Creative Skill Set 3.1 – Project Commissioning

Matching the Supplier’s Capabilities to The Project

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…Project Commissioning

Creative Skill Set 2.4 – Culture Management

Understanding how corporate attitudes and culture influence outcomes

How organisations describe themselves – and the business they believe they are in – has been a topic that has covered many pages of the most respected business books around. Less often discussed, but in our view equally important, is the organisation’s institutionalised attitude towards creativity.

All organisations like to think – and often believe – that creativity is at the centre of their business. Sadly, this is rarely true. While the most senior managers understand the importance of creativity, further down the organisation they fail to understand its relevance. They think of themselves variously as technology companies, retailers, financial institutions or service providers, and it is this misunderstanding that stifles creative entrepreneurship within the organisation.

At Town & Town we help our clients understand the culture within their organisation and its effect on encouraging or stifling creative thinking and entrepreneurship. It is our belief that creativity should be at the heart of every organisation looking to evolve and grow.

Here’s a situation you may find familiar…Culture Management

Creative Skill Set 2.3 – Resource Assessment

Assessing the available resources to meet fluctuating demand

Organisations need to be aware of the capacity of their creative resource. Whether there is a big project in the pipeline, a change in market forces or the impact of new technology to consider, requirements can be subject to rapid change. Unfortunately creative resources, whether internal or external, are not rapidly or infinitely scalable.

We help organisations optimise the creative resource they have and build new capacity where it is needed. When you are planning ambitious expansion, Town & Town make sure your plans are not thwarted by a lack of vital creative resources.

Here’s a situation you may find familiar…Resource Assessment

Creative Skill Set 2.2 – Supplier Commissioning

Refreshing and expanding the supplier base

There is a natural process by which organisations, over time, rely on a smaller and smaller pool of suppliers to service their creative needs. These suppliers enjoy all the benefits of a long-term relationship as well as in-depth knowledge of the client’s products and practices.

We live in such rapidly changing times that this is not always a healthy situation. New minds, new ideas are often required at short notice, which leaves clients little opportunity to try new and untested suppliers.

Setting up a sensible commissioning process that allows new suppliers to be gradually introduced to the client’s products and working procedures has the positive effect of increasing the supplier base.

To ensure that the client is not relying too heavily on a small number of creative suppliers, Town & Town work together with them to make sure that they have an increasing rather than diminishing pool of talented creative resources to draw on.

Here’s a situation you may find familiar…Supplier Commissioning

Creative Skill Set 2.1 – Understanding Creatives

Dealing with environment, leadership and incentives issues for creatives

All organisations depend on their employees working to a common goal and make every effort to provide good leadership, the right tools for the job, and a suitable environment.

Creatives are no different, but not surprisingly they do not conform to the organisational norm. They are not primarily motivated by money; they like a conducive rather than business environment and do not readily accept leadership from those outside the creative sphere.

We help clients make significant improvements in the provision of creative services within their organisation by highlighting the special needs of creative people in the areas of environment, leadership and incentives.

Here’s a situation you may find familiar…Understanding Creatives

Creative Skill Set 1.4 – Stakeholder Engagement

Assessing the differing demands on creative services and the available resources

The majority of departments within an organisation respond positively when their performance is evaluated. Even when performance is below par, solutions can be found to improve things that involve a logical and methodical approach.

The exception is creative services – an area where everyone feels qualified to comment, yet they find it difficult to articulate or pinpoint specifics for improvement.
At Town & Town we find that the perception of creative services’ function is often misaligned with its capabilities. Knowing clearly what is expected of the creative services team by its stakeholders and understanding the team’s potential is an important first step towards building a team to meet those expectations.

Here’s a situation you may find familiar…Stakeholder Engagement

Creative Skill Set 1.3 – Productivity Benchmarking

Improving the productivity of creative services

How does an organisation know whether its people employed in creative positions have too much or not enough to do when it is so difficult to measure? Most managers would struggle to answer this question.

Measuring the productivity of employees involved in creative functions within an organisation is notoriously difficult, but it is an area that should be addressed by those serious about overall performance. It is also something welcomed by the creatives themselves. Expectation of performance in other areas is standard practice, and there is little difficulty in setting benchmarks.

At Town & Town we aim to quantify each piece of work undertaken by a creative employee in terms of cost and return for the organisation, measuring the results against agreed norms. This information allows us to test the effectiveness of the resource and make comparisons with competitors if that is what is required.

Here’s a situation you may find familiar…Productivity Benchmarking

Creative Skill Set 1.1 – Cost Analysis

Understanding pricing for creative services

It is likely that more errors are made in the procurement of creative services than in almost any other area. The ‘creative’ element is what makes it so difficult to quantify the value of each item.

Whilst there will always be ingredients of a creative campaign that are difficult to pin down, the vast majority of commissions can be broken down into the constituent parts and costed. This is a great help to anyone managing a busy creative department.

At Town & Town we undertake the task of breaking apart each item in the marketing mix and pricing each component, creating a rate card or ‘menu’ for the majority of marketing items. Armed with this information, the marketing executive gains a high degree of control over the budget.

Here’s a situation you may find familiar…Cost Analysis

Creative Skill Set 1.2 – Marketing Intelligence

Gaining an overview of competitor marketing behaviour

It is well known that, when marketing a service or product, the environment within which all messages are delivered is a key component of success. Perhaps what is less often recognised is that a competitor’s creative output, and the methods by which they deliver their message, can also influence the effectiveness of your own communication. For example, in a competitive market where there might be four or five major players, there is probably only room for one to gain attention by adopting an unconventional ‘ambush’ approach.

Whilst any marketing director worth his salt is likely to have a very good idea of what their competitors are up to on a campaign by campaign, product by product basis, very few have the time or resources to take a holistic look at how competitors are behaving across the wide range of communication channels that now exist.
At Town & Town, we not only gather this information into a manageable format, but present it in a succinct and relevant way to highlight different approaches among major competitors.

Here’s a situation you may find familiar…Marketing Intelligence

Creative Skill Set 4.1 – Communication Auditing

Understanding and reconciling conflicting objectives

In today’s competitive environment, organisations focus on the detailed analysis of each campaign they run and base future activity on the results. Some go further and allocate a cost against every response they get, so why is there a need to add to this careful, considered process?

At Town & Town we believe that if the only way to get responses is to constantly run promotions and money saving offers, then the marketing effort has only been successful in a limited way. To truly assess the effectiveness of the current creative work, one needs to look more closely at the brand building component to see whether a bank of goodwill (creative capital) is being created with your customers or eroded.

Good creative work can do more than just sell products and services; it goes beyond a bigger and brighter banner, a larger and more aggressive discount or cash incentive for customers to use your products or services. Truly effective creative can be a key component in building a loyal customer base. With our background and wide experience in creative service provision, we can assess the effectiveness of your creative output and measure it against your competitors.

Here’s a situation you may find familiar…Communication Auditing