How to Keep the Creative Edge While Growing a Client Base
At a boutique digital creative agency, consistent growth is achieved through innovation, the willingness to take risks, and strategic investments in everything from your people to the latest technology. Another large component of growth is the drive to winning new business. However, the relentless pursuit of new clients has the potential to cause creative burnout.
Here are five strategies we’ve used to maintain and cultivate our creative edge as we grow our client base.
Admit what you don’t know — Hire consultants, experts and educators to help get your team up to speed on new technologies or new target markets. Hiring help to support or educate the team is a critical way to ensure knowledge and experiential growth.
Keep up morale — The management team becomes responsible for more and more as the company grows, between new business efforts and client relations. However, the employees behind the work are critical components to sustaining the growth. During expansion, it’s crucial that the existing team feel secure, appreciated and considered. Frequent team meetings are a great way to keep up communication and ensure a smooth transition. A happy team is a creative team.
Avoid the crash and burn — A big challenge of growth can occur in the process of pursuing new business. Proposals take effort, and in all phases from brainstorming, strategizing, writing and presenting, it’s important to put your best foot forward. It is imperative the team preparing the pitch is enthusiastic about the opportunity, mentally available, and not burned out from 100 other proposals. Sometimes, it’s better to pick your battles than risk the crash and burn.
Pick your Dream Team — We used to think more was more when it came to participating in brainstorms, until we realized that if we heard “It’s Angry Birds meets Fruit Ninja” one more time, we weren’t getting the fresh ideas we needed. Too large a group can lead to regurgitated ideas, disinterested attendees and the tiny tapping of under-the-table texting. It is more effective to hand pick a select group of team members with an interest in the property or an understanding of the demographic –- and choose people that haven’t come out of recent brainstorms with similar objectives.
Know what’s out there — As your business grows, you’re likely to get opportunities to do new types of work, and work with new types of clients. But as you venture into unchartered territory, it’s important to map out the terrain. In order to do what’s “never-been-done-before,” you’ve got to know what has been done. Conducting quarterly creative reviews of the competitive landscape is a great way to get the entire team up to date on trends in digital marketing.