Creatives love to hate the suits … aka the AEs. They have other not-so-nice nicknames for them. They ridicule them … and are quick to share a good AE joke.
This strains the Creative-AE relationship. It makes it hard for AEs to gain the respect of creatives. And ultimately the agency’s work suffers.
As with any relationship, it helps to understand what the other person experiences. To see it from their perspective. And when you do gain their respect, the reward is huge.
To help you gain the perspective of creatives and improve your relationship, here are 15 things that Creatives want you to know.
- The creative process takes time and is unpredictable – It’s not like a math problem that you break out the calculator and solve. Ideas don’t come based on a schedule. Some may take longer than originally planned. It’s not that the creative team is trying to miss the deadline. It just may take a little longer for the best ideas to surface. But typically, it’s well worth the wait.
- In a visual design, there are reasons that some elements are large and some are small – art directors are well trained to order the eye. There is a hierarchy for delivering the message and a lot of strategy, training, and experience has gone into the design. So when the client wants to make everything equally important then nothing is important. And the entire message will be lost. And, white space is good. Filling up all the white space with content does not make the ad more effective. In fact, it usually has the opposite effect.
- Creatives need to know why changes are being requested … not just what to change – what is the problem to be solved? Only then can the best solution be found that solves the problem while maintaining the effectiveness of the ad.
- The purpose of a headline is to grab attention to draw the reader in to read more … not to make the sale – this is a common misunderstanding. So when the client wants to rewrite the headline to say everything in the headline, please understand that this will not make the ad more effective.
- Creatives want you to fight for the work – it’s not just the job of creative to sell the work. AEs should take ownership of the work too and help make the case for the work.
- Sometimes you gotta break rules to get results – there are rules and guidelines for everything. But at times, the best solution is to do the unexpected to stand out in the crowd. You’ve got to be willing to trust the creatives when they recommend this approach.
- Don’t just take orders -a good AE will understand the client’s business. He will ask a lot of questions. He will be proactive. A good AE will not just take the client’s orders and pass them along to the team.
- It’s challenging not to hear input directly from the client and be able to ask questions – whenever possible, please include creatives in client meetings and presentations. And if you can’t, be sure to take copious notes so that you can provide as in-depth feedback as possible to the team.
- Creative is not a popularity contest – you (and your client) should not judge creative based on if you like it. The barometer should always be if it will deliver the desired results.
- Work must appeal to the target, not you, or the client – you (and your client) are not necessarily the target audience. So don’t just go by your own personal feelings. Make sure your decisions are based on the target audience.
- It’s ok to not know the answer – you are not expected to know all the answers all the time. It’s acceptable to let the client know that you don’t know the answer, but you will find out the answer and get back to her.
- It’s ok to say no at times – in customer support they say the customer is always right. So you would think that the client would always be right. But this is not the case. At times, the smart thing to do is to tell a client no. It may be because another resource is better to handle the request. Or it may be because the request is flat out impossible. In the long run clients will respect you more if you are honest and able to give them bad news or even tell them no if it’s warranted.
- They can’t have good, fast, and cheap – they have to pick two of the three, but can’t have all three at once. Be sure to explain this concept as soon as it’s looking like they are asking for good, fast, and cheap.
- Don’t make promises without checking with creative – you would think this would be obvious, but it happens a lot. The client wants changes and the AE agrees to another round without additional budget or time. You are better off not making any promises until you check with the team. You can always get back to the client with the new plan.
- There will always be 20% of the population who don’t like what you do – so don’t overreact when one person calls or writes in with a negative comment about the new campaign. Not everyone will like it. The important thing is that the target audience reacts positively and the campaign goals are met.
Now that you know more about how creatives view your relationship and your role, it’s up to you to apply this knowledge. Once you do, you’ll find that you’ll be the AE that creatives want to work with. And you’ll be the AE that creatives love to love.
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