Ever wondered what’s going on in the minds of your creative team? Creative directors ask why we leave agencies even when the work is stellar. Account managers wonder what happened to the spirit of the team midway through a project. HR tries its best to keep teams motivated. But it really isn’t all that complicated. It’s true that voicing pain points isn’t easy, particularly when salaries, status quo and fear are involved. But we need a few basic things to do our jobs well.
I haven’t personally been a "junior" creative for a while. But after a few long conversations with my peers, I came up with a list of most popular requests and demands that nearly everyone below the CCO level can relate to. So, here’s what creatives wished their creative directors, strategists and account managers knew.
1. We never really read your decks.
We try, but we skim through them at best. Even if your strategy is crisper than a kettle chip, we won’t eat up that deck. And no, fancy graphs do nothing for our ADHD.
2. Keep the brief, brief. Please.
For Christ’s sake. Anything more than a page, and it’s going to be heavily neglected. We get briefed three times a week, during a good week. We have no patience to read pages back and forth. One page is all you need. And it’s most certainly all we need.
3. We hate when you tell us to "have fun with it."
We’ll have lots of fun. Don’t worry. But telling us to have fun makes you sound really not fun. Instead, send us relevant links or cool things competitors are up to for inspiration. There are many ways to inspire us; asking us to have fun, isn’t one of them.
4. Don’t throw assignments at us and call them "a quick ask."
Quick asks are never quick. And even if they are, our plates are full of work, and your quick asks throw off our whole day. Please allow us the time an ask needs, and allow us to decide how "quick" it really is.
5. We love you for saying no. Especially to the client.
We’re all in a service industry. We get it. Clients aren’t used to hearing "no." Not from the creative directors, nor from the account folk. Rather than constantly obeying orders, kindly push back when needed. Have your creative teams say no to changes that sound absurd. Creatives and clients will forever remember your honesty and will always want to work with you.
6. We know you’re right. Just don't rub it in our faces.
Sometimes we go off strategy. Sometimes we act like undisciplined brats. We know you are right. We know you mean well. Reprimanding us is not the solution. Backbiting isn’t either. Let’s have a normal conversation. K? K. Thanks.
7. We’d like for you to burn that client hat.
Don’t tell us you’re "wearing the client hat" while critiquing work. We have clients for that. We want you to like or dislike the work for what it is. We want your opinion, not your opinion of what the client’s opinion might be.
8. We judge you for not making work anymore.
Creative directors who haven’t written or art directed in a while, and creatives with books that are hard to find on the Web: your creative teams think you’re lying to them every day. Please don’t stop creating and please don’t stop sharing your work. Otherwise, just drop the "creative" fom your title, and we’ll just call you a director.
9. We need you to be human.
Got a pulse? Cool! Us, too. Now act like you do. This is a tough business, but that doesn’t mean you forget you’re dealing with hearts and souls. Be kind, be gentle. We’ll return the kindness ten-fold.
10. Our job is freaking hard.
Putting up your work and being judged for every word chosen or every pixel presented is hard. Acknowledge our hard work even if you don’t like the work. Appreciation will make it much easier for us to go back to the easel and start from scratch. And believe us, we start from scratch A LOT.