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Managing Creatives and Making Better Clients

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Jason SirotinManaging Creatives and Making Better Clients
by on Apr 30, 2013 at 12:14:41 pm

Hello Cows, I recently wrote this article for our blog entitled: ALL IT TAKES IS “THANK YOU” - Why being more appreciative of your creative vendors actually makes YOU money!

http://www.ecgprod.com/all-it-takes-is-thank-you/

I wrote it in the hopes of fostering better relationships between creative vendors and clients. I'd love to know what you all think. I'm sure some of you will appreciate what I am saying. I look forward to your feedback.


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Todd TerryRe: Managing Creatives and Making Better Clients
by on Apr 30, 2013 at 3:33:00 pm

I don't believe in (or need) fawning "thank yous" to excess... but it is nice to be appreciated now and then... or at least recognized for trying to help.

True in forums here, too. I often ask for help on the COW (as well as try to give it when I can), and I try to pay particular attention to thank those who help me... or fail to help but at least try.

In fact there is one particular occasional poster here on the COW that not only never thanks anyone, he doesn't even acknowledge the several people that invariably reply to his questions, unless he has a follow-up question (which yield answers that also don't get acknowledged). I almost always have a potential solution for whatever this guy is asking about... but I never respond to his posts anymore (I used to always respond when I had an answer for him). Sorry, but a "thanks in advance" in your original question isn't really an acknowledgement. I guess that's petty of me.

I did have a bit of fun shaming someone recently. Some guy I didn't know emailed me about a particular camera issue, he'd gotten my contact info via the COW. I took a bit of time, probably 15-20 minutes, to compose a fairly detailed and long email trying to help him as best I could. It occurred to me about three weeks later that I never heard anything back from him, not even a "That didn't help at all, moron," which is better than nothing. I replied to his original email again with simply "You're welcome." I almost instantly received an email back from him. Enjoyed that a bit.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Mark SuszkoRe: Managing Creatives and Making Better Clients
by on Apr 30, 2013 at 4:00:18 pm

The COW runs on the sharing of expertise for no other reason than it makes a person feel good to be helpful to someone else. This is very unlike the way most of the world works, so I'm glad the COW is here.


As far as training clients to be nicer to us, well, I had to re-read a bit of the thing to be sure this wasn't some kind of meta-humor piece. I would like to hear this copy read aloud by Bob Z some time.


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Todd TerryRe: Managing Creatives and Making Better Clients
by on Apr 30, 2013 at 4:40:01 pm

I did have to smile a little bit at part of the blog article that suggests tempering a suggestion or criticism to a creative with a "What do you think?"

I get that all the time. "I'm thinking we should swap that wide shot with a closeup... what do you think?" Or "Maybe we should speed that animation up... what do you think?"

I always say "Sure, we'll give it a try."

But I usually think "What do I think? I think that if I had felt that was best, that's what I would have done in the first place. But it's your money." Peddle that flattery somewhere else, pal! Ha... I'm so harsh.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Tim WilsonRe: Managing Creatives and Making Better Clients
by on Apr 30, 2013 at 4:45:04 pm

[Todd Terry] "I always say "Sure, we'll give it a try....""

I know that gentle negotiation is the goal, but "What do you think?" always feels passive aggressive to me. I'd much rather have somebody say, "I'd like to try this." Good. Thanks for being clear.

Sometimes they really DON'T know until they try a few alternatives. Sure, that's true of me too. However, it's only AFTER I trust that the client isn't trying to manipulate me into thinking that THEIR choices are MY idea that I can meaningfully collaborate.


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Todd TerryRe: Managing Creatives and Making Better Clients
by on Apr 30, 2013 at 4:59:36 pm

Very true, Tim.

We have one client that "What do you think"s me to death, and always wants to try change after change after change. I'd rather he just say "Let's try this" or "I want to see..." rather than asking what I think.

The funny thing is that he invariably (and I mean invariably) chooses to go back to the way I did it originally. Without fail. Ever. Not even once.

I think sometimes we've billed more for his "Let's try this" than the actual total job should have cost.

Of course, we do have clients that have good ideas and make good suggestions (one art director from a particular ad agency that is a client is excellent at that and I enjoy working with her a great deal). But this particular one that I mentioned, ummm not so much.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Mark SuszkoRe: Managing Creatives and Making Better Clients
by on Apr 30, 2013 at 6:20:20 pm

Most of my clients are really a blessing: they leave me the raw materials and notes and say: "Call me when you have something ready to show, I trust your judgement". it has been a while since I had the kind of client that wants to see the lower third text super in every one of 255 shades before saying we should go with white. Or ones that don't understand editing.

Back in the bad old linear edit days, mine gott in himmel, when you did a preview with the machines all rolling back to their cue points and then simulating the cut, it would blow some of these people's minds and they would NEVER, repeat NEVER be able to tell the difference between a preview edit and a real edit. You'd have to preview the edit five times for them. Having them in the bay would double the time of the job, just in time spent explaining what they were looking at and how things worked.

Like I said, today, life is better.


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Joseph W. BourkeRe: Managing Creatives and Making Better Clients
by on Apr 30, 2013 at 6:34:50 pm

Hi Jason -

First off, thanks for writing it - no sarcasm intended. I feel that the "dramatizations" were a little bit uncalled for - they might insult the intelligence of the some of your clients who really are nice. But I certainly get where you're coming from - in the 30 odd years I've been in television, I've run into people who thanked me profusely, and didn't mean it, those who never said an appreciative word, but were earnestly appreciative, and those who were downright jerks, and made it painfully obvious to all around them.

I always was professional to all of them, and gave everything I had on all of the projects. Projects with an appreciative attitude sometimes got more in the end, but they all got what was appropriate to the project. When I have clients who come in knowing what they want, they are sometimes put off when I try to do something extra, because it doesn't fit their visual concept of the piece (when I'm lucky enough to have a client with any sense of visual concept, that is. So it all boils down to my grandmother's saying, "You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar". It's been around since the mid seventeen hundreds (not my grandmother), and it rings true today.

I think your attitude toward the client is proper, but I'm not sure you need to lead them by the nose. Some people get it, and some people never will...

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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Jason SirotinRe: Managing Creatives and Making Better Clients
by on Apr 30, 2013 at 8:08:26 pm

Joe, fantastic note. I never thought about it that way. I added this line to the post to avoid confusion.

All dramatizations are meant to be tongue-in-cheek and don’t represent any real clients, either past or present.

Thanks so much for the great feedback.


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