The toughest job in Advertising: Creatives

Creative professionals have the toughest job in Advertising.   

Think about it. A client starts with a concept and several measurable goals. The agency team huddles up and commits to achieving those goals by a certain date…in advance of the creative work being done, by a particular date. Forcing creative execution makes this process very hard.

To ensure project success, it is incumbent on everyone else to remove obstacles that could impede the Creative professionals....to help Creatives "stay in the zone." That's the dynamic of the well-functioning creative team.  

  • Account teams need to set and manage expectations of the client.
  • Project Managers need to make sure all resources are available and the team is aware of issues, changes and deadlines.
  • Agency leadership needs to provide the resources to ensure success:
    • a great work environment, with the right team
    • the best creative tools, such as Adobe Creative Cloud
    • automatic timesheets, such as Openhour TimeTracker (a shameless plug, but automating the process allows Creatives to focus on client work without distraction.)

Let’s start with an example:  A client wants a billboard campaign to introduce a new product.  They have the product, the marketing concept, the budget and a deadline.  Oh, yes.  The deadline.  Let’s presume they only have a week for this project.  Seven days…just 168 hours...the clock is ticking.

The Account Manager assembles the team, and they quickly acknowledge that certain deliverables will be made according to a schedule. The Account Manager has confidence in the team and commits to the client.  It’s fairly clear what the Account Manager will do for the next seven days: communicate with the project manager, possibly Finance and of course the client.

The Project Manager has a good understanding of action items, too. A daily stand-up with the team to ensure the project is on-track and expectations will be met.  Throughout the day, the PM will have touchpoints with the Account Manager, Creatives, Operations and possibly Finance. Simple enough. Perhaps stressful, but certainly straightforward.

But what about the Creatives?  They’ve committed to execute on an idea that is still maturing.  In addition to developing the creative idea, they have to execute on it.  There’s no guaranteed process for being creative…and you can’t order good creative from Amazon Prime. It’s the big uncertainty in this entire process.

And it’s not only the Creative who has to approve the work, but the Account Manager and team often weigh in…as well agency leadership.  That’s a lot of chefs in the kitchen.  Of course, the client’s opinion matters most.  And keep in mind all of this has to happen within the deadline! So the Creatives do what they do…and it’s hard.

With creative juices flowing, Creatives aren’t thinking about anything else...just spectacular execution.  They just need to deliver creativity...on time...like a box of widgets in a manufacturing plant.  It's not that easy...especially on a consistent basis.  And yet, they delivery...time and time again.

And that's why Creatives have the toughest job in Advertising.

(This is the first in a series of blogs:  The Empathy Blogs)