Makin’ creative

We were a company of 12 at one time, and now we’re down to three, along with a team of brilliant freelancers who are at the ready. This is by my design. But every Monday morning, I look around and wonder …where’d I put that creative, anyway?

Big agencies have big teams to develop big ideas for big clients. But it’s all relative. Our small clients have much at stake: keep the doors open, sell stuff, make payroll, stay in business…just like “big” clients.  And, they expect us to deliver a solid message that brings warm bodies through the door. Maybe our role is even more vital since these small companies depend on repeat, long term customers. They battle Super-WalMart and other Big Box Stores daily. Small businesses look for their niche and a way to survive. They look to us to make their message meaningful and effective.

Example: I have a mom and pop furniture store who is open only one night a week, closed on Wednesday and Sunday, (yeah, I said closed Wednesday) and open only 8am-5pm the other days.  Yet, in spite of the way they force customers to conform to the way they do business, and with all the Big Box competition they have, they’ re still the ones to beat.  I must be a genius.

When you’re as small as we are, time is the valuable commodity. There’s not a lot of time to bounce ideas, experiment a little, write, re-write and re-write again…not a lot of time to savor the process of making the work. While I get bored and frustrated with that one (long-time) client who wants the same “show and tell”  TV, it works.

I got into the business over 27 years ago because of the creative process. I love being a real part of video projects, touching the many different aspects of making the work. But the “give and take”, “lets try this and if it doesn’t work lets try something else” days are long gone. In order to survive, we must churn out “new and different” as best we can because even in a small town, clients expect your best effort.

We’re open, but not on Wednesday or Sunday.

Only in Hooterville.

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2 Responses to “Makin’ creative”

  1. Andy Says:

    Man, if ever there was an in-focus snapshot of what it is to be a small agency, this is it.

    If it rhymed, it would be a poem.

  2. Bruce McTague Says:

    i chuckled. larger agencies waste so much time trying to create and ‘sell’ this infamous Big Idea only to find that they have to carve it up into little insightful ideas to make it relevant to the multiple constituents they are trying to communicate it to. what good smaller agencies do is recognize the beauty i that little insightful idea (that works) and have a good eye for “is it expandable to bigness” should that small client get lucky to grow.

    i wrote something once when i was talking with a large global retail organization. i said all the other agencies would try and sell them a ‘big global idea’ to create consistency within the somewhat fragmented agency. i told them to shove all those in a drawer. the way to approach it was to build local to national. build all the little pieces and then find the commonality that binds them (that is actually the big idea). why? because that insures no matter what happens to the “big national budget” the local business will always have the idea that keeps its doors open (and the infamous brand doesn’t get hurt in the long run as the little pieces chug along all on their own for awhile).

    my 2 cents. ok. cent and a half.

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