What Creatives Really Hear (a.k.a. The Death of Creativity)
Have you ever found that your business has a hard time keeping its creative talent around for long, or hiring individuals to fill these positions? You might be wondering what you are doing wrong, or maybe you just go with the stereotypes such as, “All creatives are extreme left wing liberal nuts, and therefore aren’t logical” or “They love project based work and changes in scenery, so why should we hire them and give benefits”. I promise you, there are those types of people, but a truly intelligent creatives know how to spot a dead end, and I personally find there to be a vast amount of this type, like myself. In the following, I will attempt to apply some logic and shed light on this mystery, so you and creative can co-exist in harmony and grow your brand. I will give you the perspective of a creative minds interpretation of the following statements.
#1 You use words, such as the following to describe a position/task/project:
Copy This Style = Don’t use any insight from your creative background or training, and just steal this look; I have no idea how to do this, or don’t have time, otherwise I wouldn’t have to hire you.
Exciting Opportunity/Positive Spinning = This is going to bore the creativity out of you; apply elsewhere. You can’t really polish dirt, can you?
Intern = I don’t value your profession enough to consider it legit or I have a bunch of stuff I don’t want to do myself. The only profession this doesn’t apply to is teaching, because the candidate is usually studying and couldn’t take money anyways (illegal due to contracts, etc.).
Production = Boring repetitions of information anyone who can click a button can do… this means i won’t be applying any type of logic to what I am doing, just clicking a button mindlessly. Alright, Henry revolutionized the car industry by bringing this in house; how about we train some monkeys? They will work for bananas and the worst thing they are gonna do is fling poo… great for mass production but not innovation.
He/She is Just Some Designer = That is the office creative… dead silence, ok so on to better things. Devaluing any associate is bad enough, but to devalue the person who visually represents your image isn’t good (unless you want hidden messages here and there; hope you have an A+++ copywriter to catch that). We take great pride in our work, just like you did when you made the company that extra 10k (hopefully, it was more). No I in team (except for the creative’s)…
*Sidenote: This may appear excessively negative, but I promise all of these conclusions are based heavily on conversations and other means of extracting data.
#2 State of mind on the direction of creative:
It’s Working for… = I have no idea, but its working for these guys so therefore it will work for us. Amateur hour, wonderful… so you want me to do the CEO/Creative Director’s position for how much an hour? To top it off, you will have me doing multiples designs that will be simply discarded.
No A/B Testing = Well, this better be the best thing since the inception of Aston Martin, or your screwed buddy! Way to dump all the responsibility on your creative! Now they think your a sniper just waiting for them to make the wrong move.
Swimming in Circles = Wait, work on this! Hold on, work on that… make up your mind! Wait, take both those things and put them together. So we should all be able to multitask, but this is ridiculous…
Making It Up As You Go = I don’t know why are customers are confused with are website? Although being able to improvise is a valuable comedic and job interviewing skill, it is no way to lead creative. Make a plan, break it into digestible phases/sections, cross-train team along the way, and bring unity to the brand (s).
Poor Communication = I just don’t understand why you can’t produce what I want! Often people leading the creative are a CEO, Marketing Manager, etc. who have no actual knowledge of the process. This happens in every field, though. I would say 97.5% of the time, this is the problem.
#3 Recruiting your creative gurus:
We Are Looking for a Rockstar = I want to find someone with an ungodly amount of talent, so we can achieve as much and fast possible! This persona has to have done it all! I am looking to pay them around 15-20 USD an hour. I am pretty sure that doesn’t even belong in the same ballpark, let alone paragraph. Your not going to get a “rockstar”, as most of those people are upwards from 50+ starting. The majority are freelance, do to their extreme rate of speed, earning potential, and ability to handle multiple projects/clients at once.
They Are All the Same = I want a web designer. I want the most beautiful flash created website, with animations, vector graphics, video, and you name it! Problem, unless your web designer is also an animator, copywriter, graphic designer, marketing professional, and video editor. Not saying most aren’t well versed in multiple disciplines, but your setting yourself up for failure.
Assumptions = It said you did cartooning on your resume, so how come your cartoons aren’t like what I envisioned (also file under miscommunication)? Whoopsy, there are different types of cartoons; didn’t you know that? Are we talking Disney cutesy or Vampire Hunter D hyper-realistic?
Filling a Slot = Oh crap, we are so far behind we will never make deadline! We have all done it, whether its just hiring a temp or pushing someone into a spot they clearly don’t want to be in… it is better to wait, and get a little behind deadline, than to have to take a direction and stop halfway when the person walks or you don’t get the result your after.
Follow these simple guidelines, and you and creative(s) will coexist in a state of harmony and take your business to the next level.