Several years ago Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo wrote a book about relationships called He’s Just Not That Into You. Mostly it was advice to women about when to move on in a relationship that’s not working out. I read a few excerpts from a copy my future wife had while we were dating. It contained a lot of good advice and examples of situations that tell women when a man is just not into them.
The same can be said about relationships between a creative and their clients. Not everyone fits with everyone in this industry. Some products scream out for cutting edge, in your face creative while other products need to be treated with quietness and reserve. There isn’t a creative alive that can provide all the needs that clients have.
As a business owner you shouldn’t just settle for the first creative you happen onto. Maybe he has a stellar recommendation from several people, but can you work with him? Maybe he has a dynamite portfolio, but will his/her style fit your product or service?
Once you’re into the relationship it might turn out that you’re just not that into his or her work. You may find out it just doesn’t fit into your marketing strategy. So how can you be sure to get the right fit?
Picking a creative can be a lot like dating. You may have to try several before you find the right one. Here are some points that might make the search a little easier.
Stay with professionals. Sure your nephew has the latest in laptop technology and has Microsoft Office loaded up. That doesn’t mean he’s a designer. Designers generally go through a university program to learn their craft. Some programs are better than others just as some designers are more talented then others. Once they graduate most enter their field and work their way up to a competent skill level. The more experience they have the better. Most will belong to a professional organization such as The Kansas City Freelance Exchange or AIGA.
Get a referral. Word of mouth is a great way to find a good creative. If you have a friend that has used someone and they’re happy with him or her, by all means, put them on your list. You can also search locally and nationally on various sites like the Kansas City Freelance Exchange. They are excellent resources to find a vast cross-section of creative help. Choose several and then proceed to the next step.
Interview the creative. It’s always a good thing to interview a creative before hiring them. By having a face-to-face meeting you can get a good feel as to whether or not you can work with the person. After all you are hiring this person so why not spend some time getting to know them a little on a personal level. Interview as many creatives as you need to until you find one that has a personality, attributes, and portfolio you like.
Give them a test project. After you have selected someone don’t immediately dump a bunch of projects on him or her. Start them with one and observe closely how their process works. Make sure that your working relationship is a good fit. Does the person return your calls and emails promptly? Do you need to be in the loop on every detail if so be sure this person does that, if not, discuss it with them and be sure that your needs will be met. Can they meet a deadline? Will they quit in the middle of a project? I could go on and on with attributes both good and bad. Just make sure the person is filling your needs all around.
Remember it’s a two-way street. A good creative can also not be into their client. Maybe the product or service doesn’t inspire them. Maybe they just don’t fit into the culture of the client. If they aren’t into their client and his/her business, they could be just going through the motions to get the work done and get a check. If you think this is the case with your creative it might be time to move on because he just isn’t into you.
Finding a keeping a good creative can make all the difference in your business. It can make or break a product or service. Make sure the relationship you have with your creative people is a mutual one where both of you are into the situation. When that happens it can be magical.