How to act like an established creative studio even though we're not?
September 21, 2017 3:43 PM   Subscribe

Apart from working inside an agency to learn its inner-workings, is there a resource where one can learn more about these things? Things like documents (contracts, creative briefs, price points, ...), processes, and strategies? How are these learned when one has limited experience working in another company?

Successful creative studios have a legal team, project managers, account managers, in-house creatives, outsource creatives, web developers, ... etc. They have specific processes in place that guide the project from the first email to launch day, and they have specific ways of determining scope and pricing, as well as initiating brand and digital strategies. Seeing as we are a a small studio with very modest means but pretty talented creative individuals and limited access to a lawyer, how can we project an image of success business and process-wise to match the quality of our creative work?
posted by omar.a to Work & Money (7 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
This is a problem faced by every new business.

How are processes learnt when one has limited experience of working in another company? My first answer to that would be "the hard way". Without experience you can fall into every business pitfall imaginable. Two remedies to this a) hire experienced employees with business savvy b) try to develop an alliance of some sort with an non-competing experienced firm. They will have more miles on the clock so to speak and can guide you on what best to do when your business encounters x, y or z problem.

You can project an image of success by using case studies i.e. adopting a storytelling approach illustrating a successful campaign which your company worked on. This can be backed up by testimonials from the client (written or video-style).

Finally, don't try to project the image of being a big firm when you're not. Clients will see through it very quickly. Focus on doing your best work possible.
posted by jacobean at 4:17 PM on September 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

1. Industry blogs. There is a surprising amount of information sharing of what was formerly considered trade secrets.

2. Trade shows. Get to know your competitors, possible collaborators, and see how others are accomplishing these things.

3. Industry organizations and events. You'll likely get to listen to a panel discussion or a keynote speaker who is well placed in the industry give specific advice. Get involved with your community here. The connections you make here can be incredibly valuable.

4. Have a lawyer draw up a boilerplate contract you can modify to fit each job.

5. Good branding and marketing is key. Find your niche, don't try to be all things for all people - that way lies madness.

6. Hire a business developer with experience in your field. Pricey but worth the cost, as it may be the difference between success and failure.
posted by ananci at 4:32 PM on September 21, 2017

Response by poster: @jacobean
Thank you for your reply. I am not trying to project an image of being a big firm, just one that knows what it is doing. We have come a long way--for example we do project proposals and have basic contracts that we've slowly improved over the years, but we have been stagnating for the past two years and don't seem to make much progress. I just want to know how one can improve the business (paperwork and processes) even more and find a way to do it the way the smaller successful studios do it.
posted by omar.a at 4:34 PM on September 21, 2017

Response by poster: @ananci
That business developer idea is so simple yet so crucial given that we aren't making much headway ourselves.. thanks for all the other suggestions!
posted by omar.a at 4:43 PM on September 21, 2017

'How to be a graphic designer without losing your soul' helped me, but still learning big things daily. I'm a strong believer in bootstrapping into more difficult work, using safe meetings to test ideas, and then take it to the next level where you're more visible.
posted by unearthed at 5:09 PM on September 21, 2017

Response by poster: @unearthed
I just saw some excerpts from the book and it is just what I need, thanks!
posted by omar.a at 5:33 PM on September 21, 2017

Hire a seasoned Digital Producer, who has industry contacts, for at least on a consultancy/freelance basis. They can handle scoping, contracts, pricing, etc.

For creative briefs, there are many generic templates on the internet. Hack at will, as the need arises!

My favorite and simplest is called "GET TO BY."

Basically it's:

GET [millenial dads]
TO [become aware of the secondary uses of sour cream]
BY [educating that it's great as a substitute in cakes]

... or whatever your challenge is.

But that's only one example! Here's one we used at Ogilvy. Just Google away and see what sticks!

(Edit: ha, I jus noticed that link is a guy using the brief template to actually get a job at Ogilvy. Ignore the content, but yes. That's the Ogilvy brief. Too cute by half, whoever that guy Chester is.)
posted by functionequalsform at 6:57 PM on September 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

« Older Unintentionally Anonymous Madonna Mocker Sought   |   A way to find all the movies that got a certain... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.