaigns, and deploying creative assets.

While there are some real challenges at the moment, and plenty of uncertainty, the atmosphere at Cannes Lions – considered the world’s largest gathering of the marketing, creative and advertising community – was one of optimism.

Attendees at Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity sitting on red external stairs with Cannes Lions banner in the background

“I found a genuine excitement for the road ahead – a sense that innovation will help find the way forward and that creativity and collaboration will drive great work,” Jonathan Harley said.

“This was especially evident with the Creative Academy – a highly inspiring cohort of emerging leaders who’ll be the powerhouses of innovation and excellence for brands in the coming years. Their openness and ambition to find new ways of working was infectious.”

Find out more about making Canva the home for your brand in the modern workplace with Canva Teams(opens in a new tab or window) and our brand management tools(opens in a new tab or window).


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