Last night I had the pleasure of being able to attend the latest event put on by the Transmedia New York City Meetup group. It was my good friend Steve Coulson presenting a behind the scenes look at Campfire's highly creative and stragic work supporting the first season of HBO Game of Thrones. Thank you Storycode.org for organizing such a great event.
Steve is an amazing Creative Director that any company would love to have on their team because he brings the perfect balance of strategic AND creative thinking that is needed in today's marketing world. He only has that knowledge after years of work on a variety of projects. Those skills don't magically happen after reading a stack of books and blogs.
After the event, we talked about how he pulled back the curtain a bit on how much work goes into a successful campaign. It was the type of stuff that isn't talked about enough and we wondered how much of it should be shared to the general population. As he mentioned in his talk, it is very much like a magicians guild or something similar where you want to share some, but not all of the secrets.
One thing I will share about these secrets is that they are more art than science. Because of this the only way you get better is by doing more of the work.
Every single successful campaign I've ever worked on (and there have been many) presented us with a unique set of challenges that needed a unique set of solutions. It is only through experience working through these problems that you learn the craft.
The blunt truth is I'm seeing more and more people who do lots of talking about this space, but rarely actually do anything. They haven't put in the long hours throwing ideas around to come up with the best ones. They haven't challenged themselves to go so far away from the tree with their creative thinking that they don't know how to get back. They haven't put in the time to make a campaign work and then look back at the end and find out how it could have been better.
Anyone can look out at the social world in front of them and come up with a content strategy that leverages all the right channels. But, that doesn't mean that anyone possesses the needed creativity to make it stand out from the masses and reach their clients goals.
That might be blunt, but I firmly believe it is the truth.
Anyone can take a picture, but not everyone can shoot a photograph. You can pick up a camera and film a video, but it takes skills to tell a compelling visual story. We all doodle, but not everyone can draw a cartoon.
I want to bring some reality to this world and make sure that brands of all sizes remember that while you shouldn't be scared away because of budgets, you must also realize that you sometimes get what you pay for.
Hire, trust and build relationships with those of us who have been in the trenches and done the work. We've spent a lifetime honing our skills, please pay and respect us accordingly.
I'm noodling a lot on this and would love to hear your thoughts. This is certainly not the last post I'll be writing about this.