When it comes to marketing and advertising agencies, it’s important to have the creative individuals at the top of the org chart.
There are too many instances in larger marketing firms where the “creatives” are expected to come up with dynamic ideas only after receiving direction from multiple levels of “higher-ups” (who many be dynamic businesspeople, but lack in right-brained creativity) and their interpretation of what they think the client wants.
I may be dating myself here, but perhaps you remember the old game of “telephone,” where one person in a group whispers a message to the next person, and the message gets passed down the line through a whole group of people. It’s amazing how that message can change from the original recipient to the end receiver. The initial message of “Four score and seven years ago…” can end up being “Your core and server ego.” Talk about “lost in translation.”
Let’s apply that same “telephone” philosophy to a large agency scenario in which a corporate client has a rebranding campaign need. In this situation, the conversation with a large firm would be:
A meeting is set up between the client and the senior account executive and a C-level representative on the agency side.
The account exec and C-level rep come back to the agency and relay their interpretation of what the client needs to the creative director.
The creative director passes the information to the account manager.
The account manager conveys the information to the art director.
The art director outlines the need to the creatives—the content writers and graphic designers.
The creatives come up with their rendition of what the client needs, relative to what they have been told by multiple people other than the actual client.
As you can see, the original desires the client outlined get reiterated through so many people who may hear the original message differently, by the time it gets to the creative individuals who are actually producing the work, they have a convoluted, misdirected idea of what the client is actually asking for.
In a successful boutique marketing agency, the president/CEO possesses equal right-brained creativity and left-brained business acumen to be able to not only understand a client’s marketing needs from an ROI perspective, but also can offer fresh, innovative perspectives from the get-go.
Here is the same “telephone game” process using a boutique marketing firm:
A meeting is set up between the client and the president of the agency, as well as the account exec and one or two members of the design team.
The group comes back to the agency for a brainstorm session with the rest of the creative team, bouncing ideas off each other with respect to what the initial group heard from the client.
The same team who originally met with the client presents different concepts and ideas to the client to make sure their initial message and intent wasn’t lost in interpretation, before moving forward with developing said rebranding.
Bottom line, client intent and desires can get lost within the hierarchy of large agency management who might not lean toward the creative side. Chances are, a boutique firm can hit the client’s “target” much faster and more effectively, because the small, close-knit team on the project has all heard the same message and has interpreted it with creativity and smart design.