Stop waiting to create great work

123w's Scot Keith on why creatives need to step out of the "not my job" box.


By Scot Keith

You’re a creative person sitting at your desk just waiting. Waiting for that perfect project or brief that has got to come soon. You’ve been working hard, doing some pretty good work. You’ve won the odd award here and there and you just know that once you get your big opportunity, you’re going to create something absolutely amazing.

Here’s the truth. It may never happen. If it does, you just got lucky and you can’t build an entire career relying on luck. You’re more likely to get bad luck with this approach. You might think that you’re doing all you can to do great work, but the final barrier is actually you. It’s time to start creating opportunities versus waiting for them.

This will require you to get out of the office and be proactive in building a great business relationship with your clients. Stop thinking that it’s the account person’s job. If you want to be great, it’s your job too. If your account person and/or agency doesn’t want you to have a strong relationship with your clients, well then unfortunately you’re working with idiots.

To work more directly with your clients, you don’t have to be a creepy networker. You just have to be a genuine person who wants to learn more about them and their business. It’s really that simple. If you have a client that’s got a new boss and is a bit worried about their job, then you know that they need to do something that’s going to work hard for them and help their career. You then work with them and help them out and the good people will never forget what you did for them. Another client may be at that perfect moment in time where they’re just ready to push through something amazing.

Great concepts don’t ever sell themselves. Some creative people get almost squeamish when you talk to them about selling an idea. It’s almost like they don’t want it to look like they’re trying too hard. That’s nuts. You’re in the business of selling ideas. What the heck are you even doing in this industry if you’re not going to go to do whatever it takes to sell great work? To the people who want to sell their work hard, you’ve got to really plan out the creative presentation. Go the extra mile on setting up the work that you already agree on at the briefing stage. Everything should be presented in a way that is a logical solution to the business problem. Just remember though that you should never have too much style over substance. The work should be king. Don’t do a bunch of gimmicks. It’s got to be a means to an end to sell the work.

One of the challenges in our business is that many of us were trained to have a departmental mentality. Creative people make the work. Media people plan and buy the media. Account people manage the account with the clients, and so on. Many agencies still have departmental lunches, parties and retreats. It creates division and a “not my job” way of thinking.

The best people and companies have moved past that small way of thinking. It’s now about pure collaboration and working together to make something great. So go out there and be proactive with your clients on their business to make something amazing happen. Everyone will benefit from it. Especially you.

ScotKeithScot Keith is a co-founder and president/CEO of One Twenty Three West (123w) 

Feature image courtesy of Shutterstock