How clients benefit

Clients learn to make better choices when commissioning suppliers, gain a better understanding of what motivates creatives and so achieve better results, know their suppliers’ capabilities and demand higher productivity.

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Project commissioning – matching the supplier’s capabilities to the project

What we do

When creative services, either internal or external, are not functioning as well as expected, it is often due to a mismatch between their capabilities and the organisation’s requirements. Often the principal creative service provider does a reasonably good job in response to the majority of its client’s requests, but when the requirement of more peripheral users is not being met, the relationship can begin to break down.

In turn, this can degenerate into a wholly unsatisfactory situation where suppliers are dismissed without good cause before suitable replacements can be found. This can be avoided by acknowledging the differing requirements of the various departments within the organisation and finding suppliers to meet those needs, either by improving the relationship with the current suppliers or by appointing alternative suppliers.

At Town & Town, we provide specifications for the primary demand for creative services as well as those of the more outlying departments to guarantee optimum service levels to all stakeholders.

Here’s a situation you may find familiar…

John was seething. The company newsletter had missed its deadline for the last three issues, and he was about to take the agency to task. Across the office, Jenny raised her arms in mock surprise. “I couldn’t be more delighted with the agency. Our annual report won three awards last year, and they throw a brilliant party!”

Finding a solution

It had made sense initially to place all the creative work with one agency. John had built up a great working relationship with them, but now they were facing too many different demands and struggling to prioritise. An unbiased view from outside was needed to get things back on track. Alternative creative teams were assessed and short-listed, and very soon two new suppliers were appointed, taking the pressure off the lead agency.

Resulting benefits

Within a few months, John’s newsletter was delivered on time, produced by a new team with special editorial expertise. A second team helped out with more repetitive production work, leaving the original agency free to produce more award-winning creative work. John was finally ready to party.

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Motivating creatives – matching appropriate skills and attitudes to the task

What we do

Clients can be forgiven for failing to differentiate between creative tasks. After all, these can range from the highly original to the mundane and repetitive, all under the guise of creativity.

‘Creative types’ often have high energy levels and a disproportionate influence within a team, and if this energy is not directed to an appropriate task they can prove disruptive. While most team members can keep themselves busy, underutilised ‘creative types’ can be a distraction and can take up a disproportionate amount of management time.

At Town & Town we match skills and attitudes to the appropriate tasks within creative services, leading to a more effective and focused creative team that produce better and more consistent results.

Here’s a situation you may find familiar…

Tom was heading out of the office door when Eva intercepted him.

“What’s up, Tom? You don’t look very happy.”  “Don’t ask,” said Tom. “I’ve got 15 banners to get out, and they’re all virtually identical. A monkey could do this job – don’t know why I bothered going to Uni. I’m going outside for a smoke.” Eva smiled. “Maybe you should teach me how to do it. Looks a lot more interesting than checking suppliers’ invoices.”

Finding a solution

At the next team meeting, Tom’s boss decided to give Eva’s suggestion a try. To his surprise, Tom found that he enjoyed fitting in some admin tasks around his regular work, and Eva soon became a whiz at producing simple banners. It wasn’t long before other team members took an interest, and Tom was soon able to take on a managerial role for most of the banner work.

Resulting benefits

Job satisfaction levels increased dramatically as efficiency improved so much that they no longer needed to call on freelancers for help. Happy staff, happy boss.

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Supplier assessment – evaluating suppliers’ current capabilities to meet changing demands

What we do

Good supplier relationships are built and strengthened over many years, and an active supplier will endeavour to adapt to their clients’ needs through investment in new technologies and the learning of new skills.

In order to make sure the relationship is as beneficial to the organisation as it should be, periodic reviews of creative service suppliers should be undertaken to take advantage of new practices and more efficient processes in the production of creative materials.

As an independent arbiter, Town & Town are uniquely placed to assist organisations in this process, leading to improved relationships and an efficient, cost-effective supply chain.

Here’s a situation you may find familiar…

 “They shouldn’t be working on this stuff! I know you’ve worked with this agency for years, but we can’t compromise our major campaign by getting them to do this type of work.” The Marketing Director was furious, and David had nothing to say in his defence. He had promised to sort things out, but had been let down by a freelancer. Worse still, he didn’t have an alternative supplier lined up.

Finding a solution

David decided it was time to take a critical look at his supplier base, a job he felt was best left to an unbiased outsider. The process revealed that while a number of the suppliers were to be commended for their depth of knowledge and loyalty to the company, they had, over time, taken on too many jobs at once, or tasks that were beyond their capabilities. A number of better alternatives were available to start right away.

Resulting benefits

After a year, all but one of the original suppliers were still working for the company, and with the new suppliers in place, David was able to put his department forward to take on a wider range of projects. The original agency benefited too, as its profitability increased in tandem with offloading many small, labour intensive jobs to new suppliers better suited to the work.

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Supplier mentoring – create value by improving supplier productivity and attitude

What we do

Creative service suppliers are no less important in the supply chain than others, and their impact on the organisation can be significant. Sadly, they are frequently overlooked by those outside the creative arena who fail to understand the potential benefits of the working relationship.

Recognition of the involvement of this group in the supply chain has several advantages for an organisation, including security of supply, continuity of service and ownership of collateral materials produced.

Town & Town provide the skills needed for managing greater creative supplier involvement and so enable organisations to reap the benefits of a better disposed and motivated supply stream.

Here’s a situation you may find familiar…

“That was our favourite client on the phone. They’ve given me the new brief, and they don’t need to see anything until Monday.” Hannah looked at her watch. It was 4.30, Friday. She turned to her team. “I hope you lot haven’t made any plans for the weekend.” Long faces all round, as well as plenty of mumbling about overtime.

Finding a solution

It seems to be the natural order of things that requests, particularly for creative services, have a habit of coming from clients late on a Friday. Using suppliers in this way is not only costly and unproductive, it also becomes a habit and suppliers often feel aggrieved but know that they are in no position to push back.

Resulting benefits

Understanding how services can be delivered more effectively and agreeing sensible working practices is fundamental to building a secure and reliable supply chain. However, the concept of making sensible investments in time, effort, and – where appropriate – money, is not widely practised in the creative area, yet the benefits are obvious: a better, faster, more cost-effective and reliable service, delivered by happier and more willing creatives.

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