A Winning Creative Team Needs Developers Alongside the Dreamers

Input From the Technology Experts Is Crucial to Finding Original Solutions

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In the old days, agencies would pair up a creative person and a copywriter to lead a brand's team advertising and creative efforts. I didn't live or work during these days, but that 's what my friends tell me, and I've seen enough "Mad Men" and "thirtysomething" episodes to know that this is true.

Since then, agencies have been transforming, growing, expanding into digital and doing their best to figure out how business should be done. Some have married their digital departments with the rest of the agency. Others still are digital-only. And agencies like Carrot Creative, where I am employed, narrow focus even further, on social media exclusively.

Work teams within these agencies can vary wildly. But there's one combination that makes a ton of sense in today's digital environment: make sure that both dreamers and developers are at the table.

Think about what's driving the work that gets presented to clients. Now look at the platforms at the table, and platforms coming up, around the corner. More and more, it's a vast array of development platforms that comprise any particular promotional campaign -- and many times it's the platforms that make great ideas possible.

Let's look at what makes an effective, creative work team. I've known plenty of old-school creative directors who have insisted that only "creative" people belong in brainstorm sessions, work meetings and projects. Involve everyone else on a task-oriented basis. People like art directors, copywriters, designers were welcome at the table. But developers? Nope.

Yet developers are the people who determine what's possible, write the code to make it happen and have a keen understanding of the frameworks, platforms and technologies that can make, break or reinvent a solution.

Really, a developer can make more of a difference than anyone else in the room. They'll arrive at the party armed with a slew of ideas they've always wanted to build. They'll look at each problem presented by the account team as an impossible challenge that needs to be solved in a new way. And possibly most important of all, they'll bring a technical expertise that proves things are possible, and imagines things being constructed like never before.

Problem solving is at the root of what developers do. The earlier they're invested in projects, the more they'll embrace them. The solutions they'll present will likely be outside of the realm of what's typically conceptualized by "creative" people, and may rock your clients' pants off. Or at least open up their budgets.

So today's winning creative team is likely larger than the two- person art director/copywriter of yesteryear. This team should includes creative, strategic, production management and of course developers. The people at the table match the level of complexity for the campaign that we're likely to develop together. Most importantly, developers are not locked out of the room.

On the client side? Hiring a truly integrated working team can sometimes make the difference between getting work that 's a re-skinned version of what's been done a thousand times before, and getting something that 's outside the arena of what's ever been produced for your industry. Wouldn't you rather have the latter?

Before you click "invite" on that meeting you're about to schedule. . . . does it include both dreamers and developers?

Darryl Ohrt is a former punk rocker, professional internet surfer and executive creative director at Carrot Creative in NYC. He's one of the three super-hot bloggers that make up AdVerve, and admits to knowing just enough about the creative business to be dangerous. Keep your distance.
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