Entrepreneurs, the new creative directors?

To follow the logic flow of most people, talking about utility, advertising as a service, making money from advertising content…

Who should be responsible for that?

Doing a brand utility almost means creating a new business model every time.

No fancy execution here, just a gut feeling for what might interest people and how to fill that gap.

So if, as advertising agencies, we want to follow that trend, do we need to hire a new breed of creative? The ones who have a entrepreneurial instinct more than a traditional creative flair? Are the two dinstictive? Can they work together?

How do we recreate other Nike+ for our clients? Who do you give the brief to in a typical ad agency?

As free is now becoming a standard, it means that we have to raise the bar in term of any ouput we are creating. Just because you write a book and give it away for free doesn’t mean people will want it. Just because you create a movie and show it for free doesn’t mean people will want to spend their time watching it. A new application will compete with other people making money out of building them. You get the idea.

It means the content, advertising, utitilies we create have to compete with the best of what’s out there, which totally changes the competitive landscape. From other advertising agencies to movie studios, book publishers, Internet start-ups, design agencies and every one out there trying to get a slice of the market you want to tap into. And it’s a completely different game.

So who has the skills to do that? Who can find potential for new branded utlities, content, etc. our audience will want to engage with?

Do we need to recognise that trend and hire new people in with new skills or do we just need to partner with the right type of specialists?

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  1. May 8, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    I think the issue is that the entrepreneurs have been leaving advertising rather than them being the new shining light.

    I’ve said it many times before, but this industry was built on some people making things happen [for clients and consumers[ rather than just focusing on one-directional communication … and with all the advancements in technology and research – it saddens me that in most cases, there is but a fraction of the clever thinking that went on in past generations.

    For me – and I know I’m biased having worked there – but the last comms company who truly had ingenuity at its core was HHCL because for all the new and great shops that are out there, they still are not consistently achieving the breadth, depth or scale as that company did for years – with the exception of IDEO who are a different sort of company but the true entrepreneurs of this industry.

  2. May 8, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    creatives have to be better business people. not just for the reasons you detail here. agree, entrepreneurialism is a great way to describe ‘business creativity’.
    clients trust business partners more than they do creative people trying to sell communications ideas. having a solid business grounding can only help build the trust needed to arrive at and produce great work.
    also, the companies run by creative people inevitably do the most interesting work. the more of that there is, the better for everybody.

  3. JacobW
    May 12, 2008 at 7:50 am

    I dunno – I’d like to draw an analogy with one of your earlier posts – the one about how it doesn’t work to back-rationalise from viral success to a general process.

    Ideas like Nike+ are interesting because of their breakthrough nature, surely it’s unreasonable and unrealistic to expect all ideas to be like this. 90% of our job is turd-polishing and always will be…

  4. Digicynic
    May 12, 2008 at 8:28 am

    I remember reading some sort of Manifesto from HHCL that dated back from 2000 I think and being really amased at how freshed and modern it was. And when you look at the work they produced it is nothing but excellent, specially in today’s standards.
    Here I was thinking more about having another kind of creative, as we call people responsible for the final product, a kind with a foot in business as well as creative, to be able to deliver the new kind of output that is needed for modern campaigns.

    I wasn’t talking about creating virals, but just making sure we have people with different skills to create different ouputs. Doesn’t always make sense to ask a traditionnal creative team for a branded utility or a Nike+.

    I want my job to be 90% about inspiring creativity and great ideas, not turd-polishing, even though I agree it’s not always easy. Otherwise I might just work in a bank, at least I’ll get a decent salary ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. JacobW
    May 12, 2008 at 11:17 am

    I’m optimistic about turd-polishing though, because it’s 90% of what all agencies do (including HHCL, cos I worked there too) but if you play your cards right you don’t have to be the one doing it!

  6. JacobW
    May 12, 2008 at 11:18 am

    …which when you think about it is exactly why ‘engagement planning’ is a great department to work in (in our office anyhow)

  7. Digicynic
    May 12, 2008 at 11:19 am

    That’s more like it!
    Thought you were having a bad day.
    Funny you worked at HHCL.
    I’m still trying to figure out how such a great agency has just disappeared.

  8. May 12, 2008 at 11:35 pm

    I always regarded HHCL like my beloved Nottingham Forest – for a while there it was truly special for a multitude of reasons … a strong and diverse management team who all had one a single vision but different skills to get there … a bunch of hungry talented people who were made even better by the leadership of these visionaries [some more than others] … a creative culture that was not embracing the change in the air … and clients wanting commercial creativity not commercial art … then once all the accolades were won, the ‘trappings’ changed peoples attitudes, belief and focus and it all started to go wrong before it buggered up in a heap.

    But as my beloved footie team just got promoted, I hope something will rise from the ashes in adland because unlike Jacob, I don’t think everything HHCL [or 90%] did was post rationalised – some was absolutely with intent – and as good as they are, Mother and CP+B just aren’t at the same level of ingenuinty and drive yet. And I’ve worked at both those places so I feel I can pass judgement – even though they’re miles ahead of most other agencies.

    Adland needs another HHCL not for it’s own ego, but for it’s future but this does show how BBH should be applauded because they’ve managed to keep [most of] their vision and ’cause’ when so many around them surrendered to the seduction of money, drugs, booze ego or arrogance!

    What a totally pointless comment, sorry matey … jetlag. Again.

  9. Digicynic
    May 13, 2008 at 8:46 am

    Not pointless at all. Very interesting actually.
    Makes quite a lot of sense. Even though St Lukes hasn’t disappeared, it certainly suffered from some of that.
    I saw Gwyn in the lift last week, he is looking forward to your visit. So I am btw ๐Ÿ˜‰

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