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Adam Kleinberg, of Traction, on creativity, AI tools, and the future of advertising

Adam Kleinberg is CEO and Co-Founder at Traction, a San Francisco-based consultancy describing itself as “a new breed of brand experience consultancy designed to help in-house teams create the amazing experiences they need to connect with their customers at the speed—and with the talent—their business demands.” He’s been named one of the Top 25 Most Innovative Marketers in Digital by iMedia Connection, his consultancy has won many awards from Ad Age, iMedia, BtoBMagazine, TheNextWeb, and others, and his client base includes Apple, Adobe, LinkedIn, Walmart, and dozens of other top-tier brands.

I wanted to touch base with Adam to discuss the present and future evolution of creativity, marketing, and advertising, with a focus on the role that Generative AI and LLMs will play in this evolution. Along the way we discuss topics including:

  • How Traction started as a freelance cooperative in a spare bedroom, later growing into a marketing accelerator with a “liquid” workforce.
  • How Traction adapted to changes in the market by pivoting to a remote workforce model in 2019.
  • The future of marketing agencies, which must work to adapt to changing client needs and provide value beyond just media buying.
  • How Traction helps brands leverage emerging tech through community, events, and workshops, driving enterprise adoption and problem-solving.
  • The potential of AI tools in the creative process, especially with respect to their ability to speed up the insights generation process and provide valuable inspiration.
  • How AI tools such as Gemini, ChatGTP, and others help to organize thoughts and create a consistent voice.
  • The efficiency gains of using AI tools for image selection and manipulation, for example, Canva’s ability to suggest alternative backgrounds without manual effort.
  • The potential impact of AR/VR on brands and potential role in creating more immersive apps and games.
  • How Lowe’s and other brands are creating immersive retail experiences with AR technology, potentially revolutionizing the industry.
  • The importance of creative excellence in a rapidly changing media landscape, where mistakes can be costly and competitors are always one step ahead.
  • The evolution of targeting in advertising, from the “big idea” of the past to personalized messaging and AI-driven optimization.
  • The challenges of over-segmentation and the importance of data quality in optimizing ad performance, even with AI.


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