Creative Opportunity #50: How to be a friend to creative people

“Our creative team and marketing team sometimes don’t get along.”

Does your organization suffer from unhappiness between the team providing creative assignments (let’s call them marketing) and the team charged with fulfilling those creative assignments (let’s call them creatives)?

Is there sometimes rancor between these groups? Tension? Open warfare?

Well, you’ve come to the right place.

In my too-many-years of doing this, I have found that each side – marketing and creative – sometimes has perspectives of each other than are not healthy. And not solved by a “can’t-we-all-just-get-along?” discussion or team-building exercises. It’s more fundamental and starts with the issue that marketing people create assignments and enforce deadlines that creative people must fulfill.

But I think that’s not the main source of antipathy. I think it’s the lack of good strategic direction from the marketing team. It comes from assignments when the creative team has to figure everything out about the direction, and then do the creative. And that drives a feeling among the creative team that the marketing people aren’t doing their job – “They want all this work by Tuesday and they give us this crappy direction,” might say a creative person. And then, if the work is “off,” it’s the responsibility of the creative people to “correct” it, when it might have been right the first time if the direction had been better.

That lack of good direction creates a sense that the teams are not in this together. That the creative people are doing “all the work.” And that feeling sometimes turns into friction between the groups. I’d be a little cranky, too.

Ok, now what to do? How about better direction? How about a Creative Brief that is rooted in strategic direction instead of the size of the ad and when it’s due? And some training for the marketing team? I think you see where this is going?

I’m not a doctor, but I’ve seen the benefit of a great Creative Brief. As Jeremy Bullmore, the creative legend of J. Walter Thompson is supposed to have said – “Give me the freedom of a well-crafted Creative Brief.” Want to be a friend to creatives? Want better work? Want to make your life easier? Take a workshop and call me in the morning.

Create opportunities for better creative. Go to Get Better Creative and learn about the workshop where, in one day, your team will become marketing communications rock stars. Talk with Dave Hamel, Principal of Get Better Creative and lead of the American Marketing Association’s “Successfully Managing the Creative Process” about getting better creative: 312.623.5567