How To Work With Creatives Towards Business Goals — “Make It Pop”
I’ve mentioned a few months ago in an article and in yesterday’s written piece this idea: pretty is for concepts.
What should a SaaS logo look like? Lessons for most tech companies visual identities.
Less like left, more like right. Less flashy, trendy and me-oriented and more perennial, elegant in a simplistic manner…
And here’s some context for what I mean by that. Whether it’s a small business, a big corporate or anything in between, companies work with creatives. They get interns, hire people in-house, outsource the work to a freelancer(s) or they collaborate with a like-wise business who’s specialised in dealing with creative issues.
At any level, corporate or small business, this phrase is being said: “we want to make it… special. to make it POP”. Every time someone says that, a puppy dies somewhere on the planet — it’s been proven scientifically, trust me.
Joke aside, here’s another piece of context:
This creative work is needed by your company not because the new wave of post-modern renaissance is birthed. It’s needed because it solves a business purpose.
And the last expositionary coordinate: I gave a scale in the second paragraph. Intern, in-house hired people, freelancers, creative agencies. On that scale, the sense of business knowledge increases. It makes sense: a freelancer (more often than not) has more business knowledge than an in-house hired creative.
A successful one, at least. She has to sell herself more, build her reputation and build relationships — maintain them as well! Add some accounting work, personal branding etc. Interns don’t need any business sense as they will be directed when it comes to that
A lot of context and no point yet. Here it is.
I’ll talk about design as creative work but it can be anything else from the industry. The reason I went ahead and talked about business sense is that when “make it pop” is said, the business purpose is thrown out the window.
Now, I’m not saying “it has to be strictly functional, aesthetics don’t matter and always look like an MVP” — that’d be a misquote. What I am trying to say is there have to be boundaries over whether we’re doing art here or we’re doing something that suits a business goal.
So if it’s needed to “pop”, let’s sit down and talk how does that reduce user churn. Or how it may increase the CLV. Is it going to reduce the conversion rate? Increase CPC in this ad? Have any impact on the company’s ARR?
The way I look at things, if something is done strictly artfully, keep it for the concept. Surely you’ve seen it in cars. A new model is presented, 5 to 7 years later you see the actual release and very very rarely you think “Wait a minute, this one doesn’t look anything similar to the concept!”
Quick example: you might have heard of Subaru. Here’s the concept in 2013:
And the production model:
Leaving cars aside
There’s another perspective I want to add. Depending on how much time you’ve spent looking at options in the market, you might have noticed what I’m about to say.
We can be very cynical and divide these options into two categories: you’ll find creative agencies (or freelancers) that focus on art and things that “pop” or those who look less “popping” and at the same time feel somehow more familiar.
They feel as if they can really do the job. As if they produce less shiny details and at the same time understand you better. And deliver better. In a sense, they inspire more trust. Not to say the artful counterparts are less trustworthy, it’s just that there’s a stronger connection with the 2nd category.
If you’ve ever hired someone from outside more often than not the second category is the one which thrives. We can look at numbers as well. The reason for the connection they ensue and the trust they “sell” is because they’ve chosen to focus on the business as well, not just on the art.
Some focus only on the business and very less on creative — you call them consultants.
But given that you’ve chosen somebody based on what they can do to your business, let’s focus on business. The creatives will make it beautiful as it’s their modus operandi. But too much beautiful and it can eat into the business goals.
And hey, I might shoot myself in the foot right now. Maybe some of our pieces are too artful for some people — I get that, we wouldn’t be a good fit. The purpose of today’s piece is to bring awareness to where our focus should be, in business engagements.
About Ch Daniel
I run Chagency_, an experiences design agency that specialises on helping tech CEOs reduce user churn. We believe experiences are not only the reason why users choose not to leave but also what generates word of mouth. We’re building a credo around this belief.
I’ve also created an infinitely-valuable app for sneaker/fashion enthusiasts called Legit Check that impacted hundreds of thousands over millions of times — check it out at chdaniel.com/app
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Illustration Credits: Mateo Pizarro, Effy Zhang