Disrupting your creative team is a detriment to their productivity. You may not want to believe it, but it’s true. The agency ecosystem is rife with meetings, some days are spent almost entirely in meetings. Meetings are not the only black hole. There are the armies of account service personnel, project managers and producers who pop in and ask; Got a minute?

It’s rarely a minute and when you add them all up, along with the frequency, you end up with a creative team that is utterly distracted and not able to focus on the ideas.

It’s true that it is essential that the creative team be kept in the loop, but it is equally essential that they be left alone. No fly zones need to be created, respected, and enforced.

When developing creative ideas, it is not only important to generate lots of ideas, but also just as important to separate the wheat from the chaff and this takes time and hard thinking. Analyzing an idea from multiple directions, turning it over, mulling it, challenging its integrity, finding the weak spots, and shoring them up if possible, or relegating it to the dust bin is serious work.

Every interruption that pulls minds from creative thought is a derailment of progress. This is not just my opinion; it has been well studied. The constant interruptions are one reason creative teams tend to work late into the night, it is one of the rare moments when there is peace in the house.

Protected thinking time does not automatically trigger clever work, but it does mean that you understand and respect the process. Creative workers who feel their time is respected will work more effectively and will work even harder to solve the day’s challenge.

 

The world will never be less chaotic than it is right now. That is so say, the complexity of life will continue to challenge us. In the presence of ever-expanding complexity, how do we get our story through the noise? How best to communicate our ideas?

A singularity of vision with a concise understanding of the problem solved is essential. The story must be equally comprehensible and told with economy.

The creativity is then free to become inventive. Creativity is the liberator of strategy.

Creativity has an obligation to deliver the idea fully rendered in the heart and mind of the audience. Clarity is actionable.

Complexity defeats clarity in the execution. The best creative talents understand this and labor to create clarity in their ideas and executions.

Visual clarity and written clarity combined to create conceptual clarity. The dual compliment.

Over written, over directed, over acted, over designed executions are warning signs. Perhaps the idea is weak and there is an attempt to prop it up. Or the creative team is letting their egos get in the way.

Maybe they lack the experience to know better.

Simplicity is recompense for years of effort.

The problem with the word no is figuring out where it’s coming from.

Turning no into yes is often a cat and mouse game with the marketing team. You might have 10 clients on a single brand with a claim to input and by the time you’re done, your big idea might not be so big and your enthusiasm may certainly have waned. Your idea finally gets moved upstairs with the warm endorsement of a semi-aligned brand team. Sound familiar?

If this is a regular routine, and when you look yourself in the mirror, with absolutely no self-aggrandizing bullshit you can say, without equivocation, that this is your best work and that the big idea for the brand has been pillaged to death, you’ve enter the club of no authority. The club of no authority, wields the only axe they are authorized to carry.

Have you noticed that decision making around big ideas by marketing teams is often a chess match.

They cannot give you a yes, because yes is not in the room. When the idea finally climbs the last flight of stairs and enters the corner office, it may not get that yes because it’s been watered down. The corner office thinks and behaves differently.

The corner office is not worried about the corner office.

The corner office wants the big idea to be truly big and liberating. The corner office wants your expertise above all else.

This is your moment.

Do everything in your power to be in that room and have your original iteration of the idea at hand. If the idea starts to take a dive offer the alternative solution, one of your originals. If it achieves yes, immediately give credit to the marketing team for pushing you to no end.

If it all falls flat, accept responsibility and start asking a lot of questions, get the corner office in on the dialogue. Show your humility in the face of their expertise, work to an insight, listen intently, walk out armed, tell them you’ll be back in 48 hours, ready to deliver a yes.

All client companies have their rules of engagement and most of the time you will be bound by these rules and the culture that defines them.

Work towards a unified C suite presentation with your client team. Ask them about a plan and make it together.  Your clients will appreciate this effort more than you realize. After all, a resounding yes benefits everyone.

In April Team Brandforming was on location in Florence Italy at the incredible Belmond, Villa San Michele, shooting our campaign for Monvieve.

Monvieve is a haute couture Italian Fashion Brand. Monvieve designs and handcrafts bespoke bridal veils in Italy. Each veil is a unique work of art, as fine and beautiful as you can imagine. Our client, is Alison Miller, the creative director, owner and driving force of Monvieve.

Villa San Michele dates from the 15th century, the Villa’s facade is attributed to Michelangelo. Step inside and you experience the ethereal beauty and solitude of a Renaissance monastery that is as much a part of Italy’s culture as her great cathedrals. Grazie’ a lei Clio Cicuto and the entire team at Villa San Michele.

For those who know me personally, you will immediately grasp the joy in this moment, a lover of art, art history and nearly all things Italian.  

To work with another Italian luxury brand such as Monvieve and to shoot in Florence, puts this gig on the top of my list of great experiences. Our photographer, Massimiliano Botticelli and his all star team did an amazing job. They flawlessly executed a long and intense day of shooting. His team hit every mark in our production schedule to take best advantage of the glorious natural light. Max did not stop until the sun was gone from the sky. Grazie’ a lei Max!

Composing images for our campaign #MonvieveMoments against a backdrop designed by Michelangelo was the culmination of a tremendous amount of work by our client. Team Brandforming was thrilled to play our part in bringing the story to life. It takes years of dedicated focus and talent to succeed in the fashion industry and Alison is on her way to her next great success.

Defining Moments is what Monvieve is all about and it is exactly what is achieved whenever a woman steps into a Monvieve product. It is a transformative moment, a defining moment, a #MonvieveMoments

Check out some of our production stills up on the Monvieve Facebook page. Follow Monvieve on Instagram. Please remember, it’s nice to share.

I took this picture of two espresso cups at one of our infamous creative rave sessions, this  time we were in Miami cooking up some big ideas for a global healthcare brand. Espresso is a hot commodity at these sessions. We often go at ideation for days on end. Our energy stores can run low while we fill the room high with ideas. An afternoon espresso or two have been known to shake loose the cob webs.

Ideas are not usually far behind. In Cafe veritas.

And my cafe of choice, if given the choice is Sant’Eustachio il Caffè 

If only every creative session could be held at 82, 00186 Roma RM, Italy

Basta