So you’ve got a great creative strategy…

One of the things I’ve seen companies struggle with the most when putting together a Big! Creative! Campaign! is deciding who will actually, you know, do the work of launching, writing, printing, publishing, and managing a campaign.

People say they come to agencies for Big! Ideas!, but in my experience what folks are looking for when they turn to an agency is raw creative resources. Not just, “Here’s what you need to do,” but “Here’s how we’ll do it for you.” Being able to allow an agency to really do that for you, however, is an often delicate balancing act between the clients’ resources and the agency’s resources and how much autonomy a client is willing to give an agency.

I’ve worked on the corporate and agency sides, and I know firsthand that one of the things we struggled with a lot on the corporate side was getting folks to own projects. I was lucky to work with a lot of creative thinkers. Lots of Big! Ideas!, but when it came time to take ownership of a project, it was a lot harder to get people to raise their hands. With ownership comes responsibility for a project’s success or failure, and that’s sometimes a scary thing.

One of the reasons I love what I do is because I’d much rather get something done than watch a room full of folks let creative ideas die on the floor because no one else had the guts to say, “Yeah, Ok, I’ll make that happen.”

On the agency side, there’s a similar struggle, but it’s a struggle more of deciding who does what as opposed to whether or not anybody does anything. It’s a struggle, yes, but a refreshing one when everyone’s on the same page. The challenge to that is, of course, that you can be bound by project scope and resources, which can be frustrating for creative folks who want to do every Big! Idea! really big.

What I’m saying is, having a Big! Idea! isn’t enough. If you’re walking into an agency or going to your in-house marketing team and saying, “Give me a big idea and then get out of my hair,” you’re wasting your money. Every big idea needs a strategy for execution, and a champion for that execution. If your business has no social media champion, no Big! Idea! champion, no marketing champion, and you’re not giving your agency the opportunity to be that champion, then your Big! Idea! and the strategy you paid for to go with it is about as effective as dumping your money into the ocean.

I love what I do. I love working with people who love what they do. Just be sure that what you’re “doing” is actual “doing” and not… thinking about doing. At the end of the day, somebody needs to take ownership and execute, or empower somebody else to do it.

How are you empowering your employees or agency to do the best work possible for you and your brand?

Penny Ohlmann Neimann

The Ohlmann Group has a rich history that began in Dayton, Ohio in 1949, where the agency was founded as Penny and Penny by Bob Penny and his wife Jean. In 1964, Walter Ohlmann joined the firm. Ralph Neiman came on in 1969 and the firm became Penny/Ohlmann/Neiman. In 2011, P/O/N was renamed The Ohlmann Group to better reflect the agency's ongoing evolution and collaborative nature.

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