Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Early Warning Signs

It is of the utmost importance that all parties are in step with each other in order to produce a top-quality product. There are some "early warning signs" that the creative understanding between an Agency and its clients might be, at best, out of sync, and at worst, headed for a train wreck. A few of these points are listed out below - I hope you not only enjoy them but that they provide some serious insights for you:

*Never Explain Rejections - If you keep quiet, and keep your unspoken goals to yourself, you will always have the upper hand on your creative team because they will never even get close to satisfying you.

*Cram Every Product Into Every Ad - You know those creative types - always trying to push a design that leaves so much "unused" space on any given page. Even though a strong presentation on a commanding feature or benefit might actually sell something, don't let all that space on the page go unused.

*Don't Bother To Follow Up With Research - You might learn that some creative approach other than your own actually worked and deserved to be repeated or expanded to other product lines - but you would have to give up some control over the creative process and that would never do.

*Nit-Pick - There is nothing - and never will be anything - that cannot be criticized and "improved" by you or your advertising committee. Even though your creative team has worked weeks to perfect a concept, it can always be torn down.

*Never, Repeat Never, Praise Good Work - Always keep the creative team on its toes by not telling them they have done good work. After all, you just might get more of the same.

These points were originally written to try to provide guidance to some young, but inexperienced, Account Executives on the Agency side of the business. They have been in my file, and in the back of my mind, for over thirty years and I am still amazed at the timeless wisdom they represent. If nothing else, they are a reminder that any successful creative problem solving can only be achieved if the whole team is rowing in the same direction. If, in the execution of your marketing communications program, you begin to sense that something might be out of sync on the creative side of things, solve that problem first - then tackle the bigger creative issues. Early warning signs might start small but they will quickly mushroom to proportions that can completely derail a creative effort.