Agency Management Institute

4 Strategies to Spark On-Demand Creativity

Back in the "Mad Men" days, only writers and artists were held accountable for driving an agency’s creativity. Today, that dynamic has expanded to include just about everyone. Whether it’s the account services team bringing fresh ideas to clients, the business development team finding new ways to engage with prospects, or creative services producing content, everyone has to be creative for the agency to succeed. Individual contributors also must be able to tie their creative efforts to measurable ROI. Why is creativity so important? Because for agencies, creativity is currency. The successful execution of good ideas separates top agencies from closed shops. The barriers to entry for marketing are lower than ever -- anyone with an idea and an hour can build a website or whip up a logo. Agencies must communicate their value proposition as the owners of the best ideas and know how to measure that value. But creativity alone is not enough. Agencies and the people within them must be creative on demand. To do that, every department and every employee must become part of a culture that excels at creative problem-solving. Bringing New Ideas to the Table Often, creativity is talked about like it’s a magical ability of the chosen few -- something we have little control over that strikes at random. But Jason Keath, founder and CEO of Social Fresh Conference, says universal creativity is not as hard to achieve as some entrepreneurs would imagine. I spoke with Keath recently, and he said that creativity is less about inspiration and more about learning to solve problems. “Anyone can be creative,” he says, adding that creativity is a process that we fail to teach in schools or in business environments. This is good [...]

Hey Agency Owner — Give your employees context and connect the dots

Sometimes I think as agency owners we forget to connect the dots for our team in an agency management system. Remember when you were a kid and your parents started to talk about something and then in the middle of the conversation, one of them gave the other "the look" and they either stopped their conversation, lowered their voices so you couldn't hear, or left the room to finish the conversation? What did you immediately do?  You tried even harder to listen. If you couldn't hear, your imagination started filling in the blanks. Suddenly the story includes espionage or murder or at the very least your favorite neighbor moving away. In the absence of facts, our brains create a story that is usually wrong and usually way out of proportion from reality. When we were left on our own to connect the dots, the picture got a little crazy. That is happening today in your agency management system, especially as it pertains to money, billings and profitability. How many times have you uttered a sentence like this without any context: Our billings are down again this month.  We've got to reverse this trend or we're in some serious trouble. I don't think that client XYZ won't be around much longer. It doesn't look like we're going to pay out a bonus this year. I get so sick and tired of writing time off. Each of those sentences may be true.  But if you don't connect the dots and give your employees the context to gauge just how serious the situation is, they go into imagination mode.  Suddenly, in their heads, they are all out on the street, looking for work, and begging for change so they can bring [...]