The Future of the Creative Shape Shifters

Jo Joseph our head of creative at Major Players was recently asked to speak at the SheSays UK event at Shoreditch House.

The Topic was 'The Future of the Creative Shapeshifter'. From her expertise she has highlighted what employers are looking for nowadays when they are hiring creatives.

Here are some top tips to be a Creative Shapeshifter:

1.   Be creative
  • More and more clients are asking for evidence of 'true creativity' demonstrable and proactive projects on the side.
  • This is the stuff that is genuinely creative outside of your day job.
  • They want someone who is creatively inspired and passionate about creative life and they want them to see and hear evidence of that. This could be anything - scriptwriting, photography, product design, installations, being a published writer or even an illustrator.

2.  Be versatile
  • As the name shapeshifter suggests, it's all about being versatile and able to change and adapt to things around you. Not being labelled as a certain type of creative.
  • This is something we had to do at MP. All of our consultants are now integrated as we had to adapt to clients' needs and now mirror what they want. Clients are looking for integrated creatives who are able to really understand problems, see the big picture, get under skin of the brand, crack the brief with award-winning ideas and also able to make their ideas happen and move seamlessly between concepts that live in all channels. It's now very much idea fist and channel second.
  • More and more Creative Director briefs don't state if they want people from an art or copy background - the best candidates are those that clients know will add real value and those that aren't bound by a title or a discipline - they just 'get it'.
  • A piece of advice - if you're early on in your career, expose yourself to different types of agencies and cultures - try a big global network, then maybe opt for smaller more boutique agency where you'll probably get closer to the business and get exposed to more areas. Try working on big budget campaigns and smaller ones on a shoestring and where you often have to be more creative.

3.   Be nice
  • Don’t be an asshole. People want to work with nice people, it's as simple as that.
  • It's never been more important to be collaborative. More and more agencies are working in multi-disciplined teams, people want team players. This collaborative element features in every single brief.
  • More and more, clients are spelling out what this means - "No divas, no egos...we're a flat structure and we don't want creatives who are overly precious and who will ruffle feathers and get people's backs up" - that's just unhelpful in what can often be a pressurised agency environment!
  • You should be someone that the client would be trusted to work closely with their clients and who ulitmately someone they will respect and have total confidence in.
  • For the freelancers out there, attitude is important. We've seen creatives with very similar books and skills and the client will always rebook the one with the better attitude and stronger work ethic.
  • Remember, this is a small and incestuous industry - "You can easily judge the character of a person by how he treats those that can do nothing for him." Show your best self at work.

4.   Be relevant
  • Clients want creatives who are relevant.
  • Creatives need:
    -  Not only a real appreciation of digital.
    -  A thorough understanding of the culture of the internet.
    -  How people engage with social channels.
    -  How content works across platforms.
    -  Need to be innovators!
  • The words social and content are now appearing on about 90% of my briefs in some capacity. Now the conversation is about data and analytics and creative tech…it goes on and on.
  • Creatives now coming through are natural digital natives with a strong social presence - you have to be socially connected. Live it. Immerse yourself in it.
  • One of my clients used to talk about "curious mutants". That is something that is genuinely interested in the world around them, always digging, learning new technologies and how to embrace them.
  • The key here was people always learning, up to date, fresh, relevant and credible!
  • Know digital....learn it....embrace it...stay ahead of the curve.

5.   Personalise your portfolio
  • Many creatives make the mistake of thinking portfolio is just about your work but actually it needs to be about two things - your best work and also about you as a person.
  • Clients want to get a real sense of who you are and get a feel if you'll be a good fit for them.
  • Where you've worked, what you're about, who you are.
  • This leads onto the interview too.
  • This is something that should be continually evolving as you progress through your career - again not just your work but you.

To Conclude

  • So, the bottom line is as a creative today, it's no longer about sitting in a dark room with pad and pen coming up with ideas which the account team will then take to the client.
  • To really get ahead, you need to be wearing many hats and have it all - be creative, be nice, be collaborative, have great award-winning ideas, know how to take them across all channels and disciplines...whilst still being fresh, relevant and credible.
  • The key is to always be open and to never stop learning...and most of all to enjoy the ride.