In yesterday's post, I suggested 10 starter questions we should ask ourselves when attempting to enhance creativity as a means to improve client service. Why are these at least some of the right questions? Because...
(1) If creativity is not a core value for your agency, then just put a fork in it. You don't stand a chance competing against firms where it is a core value.
(2) If you're not recruiting people who are either creative by nature or passionate about the creative process, then your job just got 10 times harder.
(3) Being creative is no different from running, listening, etc. We can all do it to some level of proficiency (some having more natural talent than others), but we can always learn skills that can make us better both as individuals and as teams.
(4) You will not realize the creative potential of your team if you don't give them the tools and the training. For those of you concerned about turnover and the expense of such an investment, your choice is easy: Train your people and risk they'll leave, or don't train them and have them stay! (I heard this many years ago and never forgot it.)
(5) You can't say you value creativity and then not place any value on it. It's that simple. If you're going to talk the talk, then walk the walk. See to it that creativity weighs heavily in evaluating overall job performance and compensation.
(6) It's clearly not just about compensation. Everyone also loves recognition. But don't just rely upon independent awards shows. Start your own recognition program or if you already have one, raise its level of prestige within the agency.
(7) If you want to move from creativity being simply "what you do", to being "who you are", then a measure of creativity should touch every aspect of your agency life - not just your client work. How fun!
(8) Putting the same level of creative energy towards existing client work versus new business is a huge challenge, involving relationship dynamics that stretch far beyond the agency/client world. We just have to keep working at it.
(9) Don't blame the client for lackluster creative - it's embarrassing. Regarding budget, I'd argue that small budgets should not be viewed as obstacles, but creative weapons. When we were little kids and wanted to give our mom or dad a birthday card, we lacked the money (or at least I did) to buy a card at the local store. Forced to seek other means, we found crayons, paper, old magazines, glue, etc. and we concocted something more special and more personal than Hallmark could ever create.
(10) We have to bring new, creative ideas to our clients - all the time! (If you balk at this because you believe your client thinks you're just trying to sell them something, then you don't have a creative problem, you have a relationship problem.) But we have to be willing to hear 'no" and hear it often. We cannot be worn down. Because the day you stop bringing new ideas to your client, will be the day someone else will. If you find a client's resistance to be so problematic, then you should consider addressing the issue with the client directly. Work with clients who let you do the work you want to do! It will serve as a morale boost to your team and demonstrate that you mean what you're saying.
Hmmm......... Creativity may be an agency core value after all.