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A deadline isn’t a target.

A deadline isn’t a target.

Creative people are legendary when it comes to doing things last minute. It’s something about the rush, the adrenalin of running out of time that pushes the creative species into action and gets down to work. It’s the moment when procrastination simply can no longer happen. Or when the deadline isn’t some abstract date in the distance.
But a deadline isn’t a target. And it shouldn’t be.

We all need the creative maturity to set our own targets and become disciplined enough to hit those. And, well, a target can be hours or days before the deadline.

Why do we miss deadlines? We fall victim to planning fallacy – a built-in optimism all humans have that underestimate how long it will take to complete a task. We plan things in perfect order, thinking everything will go according to plan. But in life, and especially in a creative agency, a plan is not something great work goes according to. So when planning, plan for double or triple the time you think you need. And hey, it never hurt anyone to miss a deadline on the right side.

Happiness is a collective effort.

Happiness is a collective effort.

Years ago, Zig Ziglar said, “You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.” When he said it, it was probably a hunch or some nice thing to say. Recently, however, an author named Shawn Achor, in his new book Big Potential, proves it.
We have been led to believe that happiness, gratitude, motivation and even despair or depression are individual. Or in a sense, in our own control. But Big Potential’s research, thanks to the big data available now, has proven that happiness is a collective effort and directly affected by those around us. One of the research pieces asked people to climb a steep hill and at the bottom, to guess the gradient of the hill they were about to climb. People on their own guessed the gradient to be 20-25% worse than someone who had a close friend they were going to climb the hill with. The reason is not that we feel better because we have a supporter, but because we feel less burdened if we change the focus from “the weight of the problem is on my shoulders” to “how am I going to help that person achieve it”. The act of helping someone else through the same pain, drastically lowers our own perceived burden of that pain.
As a separate example, we are certain you all have friends/family that when you are around them they make you funnier, more relaxed, more enjoyable or more confident.

So, what does this mean? It means we all need to BE the people that make others feel better about themselves because it is proven to contribute towards eliminating our own stress/problems while heightening their ability to be more creative, productive and confident. As a result, you’ll act with more gratitude and actively lift others up, which further benefits YOU. The collective pursuit of a common success is now known to lift people out of stress and even depression and mostly, makes individuals happier, more content to live and work with a greater sense of gratitude.

We no longer have our own creativity, intelligence or happiness score. We are massively affected by those around us and because we ARE those people around others, we have much greater power than ever thought before in terms of driving the happiness, gratitude and success of our team and our work.

There is a difference between work that’s impossible to avoid and work that is impossible to ignore.

There is a difference between work that’s impossible to avoid and work that is impossible to ignore.

We think this alone says it all. But media planners, digital marketers and remarketers all sell clients on strategies that try to make work that’s impossible to avoid. It’s called reach. Or awareness. The best agencies create work that is impossible to ignore. The work is distinct, insightful, noticed. Be the latter.

Brand purpose.

Brand purpose.

For every brand in a case study that achieved success because of brand purpose, there are 50 that achieved success without it. While marketers and strategists love buzzwords, trends and new, “cutting edge” tactics to grow brands, sometimes they’re just making shit up and there is absolutely no plausible or reliable data to back it up. We, personally, have been guilty of this in the past. Brand purpose is one of those bullshit philosophies that simply has no science behind it but looks great in a pitch presentation. Again, the number 1 rule is, how to make a brand get noticed. If purpose is the one thing that will get it noticed then great. But the idea behind the purpose is much more important than the purpose itself. It still needs to be original and relevant to get noticed.

Dove Run like a Girl, Dove Real Beauty Sketches, Toms one pair of shoes to the needy, and G-Star recycled plastic denim are all great ideas that made people believe purpose works. But they’re all great, original and RELEVANT ideas first, purpose second.

Only the best is good enough.

Only the best is good enough.

This quote is the internal philosophy of Lego and the standard they hold themselves to. It comes from the “Lego House – home of the brick” documentary on Netflix and it is an absolute must see. The business is built on incredible fundamentals that all of us should strive for; creativity, innovation, play, design, and more than anything, their incredible ability to execute and make magic happen. One specific quote that stuck out was, “If you have the right people, if you have the right idea, the results will come.” Add that to the belief that “Only the best is good enough” and you have a winning formula.

Don’t do it 2 days in a row.

Don’t do it 2 days in a row.

‘Don’t do it two days in a row’. Ate poorly? That’s ok, don’t do it two days in a row. Didn’t exercise? That’s ok, don’t do it two days in a row. Didn’t have a great day at work? That’s ok, don’t do it two days in a row. Bad mood? Slept badly? Didn’t read that thing you wanted to read? Didn’t get to that proactive idea you really want to do? Didn’t mail a client? That’s ok, don’t do it two days in a row.

Outcomes Focused!

Outcomes Focused!

It’s so easy to get caught up in being busy rather than focusing on the outcome. But by focusing on the big picture, we change menial tasks that have no material affect and feel like a chore and, when framed in the context of the outcome, seems critical and something we want to get done. Focus on the big picture. Focus on changing an industry, creating a magic piece of work, or making a brand famous.

Miscommunication is always a two-way street.

Miscommunication is always a two-way street.

It’s easy to assume someone isn’t listening or feel like you’re not being heard. It’s also easy to misunderstand what someone else is saying.  We have done both, regularly. But, in moments of miscommunication, it’s important to remember that not everyone has the same communication style or frames of reference. Be patient and uncover ways to express yourself clearly.

Solving problems.

Solving Problems.

As human beings we instinctively try avoid problems instead of actively pursuing them. But the best businesses, not just agencies, are the best at actively identifying and solving problems. They’re also the best at defining them.

 

If we understand the problems we must solve, and communicate them effectively, we can lead each other in the right directions. If we’re spending time ignoring them or sweeping them under the rug, we may end up under one too. Problems range from small everyday things (I am feeling unmotivated, I have writer’s block, this process isn’t working, we may not have enough billings next month) to big client problems that they essentially pay us to solve for them. As a creative agency, our ability to solve problems in new and unexpected ways is what sets us apart. But that cannot happen if we’re never making it a priority to identify them, talk about them, offer solutions and solve them better than other businesses do. Simply identifying problems isn’t enough, if we don’t actively solve them together. But realising that they do exist and being okay with talking about them, is the most formidable battle you can win in the overall war.

 

For us, a bad brief is, “We have this product, nothing is good about it, please find more customers for it” or “We are doing this because we think we should”. A good creative brief is one that articulates the problem we’re trying to solve for the client, “This product isn’t working, how can we improve it for customer segment x, y and z”. A great creative brief is one that articulates a problem we are trying to, or can, solve for the customer. That’s where insights and human truths come in.

The truth exists.

The truth exists.

A young boy was watching his grandfather carve an animal out of a piece of wood. The grandfather finally finished and presented a buffalo to his grandson. The young boy looked at his grandfather and said “how did you know there was a buffalo in there”?

With each creative problem, it’s a bit like the buffalo in the wood. You have to believe it’s in there and keep stripping away the layers until it presents itself. That’s called an idea. Sometimes, we stop before the idea fully presents itself. The challenge is to keep carving.