Creatives and AI: Can we all just get along?

AI isn’t the end of creativity—it’s a new chapter. The most common talking point I hear is that using AI can help us do things faster and more efficiently than before. It can write copy, make videos, create content, and more, all with just a few clicks. And it’s got a lot of people in the creative industry concerned that AI is a threat to their jobs. The question is: Can we all just get along?

The short answer is: It’s complicated. The long answer is that instead of doomsaying, I believe creatives should be channeling their energy into figuring out how to use this new tool to help them add to their creative thinking, explore their limits, and save time for higher-order creative endeavors. How AI affects their jobs depends on how they use it. 

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no technical expert when it comes to AI. But after 30-some-odd years in the business (and the scars to prove it), I understand creatives and creativity. Embracing change, indulging curiosity, and discovering new ways of working are traits shared by the most successful among us.

Using disruptive technology to get better ideas and better work faster is nothing new. In fact, it wasn’t so long ago that TV commercials were literally cut by hand on flatbed editing tables. Changing an edit was a long and labor-intensive dance of razors, tape, and editor cursing. With the advent of digital editing systems, a creative team could look at cut after cut, version after version, with the click of a few buttons to find the best, most impactful expression of their idea. Today, we couldn’t conceive of working in such an archaic and limited fashion.


Let’s be clear, AI does “good enough” incredibly well—and that’s bad news if that’s your creative sweet spot. The silver lining is that by letting technology handle much of the ground-level work, creative thinkers save time and energy for things that not only need out-of-the-box thinking, but are much more valuable because of it. 

Think about the projects that flow through the system every day and how many of those you just need to get off your plate so you can get to the things that excite you. Much of that can be done by leveraging AI. What could you accomplish and create if you had all that time back? Let it churn out emails, newsletters, social media posts, research summaries, and other tasks where “good enough” is good enough.

A good creative could knock these things out in less than a day, but AI can do it in minutes. Those same creatives can now spend most of their workdays on real opportunities that can win business, generate PR, and impress clients. My company has been working AI into our processes for things we’ve already discussed as well as tapping it for creating outlines, fighting writer’s block, producing images and videos for presentations, and researching ideas to build upon.


Let’s be honest, clients don’t pay for average. They pay to stand out. Achieving that differentiation takes work— being innovative and pushing norms—that AI can’t do alone. AI output needs to be put through a human filter and then built upon for it to be relatable, compelling, and brand appropriate.

Whenever I prompt AI to generate long-form content, it presents me with an impressive veneer. But if you know what you’re talking about, you can tell the content has no depth. It feels hollow and superficial. It’s great for getting me about 80% there, but I can create something impactful by building on top of AI with my experiences and voice. 

Can clients and agencies get by just using what AI kicks out? Sure, and sadly many will. But that’s what separates the best from the rest. Savvy creators and marketers know that by combining technology and creativity, they can achieve faster and better. That’s when things start getting to the next level.

The best creatives are the ones who will learn how to maximize AI to explore dozens of options and ideas faster and easier, finding the option that sings to them and refining it into something more intentional with more compelling results. Creative work will become deeper and richer. Content will improve. Average will no longer cut it, but great creatives will always have a home.


Instead of worrying whether or not AI will take creative jobs, leaders should ask themselves how it can help them do their creative jobs better. Like computers, digital cameras, and Photoshop before it, AI is another powerful tool in your arsenal.

Here are three ways you can embrace the capacity of AI and be part of the change that raises the bar on creativity: 

1. Collaborate better: Recognize that AI can collaborate with you like another creative partner. Use it to probe ideas, research thought starters, and uncover interesting angles to solve problems.

2. Become more informed: Great creatives can develop great ideas, but time is money, and those limitations only allow them to take their creativity so far. AI gives us the opportunity to go deeper. Use AI chatbots to research and answer questions to collect new information—target audience, category, competitors—that you use to create better-informed work.

3. Embrace more AI tools: Large language models get all the headlines, but there’s more AI out there. Today’s AI tools can edit videos, convert text to animated stories, and create presentations; tomorrow’s AI will do more. Tap into these resources by becoming better educated on what’s out there and what might work for the way that you work. Then, give it a try.

Creativity is inherently about change: If you can’t embrace change, you need to re-evaluate what business you’re in. But if you thrive on that change and allow it to motivate and inspire you, then this will be a renaissance. 

Don’t be afraid to embrace it.