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:
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.
As a business consultant, or general manager for hire, for creative businesses for a number of years I have been lucky enough to come across a myriad of different business models and a wide pool of differently talented people. The exciting thing for me has been learning what works and what doesn’t work for businesses, and understanding that key that makes one business succeed and another fail – or simply to stay stuck at the one level despite their best efforts. These learnings then help bring a fresh perspective to solve business problems for others including the talent pool problem and ongoing profitability issues.
Pricing branded content is much like the old adage ‘How long is a piece of string?’ Although knowing that we’re talking about a strong and well known brand that needs to be producing content that is fitting for the business positioning and values, and congruent with the customer expectations about a leading brand, here are a few examples with price tags.
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):
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:
There are a few different types of director, and they all are valid. There is one that simply unfolds your idea, one that adds to the process and demands to be at the core of the idea, and those that are mistakenly given the full reign including concept development.
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:
Conscious business practices can be described as the focus on the well being of the people, the well being of the system, the well being of the partners (clients and suppliers), the quality of the products and services, the well being of the greater community and the well being of the bottom line all at once. So, it IS possible to work this way, and to get sound bottom line results.
Being successful creatively is more than just about relying on your trained skills, software knowledge, or what you do in your blogs/vlogs, experimental work, film festivals, and self generated projects.
It occurred to me today that one of the worst enemies of good creative and good creative process is… saying nothing. It is easy sometimes to be thinking and feeling that something isn’t right or needs to be a different way, but unless we actually state the concern it can flag to others that you condone the request or the situation.