People work better under certain conditions than others. Of course, that’s true of all of us. But creatives in particular work best under certain management styles that may go against the grain of more traditional environments. Changing the workplace can make it more welcoming to creative talent. In fact, some improvements can inspire creatives to be more productive, too. Here’s my thoughts on the characteristics of a workplace where creatives of all types and personalities can thrive.
Creative Marketing Deadlines and Workflow
Creative professionals like designers and writers need structure to thrive in a professional environment. They should be involved in daily standup meetings, where they can share questions and barriers. Make sure the chain of command is clear when it comes to marketing decision-making workflows. Does the creative know whose opinion is most important, and have they been given full access to that person to discuss the project directly? If the answer is no, you have potentially set them up for failure due to lack of resources.
Another reason a clear approval structure for marketing is important is to help keep projects on deadline. Tools like Basecamp and Podio are common choices for task management and passing back and forth versions with comments. On the design side, tools like InVision and Sketch provide centralized space for feedback and revision.
When you hire a creative, it’s important they understand the extent to which the routing and approval process will be their responsibility. If they will have to commit a fair amount of time to project management or administration, they should know out the gate or they might not be satisfied with the role once they start.
Giving Feedback to Creative Colleagues
Part of the chain of command is giving feedback on early versions of a creative piece so the final product can be improved through revision. Especially in the early stages of their role, this is essential for any creative professional. The quality and honesty of feedback has a direct impact on the creative’s success or failure on your team.
Any time there’s a concern feedback could be interpreted wrongly, it’s best to supplement written comments with a conversation. Creative professionals should be able to take even tough feedback in stride, but they also deserve the chance to ask clarifying questions or explain decision-making.
In many cases, the first draft may not look like the vision the marketing director or other stakeholders had in their heads. But that doesn’t have to mean it’s a bad thing. You hired creatives to make something because their vision is different from yours. Remember to moderate emotions around feedback and keep the goal of the content in mind.
How to Inspire Marketing Creativity
As far as getting your creative employees to get up off the hoard of gold every day and challenge their own capabilities, the foundation is a shared language. Make sure everyone understands the shared goals of the marketing content and how the creative decisions drive not only the goals of the business, but also affect the customer or consumer experience. An increasing number of young professionals take and keep their jobs because they want their work to have an impact on the world. If you can help the creatives on your team tune in to your brand values and how their work promotes them, you have a better chance to get their “best work” more days than not.