How do ad agencies harness the stormy but illuminating forces of creativity and gain the competitive edge they need to help themselves and their clients succeed?
Creativity does not happen in a consistent timeline, a process does. Creativity also needs madness and a fair bit of chaos. Process is all about control. One of the strangest phrases in the English language is ‘the creative process.’ In essence, they are opposing forces. Control and chaos.
A great agency has the ability to harness both of these qualities. This balance lets ideas live a little longer. It is an alchemy that creates a measured madness. They make a space for insanity and instill an unyielding understanding for why discipline is required.
I believe that the successful agencies of the future have to be more challenging to their clients. They’ve got to be the ones that stand up to their clients and say, this is the nature of your problem, this is the nature of your risk profile for this brand, these are the threats that you’re under, and therefore this is what you have to do. But if you do not want to do that, if you want to go down a risk-averse approach, we will not be accountable for the results of this because of the condition you impose on us. So there is a future for agencies that are brave.
It’s an interesting balance to seek. Agencies need to be buttoned up enough to be the dispassionate deliverers of hard business truths. At the same time, agencies (that creative people want to work for) need to be loose enough to allow for the growth of a real creative culture.
Ultimately, every creative firm finds their own rhythm and their own path to profitability. Personally, I’m not a fan of chaos, open offices, or pampering creative staff. The best advertising, like great works of art, are made by people who show up and do the work. You don’t wait for lighting to strike. You are the lighting.