WEEK 16: Friction
This week we had some friction in the creative team. If you understand what it is like to work with creative people, then you will know that a certain level of friction is normal in such teams. However, if like most clients, the concept of dealing with creative people is a something you approach with apprehension, let me provide you with some valuable insights.
As Creatives, our job is to regularly come up with fresh, interesting content. Even to the layman it is apparent when a creative idea is half-hearted. We are expected to pour our hearts and souls into each idea we create.
However, in this industry, rejection is something that we must learn to cope with on a regular basis. This would not be such a problem if we were not attached to our work, but in this highly competitive and demanding field, when we put all our efforts into creating something, a certain degree of attachment is inevitable. To a client who doesn’t understand the amount of work that goes into formulating a creative, our ideas might not seem like a big deal. As a result, when Creatives display an unfavourable reaction to rejection, a lot of clients think we are ‘dramatic’ or ‘emotional’, when that is not necessarily the case.
Personally speaking, no matter how many times I have faced rejection already, it still hurts a little every time. But we Creatives are expected dust ourselves off each time and remain as inspired as always. This is not easy, and a little empathy would go a long way.
It is important to know how to reject an idea as well. Let’s take a quick quiz – if a creative team approached you and presented an idea that you did not agree with, how would you reject it? Would you:
(a) Tell them point blank that you don’t like it, then tell them to come with a new set of ideas next time and leave it at that
(b) Decide not to reject them face to face and instead ask them to develop the ideas some more (send you a script, for example) and then never respond
(c) Humour them during the meeting and then tell them how you really feel in an email immediately after
(d) Tell them what you like and dislike about the idea and explain why, as well as give them constructive feedback on which areas need to be focused on when they are creating new ideas
The correct answer is (d), but I have been on the receiving end of all of the above.
Another important facet is how to handle creative pitches. Say someone is pitching an idea to you. Do you:
(a) Rush them through the strategy parts and tell them to get to the main idea
(b) Listen to their ideas and then respond with a simple, “Okay”
The correct answer is none of the above. The aforementioned options are some of the most demotivating things to Creatives (yet again, I have experienced both). When we get excited about a project and work hard on it, things like this can kill our inspiration in a second. If you liked our ideas, make sure to tell us. It may seem childish but the truth is validation, no matter how slight, makes a difference. (And if you didn’t like our ideas, refer above)
Another important thing is to make sure you do not exploit creative teams. A lot of clients believe that agencies are to be paid only to execute ideas, and therefore demand unlimited creative ideas for free. It is important to realise that coming up with ideas is work as well, and Creatives are to be valued accordingly, which is why at Humour Me we include a charge for ideation.
Coming back to the topic I began with, there was a little friction in the team this week due to a combination of the aforementioned circumstances. However, since they occurred on an internal level, they were peacefully resolved and now it’s back to work as usual.
We are also currently conducting interviews for digital managers (if you’re interested, send your application to firstname.lastname@example.org). This week one of the candidates was one of the worst the interviewing team had ever seen. I was not a part of this team, but they tell me he was so bad it was actually entertaining. For example, there is a ‘pay per click’ model of advertising on Google. The concerned interviewee was convinced this model was called the ‘paper clip’ model.
See you next week!