Creatives: Treat Yourself Like a Client


May 17, 2012 - by Mike Fennessy
Creatives: Treat Yourself Like a Client

For any creative company there comes a time when we are doing work for ourselves. Be it branding, advertising or the ever changing digital landscape. But one thing that never seems to change, is the excitement of working on creative for ourselves. Before long, that feeling of excitement gives way to frustration, as inevitably one of two things tend to happen – our own projects get put on a back burner for paying client work or we become so overly critical, so obsessed with perfection, that the process becomes a chore.

But there’s a solution: We need to treat ourselves like a client.

I know what you’re thinking – easier said than done. And you’re not wrong. It takes determination, self-control and of course, respect for the creative process. As creatives, we are constantly telling our clients that good ideas take time, but how do we fare when the client hat is our own? When we launched i.d.e.a. back in March, we had two agencies worth of clients with active projects, so it was the perfect opportunity to test ourselves and our process:

Stick to the Schedule

It seems so simple, but just like real clients, locking down decision makers for creative reviews can be like herding cats, even within the same company. That said, we’d never start a client project without setting milestones – and meeting them – and it's no different here.

Stay within Scope

As creatives, it's our nature to constantly refine our ideas, and over-thinking our own work can be all too easy. This is the first place that self-control comes into play. Over servicing our own work may seem trivial, but there is a cost attached even if its not as clear as it is with regular clients.

Allways Matter

That isn’t a typo. This is our own internal mantra, but I’m sure you have your own (you do, right?). Getting the right messaging in the right executions in all the right places. Digital, traditional, social and PR. We’re a creative shop, so we have to walk the walk. This is the core of what we do, and this is the bit that we’re all being graded on. If we don’t execute appropriately on our own creative, how can we expect our clients to trust us and continue to believe in the value we bring to their brands?

So you ask, how did we fare, treating ourselves as a client? The proof is in the work, and I think it shows a positive experience. All the teams were aligned and executed flawlessly across a wide array of spaces. We launched a new brand identity and a new website, alongside a blog and a half dozen social spaces in just about two months’ time.

Looking back it seemed almost effortless, and that, to me is a good indicator that we’re getting things right. As with all things creative, time will tell.


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