It is no secret that as a business of commercial arts, we are only good as the quality of our talent force and that it is the collective creative intelligence of the unit at play (which is visible through the work, the voice and the culture of the agency) that makes one better than the other. The challenge however for every creative company in the 21st century is - How do they configure a platform that acts as a magnetic field for diverse talent to come together and do the best work of their life.
While there is no specific singular answer, solution or framework to manage churn as there are multiple variables at play at every given point, however, it is an imperative for agencies to continuously zoom in and zoom out, take stock of the fast changing cultural landscape of the new economy and sketch themselves around it in a way that adds to their magnetism but definitely not at the cost of losing their soul.
Having said this, one must also note that my views are as per my vantage point only and should by no means be taken as an industry gospel for these are VUCA times (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) and everyone has to make sense of it through their own lens and realities.
Expanding further on the subject, we must first realise that it is not just about what agencies can do for their talent, rather it is about what is the talent (we)willing to do to create value and impact for their shops?
First things first, we must not forget that all of us are in this business for constantly proving our creative intelligence to create commercial value for our clients and whichever agency we may choose to be in, is constantly striving hard to do so. Hence, the onus to create disproportionate impact lies on us, after all an agency can only offer us a platform, a stimulating culture, and a mix of few businesses to work on, besides remuneration.
Nevertheless, if you are looking out for your next gig or in the process of evaluating one or just frustrated of working wherever you are, here are a few things that should help you decide better or may be just help you introspect a little to avoid another mousetrap for yourself. These may help regardless of whichever department, responsibility, title or skillset you carry, as long as you are in the creative industry.
#1 Run it like you own it!
Get your skin in the game. Be accountable for what you do, how you do and be the best at it.
#2 Don’t wait for the brief, create one!
Advertising is not a linear process. It can’t be fit neatly into a box. It is not an assembly line. Don’t keep waiting for input to create output. Be the input.
#3 You are the secret sauce!
Don’t wait for someone else to create the magic. Be that person.
#4 Know that you don’t know!
Complacency and over confidence are the first signs of failure. No one knows everything, let alone being the best at it. Keep working, keep learning, keep growing.
#5 Net Practice!
There’s always enough work to get your hands dirty on, immaterial of functions, brands, businesses that you might or might not be working on. Find a way to do that so that when you have a real match at hand, you are always on the front-foot.
#6 Grass is green where you water it!
Don’t compare your life and career with your peers. Your journey is yours and what you make out of it. Focus on making every gig your best gig.
#7 Embrace chaos
Creativity is born out of chaos, learn to embrace it. Always remember, without pressure there are no diamonds.
#8 Don’t just grow vertical!
Focus on creating your ‘value’. Expand your knowledge and learning. Growing vertically might just get you a slot on an elevator going up but growing horizontally will always open a whole bunch of new doors on the floor you’re already on.
#9 Create your invisible KRA!
Be good if not very good at something beyond what your role demands. It’s the best time to be alive if you’re in the business of commercial arts and the least one needs to do is ‘Be interesting’.
#10 Don’t forget to meditate!
The chaos never ends so you become the calm. Find time to take time out for yourself, everyday.
And most importantly all Agencies must single-mindedly focus on building a tight and unique culture that allows for all talent to express all of the above.
The author is SVP and office head, Grey Group (Mumbai)
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