While larger brands capitalize on the wide ranging expertise that the traditional agency model provides, there are many smaller brands that starve for specialist expertise and are desperately looking for ways to increase output from their ever tightening marketing budgets. By moving to project based activities marketers should see an increase in content volume, increase in value and if managed correctly any issues with brand disparity should be prevented – without wearing out the marketing department team members with overload.
The mistakes that marketer’s make in choosing suppliers is glaringly obviously to some of us in the industry, while others remain oblivious. It is only when you have a certain experience that you can see things that others can’t. It is like in the movie the Matrix, where the lead character can see the world in terms of code and yet others can’t. It is the same in creative services when choosing a film company, web designer, post production company, or creative agency. Here’s how many are doing it wrong:
A fully integrated marketing campaign is the Holy Grail of our industry, and despite the transition for agency account directors to be re-titled ‘integration directors’ the rest of the agency still acts in silos doing what they always did before – doing what is briefed in (and nothing more). In light of a recent research project to determine how to close the gap between strategy and execution it also reveals an imperative to become more integrated and to rethink the role of specialist project managers.
Having outsourced for many years at all different levels of budget size – whether that is from the most high end production suppliers to an online service like 99 Designs or Elance there are some pros and cons to doing this well in my experience. Many of these talented creatives are off shore and communicate via web links, online briefing or at least email with hardly any face to face contact these days. Here are my thoughts on some pitfalls and opportunities:
Like on a protractor there is a very small degree of shift from the centre when close to the starting point, but as we move further and further away from this point the deviation from base becomes more and more marked; eventually quite a distance away from the desired spot. For me, this is exactly like the creative process through the production phase. Asking ‘Why?’ is the key to keeping it on track and closing the gap.
Regardless of the medium, there are foundation principles that apply to making good creative content. The secrets to getting this right run very deep of course, but here are a few highlights that frequently mean the suppliers are not getting the best creative (the most effective*) made for you.
A lot of businesses that don’t understand production are likely to undervalue the roles of production and downscale service to clients. So much so, that a lot of clients are starting to take their productions into their own hands thinking it can’t be that complicated – set a budget and get 3 suppliers to quote on it…. easy! Or is it?….
Do you take on a job that doesn’t feel right just because it is a job, do you have a policy to take any job regardless, do you have standards too high that you limit your own sustainable growth? When do you draw the line?
Having previously been a business consultant for the last few years I had the opportunity to see deep into creative businesses and what makes for success. Here are the 9 habits I think make them a stand out business (a creative business can be anything from a micro-business up to a large scale):
As you know there are all personality types and all kinds of different thinkers. I have learned about a fantastic system that allows us to engage with everyone from the CEO to the technical procurement person and I believe that it works in all communications – even our ads.
One of my pet subjects is process that aids creativity. Funnily enough it does often cause alarm for some creatives at first when they haven’t experienced a high functioning creative business before, where creativity and accountability are finely balanced.
Even the nicest people can be unwittingly disempowering others around them simply by being unclear of how their behaviour and decisions either empower and disempower others. Here are 30 specific ideas to consider:
It is becoming more and more accepted that the placebo effect is scientifically supported and yet there is recent evidence that the power of positive thinking is actually reducing the likelihood of succeeding. So how can the fundamental driver that makes placebo’s work, miss the mark when it matters to our businesses in an industry under pressure?
‘Working for the idea’ is my mantra. This is my core driving force in everything I do. I’m obsessed with getting the best possible value on the screen and for all wastage for all parties to be removed or put where it is best serving the idea. From my experience I can say categorically that there is an element of ‘magic’ that comes from a good process in a production that directly converts onto the screen in some tangible way.
If you’re in an agency, highly creative, an innovative thinker and love change then you’re likely to have no idea how to understand your client. If you’re a client that loves a process, charts, facts and figures and love to know the exact results of your campaign ahead of time then you’re likely to have no idea how to understand your agency. Of course I’m generalising here, but the principle stands.
This is one of the most challenging times for businesses owners and my experience is that it is often much worse for creative business owners because they’re often skilled artists or operators who have moved up the ranks, but don’t always have the business thinking behind them. So, here are my top strategies for remaining cool, calm and collected during uncertain times:
I was inspired today watching a video of the founder and former CEO of Priceline.com, Jeff Hoffman. He talks about the depressing day a mentor he looked up to and respected told him he’d never make it out in business on his own, and listed three key faults that would cause him to fail. Luckily Jeff went home and watched sport on TV (as you do)…
Overwhelm is one of the most compromising states for many of us and affects our productivity, our communication, inter-office and client relationships as well as our creativity. Some of us recognise it when it appears, and some of us don’t. The idea is to be self aware and remember some simple strategies that work for you to overcome it.
The interesting fact is that a lot of us think that moving jobs will make us happier but that’s not generally true. What we really need to be happy in our jobs is:
Did you know that the part of your brain that watches TV is a different part of your brain that speaks out and communicates?
If your client is facing your pitch situation as if they are in a TV watching mode then they’re going to stare blankly at you. How many times have you heard industry people say that their clients just stare at them and don’t say anything in presentations?! I’ve heard it a thousand times I’m sure.