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Learning to Negotiate for 'Creative You'
By: Emory Brown
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“Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re going to get.” This is what the infinitely wise Forrest Gump said. The truth is, you never really do. No matter whom you are! Especially in business, because the cards can change at any time and opportunity comes knocking whenever she wants. Every day, negotiations are being made around the world between people, governments, and businesses. Yet how does this thing work for us “creative folk”? Some of us are simply artists that make a living doing what we love.  Some of us create art for free in community projects and never expect a dime for it. For some of us, negotiating is not as hot a topic as the new CS8 that’s coming out for Photoshop. However, it is very much a part of our daily interactions in life, even in the smallest details.

When a creative walks into a meeting for a project, the negotiation begins. The project brief is given, the team begins to talk about the details, and people begin vying for their position to be understood. Changes are being made on the spot. Lead creatives are saying, “I don’t think that point is relevant to the project,” or “We should add these things for clarity.” Someone sighs, which is translated into, “Can we get on with this already?” Yet this is negotiation in its simplest form. Creative teams want to win and win big. Who wants to go along with a bad strategy document or a losing idea? No team! So the goal is to create a “Win, Win, Win” situation where all parties can walk away with something cool.

As a creative person or team, you bring value to the business deal. You are integral in developing the ideas that solve the challenges a business may be facing. Therefore, you have leverage when you are invited to the table. You have a voice. A valued voice! So your job is to show your colleagues how you all can win together. 
Great creative from advertising, film, and music (the list goes on) has created “Win, Win, Win” situations that have changed the face of business. Russell Simmons created a hip-hop powerhouse with Universal Music Group as his partner. Michael Graves partnered with Target and created a line of kitchen and household accessories that change the world of retail. Steve Jobs convinced a room of “Silicon Valley” investors that Apple was the next best thing since sliced bread and permanently graces the pages of history as the computer kid who sold millions of computers with a half-eaten apple as his logo. Now that’s negotiation…creative style.


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About the Author
Emory Brown is an award-winning creative director/writer whose mission is to spread the gospel of what great marketers can do when they put their heads together and work together for the greater good and not the bottom line. Working with many esteemed clients, his portfolio of work ranges in genre from conservative to ultra-modern including American Family Insurance, United Airlines, Mazda 6 and RX-8, Illinois Lottery, Tyson, Miller Genuine Draft, Nike Air Force 1, and Mercedes Benz, to name a few.  
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