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Don't Blame Bad Creative on Your Client
By: AdAge
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One of the most common excuses I've heard in my 20-plus year career as a creative in advertising is "the client picked the safe idea" or "the client watered the idea down too much." From my perspective, these excuses are mostly caused by three things: 1) a poor client/creative relationship and mistrust; 2) an unstructured creative process and meeting infrequency; and 3) a creative's unwillingness to listen.

Early in my career, I had the pleasure of getting an interview with one of the hottest agencies in the country. This agency was killing it with consistent breakthrough work that was fresh and original. They weren't even pitching for business at the time. Clients would just call them up and give them the business. During my interview with their chief creative officer, I asked him how they were able to sell those kind of ideas. He responded by saying they don't sell anything, "they have conversations about ideas." And when those conversations don't garner any excitement and momentum, they quickly come back with more ideas to have more conversations about. This happens until both parties in the partnership are 100% excited and onboard with a creative concept or strategy.

Now, if you have been in the advertising industry -- whether for a few months or a few decades -- you probably know it can't be that easy. Surely, this can only be done with a small handful of dream clients.

But in reality there is no such thing as a dream client anymore. Gone are the good ol' days of Don Draper waxing on and revealing three magical words that will send a product flying off the shelf. There are way too many things happening now in marketing. Clients desperately want to be educated and listened to. They also want to be a part of the creative process, not just the final presentation.

So how do you turn your client relationship from one where you are selling ideas to one that is more collaborative?

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This was originally published on AdAge. A link to the original story follows this post. www.adage.com
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