What Agency Managers Can Learn from 'Young Frankenstein'

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BART CLEVELAND: If you've ever seen the movie "Young Frankenstein" you know the secret to more effective creative thinking among all agency people. The scene when Dr. Frankenstein (that's frawnkensteen) shares his brain with the monster proves it can be done. Not only did the monster have a clearer brain but also a semi more sophisticated way of expressing himself. What if your creative people acted more like planners? What if account people sold creative as if they created it themselves? The villagers would be frightened indeed. But the work would definitely be better.

If you do a brain-share between creative and account people your agency is going to have more innovative and effective creative. Account people will think more like creative people and creative people more like account people. The result will be more effective work. Sound impossible? It's not when everyone understands that the bottom-line is better work. Not cheaper, not exactly what the client "wants" but what the client needs: Effective work that is innovative, fresh, with crosshairs perfectly centered on the consumer.

Our process of strategic and creative development involves everyone on the team. We are not an assembly line. Creativity can't happen that way. This brain-share is a shared attitude of how to think. Imagination must be used at each stage of strategic and creative development if there is to be any "new" thinking happening. This is obvious but it is ignored every day in agencies across the land because we get in our own little corner and shut the big world out. Creative people don't hear the complaints of the clients so they dream big not knowing the client's temperature. Account people hear the clients fears, many unfounded, and start worrying and become naysayers due to fear. Account people can become protectors of the expected if they aren't careful. They are the closest to the clients so many times they start thinking in a protracted way. They imagine what the client will say well before they should. Both creative and account service must remember it is not what a client wants that matters, but what they need: results. We remind our clients continually it only matters what their customer thinks. It's hard for any of us to take ourselves out of the equation but we must.

Innovation happens when you don't have artificial barriers. By including account people in the creative process they think as marketing experts, not a pseudo clients. We do evaluate our thinking from a client's point of view. But not too early in the process. Not when you're trying to go to a less familiar place for the client. To do that you must pretend there are no obstacles. Creating is a time when rule breaking is important.

So we do a mind meld within our teams. Account planning shares its strategy concepts with creative and creative shares creative concepts with account planning. We build it together respecting our individual skills in the process. We don't fear each other because we know to get results for our clients we must do work that breaks a few rules.
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