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Businesses are staring down the difficult challenge of digital innovation as never before. Massive amounts of activity have moved online in recent months, and consequently, being able to change and adapt to a new digital reality has become a major test for organizations of all shapes and sizes. 

This has been felt across every industry, but it’s certainly been true for creative agencies, who have had to reimagine the way they work overnight and in many cases, accommodate clients who are facing uphill battles themselves. But creative agencies and the larger advertising community as a whole also have something working in their favor—they’ve done this before. 

Since the dawn of the Internet, it’s been creative agencies who showed us what was possible with new media and tech platforms, and in many cases, helped define what the Internet has become. 

As we work through the impacts of Covid-19 and beyond, a new challenge has emerged causing us all to reevaluate the role digital plays in our businesses. In this challenge, like many before it, we’ll need to draw on our creativity and technology to thrive once again.

This was the topic of discussion during a recent live online panel, presented by Ad Age, which was moderated by Ad Age President and Publisher Josh Golden, and featured WP Engine CMO Mary Ellen Dugan, Chief Design Officer at Huge, Fura Johannesdottir, and 72andSunny Founder and Creative Chair Glenn Cole. 

The theme of the panel, “How Creative Technology is Transforming the Industry,” focused on WP Engine’s recently-released documentary make|SHIFT, which examines the history of modern advertising and the role creative technology plays in its evolution.

The nearly 30-minute discussion, which you can view in full here, explores why the film is so relevant today and it offers a deep dive from all three panelists into the changes they’ve seen in recent months, as well as takeaways for agencies and brands looking for ways to forge ahead in today’s digital landscape. 

“What’s been fascinating to watch over the last two months is the influx of conversations around ‘how do I accelerate my digital footprint, how do I change it?’ Mary Ellen says at the beginning of the discussion. 

“We work with companies that are small, medium, and large, and in a very real sense, the website has become the new front door for businesses,” she says. “Restaurants now need eCommerce, yoga studios need to post classes, and theatres are going virtual.”

Meanwhile, she adds, big brands are looking for new ways to attract people and many of their digital innovation plans have been expedited rapidly. “[The new digital reality] has changed the conversation for every company,” says Mary Ellen. “Even if you’re not digitally minded, you need to think like a digital business.” 

Check out the full Ade Age discussion to hear more. 

You can also watch the make|SHIFT film, featuring more than 40 of the top marketing and tech minds in the industry, in its entirety here. WP Engine produced the film with September Club and HeyLet’sGo! to create the feature-length film, directed by Casey Suchan, who previously directed “Rock The Bells,” a Warner Brothers documentary on the final performance of hip-hop artists Wu-Tang Clan and produced a series of best-selling documentaries on Hip Hop culture. The film dives into the history of modern advertising and highlights the makers, agencies, and brands who had the courage to harness new technology, test new business models, and question the status quo.

Steven Moy, Chief Executive Officer at Barbarian, praised the film’s “inspiring look at how creativity has evolved with technological innovation over time, and how our industry has always been there to meet the rapidly changing customer needs.”

“There has never been a more important time for brands to embrace the power of creative technology,” he said. “With the advent of the ‘stay at home’ customer, the first and last mile of the customer journey have transformed brands and customer relationships forever.”

Click here to find out more about make|SHIFT, and visit WP Engine to find out more about the ways we’re helping businesses of all shapes and sizes accelerate their digital presence and do more online with WordPress.