Are You Setting Your Creative Team Up for Success?

Creative professionals (writers, designers, and the like) often occupy a twilight position in the marketing and advertising universe. They are alternately expected to color both outside and inside the lines, read minds, produce endless supplies of ideas, and craft out-of-the ordinary concepts, graphics, and content.

And we often expect them to do it with limited time, conflicting input, and right in the middle of another project where they’re expected to be equally heroic.

In smaller environments where team members have to wear lots of hats, creatives are also expected to employ quite a bit of project management, production capability, and strategy skills. Sometimes these contributions are acknowledged, but in other instances they’re taken for granted, since creatives aren’t always recognized as having the same business acumen as account managers and sales professionals.

So with one thing or another, creative team members have a challenging role on their best days, and a uniquely frustrating role on some of their worst days. If you’re charged with the task of managing or collaborating with creative staff, it’s definitely worth your time to make sure you’re setting them up to be successful – especially given the fact that accounts and campaigns are often won or lost on the basis of client/customer reactions to your brand’s creative.

A few questions worth considering include:

Are you setting a positive example regarding input and feedback? People with non-creative backgrounds can be notorious for giving feedback that’s unclear, conflicting, overly harsh, and in some cases, downright ridiculous. Any good creative pro can handle fair and direct criticism or comments, but discourtesy and vagueness are never helpful.

Are you fostering innovative thinking? Sometimes designers and writers receive overdirection that boxes them in with respect to concept and execution. In some instances that’s just fine – the client wants something highly specific, or the project doesn’t really warrant a lot of creative staff time. In other cases, however, over direction can lead to less-than-innovative thinking on the part of your creative team, which in turn can lead to lackluster results.

Are you allowing time for idea marination? Sometimes a marketing or advertising team has no choice but to work fast – and in those cases, all hands on deck have to be as creative or efficient as they can be within the time restraints of the project at hand.

But at some point, creative pros have to be allowed time to marinate new ideas if they are expected to show innovation. If you can’t ever seem to get that point, it may be time to re-allocate some responsibilities or hire additional creative staff.

We speak data – and we speak creative, too. If you’re looking for an non-traditional thinker to serve as your creative partner, we’d love to talk more.