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Bridging the Gap Between Creatives & Clients


Written on 06/22/16 2:02 PM


by Rob Shannon

“If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it.” – Margaret Fuller

That’s some heavy-handed transcendentalism with which to discuss the creative process. But if Ms. Fuller were around today and working in advertising, she would see that it is the clients who have the knowledge and it’s not just the account execs holding the candles. It’s the creatives, too.

And what’s the best way to light a candle? Directly, of course.

Clients Meet Creatives

In most agencies, the gap that exists between client and creative is bridged by account services, and no matter how sharp the account execs are – and we work with the sharpest – anytime information is put through a filter it’s going to lose some of its weight. So on a traditional creative request, what we see is a third-party account of a conversation we were not privy to. Sure, the information is there, but did we really get everything? Did we hear the eagerness or concern from the client? Did we get the full scope of the issue at hand? (Think of it this way: would you rather listen to someone give you a recap of last night’s “Game of Thrones” or would you rather watch it yourself?)

At RPM, we’ve been working with casino brands – very successfully – for more than 15 years. And despite the universal appeal of experiencing the “Whatever happens in…” lifestyle, the industry at its core is a journey of nuanced communication.

How do we talk to the general public versus educated players? Are we trying to acquire new players or increase frequency among current players? How much knowledge can we assume when talking about a Hot Seat promotion or a Bad Beat Jackpot? Most importantly, of course, what is the casino’s identity? (Hint: not everybody can be the luckiest, coolest, friendliest, or most luxurious.)

We’ve found that the best way for creatives to fully understand a client is to have us on the phone call, in the meeting, or best of all visiting the property. We get to hear how marketing execs think about their product, or how the player development people view their clientele. We get to engage in a dialog and hear what’s really important to the client. It deepens our understanding of their goals, challenges, and personality, and it’s one of the reasons we confidently call the businesses we work with Client-Partners (capital C, capital P).

Sometimes I’m asked, “Do you think it would be helpful for you to sit in on the status call?” Yes! Always yes! The more ears on a phone call, the more collective knowledge we build as an agency.

  • Creatives can bring a fresh perspective to the conversation.

  • It also demonstrates to the Client-Partner our expertise in the industry; not that we’re talking for the sake of talking, but we can enhance the discussion and contribute to our reputation of, “Hey, these guys know their stuff.”

As creatives, we take pride in the work we bring to table. Yeah, we want it to be memorable, eye-catching, clever, even award-winning. But most of all we want it to be effective. And that starts with a little knowledge. So, do you gotta light?