4 Creative Agency Challenges to Face

Challenge 1: Staying Relevant

Having that ‘edge’ or ‘cool’ factor as a creative studio, can be a challenge. While it is important to keep an eye on current and emerging trends, it doesn’t always pay to follow them, as you risk being the same as everyone else. After all, it is much more rewarding being admired for setting the precedent and being a trend setter, rather than a follower. But never take your eyes off the competition.

Keeping this in mind, it is not always an easy ask to stay at the forefront, consistently producing high calibre creative projects and brand icons. It takes tactful planning, research and often risk taking, to differentiate your studio from and ever growing landscape of creative entities.

Staying relevant also has a lot to do with keeping tabs on technologies, social media, news and current events, and above all, listening to the world around you and acting accordingly. Always strive to ‘skate where the puck is going to be, not where it currently is’. This is how you will most likely have the competition chase your taillights.

Challenge 2: Unbridled Creativity

Being creative is a great talent. But every once in a while, a drought comes in, stopping those creative juices from flowing, and you may as well be in the Sahara!

Creatives, and studio staff need a lot of stimulation and the freedom to explore ideas, problem solving along the way. After all, much of design involves a varying degree of problem solving.

Creativity can be cultivated through stimulation. And keeping staff stimulated can sometimes pose a challenge. Mixing things up and varying tasks, sending staff to galleries, networking events, industry relevant functions, can often provide a much needed injection to the creative thinking process.
Even just having music playing in the studio (a cross selection of genres), can act as a catalyst to get those clicks going in Photoshop.

Having a fun in a relaxed workplace, plays an important role in keeping your staff motivated to continue producing innovative ideas. Keep in mind that while it is important to have organizational systems processes in place, be careful that they don’t start choking the company culture. Systems and processes are essential to keep the crusade going, but they should not replace the crusade.

Challenge 3: Collaboration

Effective collaboration is essential for any business to thrive. Communication between both internal and external stakeholders, will determine how successful your team will be in delivering quality creative projects – on time and within budget.

Although collaboration often involves a series of emails, phone calls or face-to-face meetings, it is worth noting that there are other alternative means of collaborating with the team and clients. For example, using a piece of creative agency software that allows you to create and share notes, upload proofs or digital assets, along with things such as client portals, are great ways to share ideas, job and project statuses and keeping a pulse on items.

Things such as ‘office chat’ applications e.g., Slack, Skype etc., can be very handy, allowing for quick communication, file sharing privacy when needed.

Challenge 4: Growing Pains

While its important to stay in the present with an eagle eye focus on projects and jobs, budgets, profitability and staff efficiency, one must also plan ahead and look towards future expansion. More clients, more staff, more jobs = more profit.

Having a series of business goals or objectives, both short term long term, will serve as a blueprint as to where you want your creative agency to be, 6 months down the track or 3 years from now.

Revisiting the company’s vision core values, no matter what size your agency may be, will help you to maintain focus, and thus yield innovation, added revenue and new faces to the team.

Performance reviews and succession planing are key to nurturing your team and moving onto new challenges. Equally important is having solid organizational systems and processes in place, promoting a healthy company culture that balances professional, as well as personal growth.

This article was written by previous Function Point employee, Daniel Pantic.

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