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When I launched this series I had a simple goal. I wanted to call bullshit on the idea that agency creatives don’t need to be business smart. We talked to agency founders to learn how they turned creative success into business, took on lazy industry advice, and learned the difference between having a vision and having actionable goals. To close things out I want to go back to basics.
We’re deep into January. Have you abandoned your New Year’s resolution yet? We start off the year by making promises to ourselves about how we’re going to get better, eat more kale, take more steps, lose those Christmas pounds. Agency creative leaders are no different. Just like the rest of us, they like to kick off with a few resolutions to improve performance or widen focus.
Agency founders love to give advice. The creative trades are awash in wisdom from successful CEOs and CDs who launched businesses, seemingly on a wing and prayer, and found success by “staying true to themselves” or “listening to their hearts.” A lot of of this advice is doled out to aspiring agency leaders as if launching an all-star career is roughly as hard as winning a part ...
In my last column we talked about the line that divides the agency world between “suits” who run the business and the creatives who solve clients’ toughest business problems. That line is rapidly disappearing: Creative leaders may get into the business to make cool shit, but to stay there they need to know how to keep the agency’s lights on.
This is the first in a series on “Agency Smarts” by George Swisher, a management consultant focused on helping agency creatives succeed in business. There’s a reason why we call them “suits.” They’re the starched collar, bottom line kind of men and women who sit on the other side of the shop and speak a different language than “creatives.