Are You Scared Yet?
Bloody, bruised, and battered. Generally, these adjectives make more sense for a matador stepping out of a recent bullfight. Or an adrenaline junkie walking off from a big air competition. But very rarely are these words used to describe a creative team coming out of a big project or campaign.
As any digital marketing agency knows, the creative process can be extremely difficult. And at times, even draining. Broken shoulder and shattered ribs aside, we imagine this is how an extreme sports competitor feels after taking a 40-foot drop onto plywood. Your mentality takes a toll, whether it’s launching yourself into the air or launching yourself into an inventive internet marketing idea.
The fact of the matter is mentally committing yourself to something significant is like licking a frozen pole. It’s all fun and games until you have to separate yourself from it. While failure might be more difficult to digest, success and finalization can be too.
Perfection is a Disease
At the end of a project, whether it consists of b2c marketing or any other branding strategy, it is hard to separate yourself from what you’ve done. You may have spent countless hours on the project. Sleepless nights, waking up with your face in your sketchbook. But still, in the back of your head, you might be haunted by what you could have done better.
It’s like a child you’ve raised your entire life, and now you’re sending them off to the world to see how they fare. An inspiring and proud moment, but also a slightly fearsome and worrying moment. Will they be as successful as you know they can be? Will they make the right impressions? Will they eat their vegetables and wash their socks???
Maybe, maybe not. All we can do as a brand strategy consultant is give our blood, sweat, and tears into the conception phase and hope it does what we intended. However, this is harder than it sounds. A lot of creative strategists are unable to let go of their projects, and let it continue weighing them down even after kayaking off that 20-foot waterfall and finishing that project. As a result, this impacts all the work they do after that as their mind is still preoccupied with the past.
This is a hurdle that a lot of people have trouble getting over. But one, that if you can master, will be extremely beneficial.
Another quite difficult hurdle to overcome in advertising is being able to separate yourself from your creative marketing ideas. After investing time, energy, and emotion into work, it becomes very personal. As a result, it becomes harder to see past it and recognize better ideas or suggestions as they emerge.
The best creative strategists in the industry are able to separate themselves from their ideas at the flip of a switch. And can return to the idea with the same amount of passion and vigor with the same speed as well. Being able to turn your personal involvement on and off like this is an extremely under-appreciated tool in advertising. One that will separate good leaders from bad.
Another issue with emotions and advertising is percieving work based on the person who did it. Some creative directors go as far as looking at work without names, to prevent any unconscious bias from arising. The fact of the matter is that, as humans, we have a tendency to judge work depending on who it originated from.
Creative and brainstorming workspaces are not for the faint of heart. As we said, people leave these scenarios, bloody, bruised and battered. Emotions flare up. People disagree with one another. They argue. Sware. Yell. Cry. Laugh. Piss themselves. It’s a war in there. But it’s all a part of the creative process.
If you can’t handle it, GTFO.