There are two McDonalds across the street from you, which one do you choose?
It sounds like an opening line to a riddle, but it’s the same choice your clients face every day. Substitute McDonalds with editorial shop, graphics vendor, or sound studio, and you’ll see where I’m going with this. If you’re worthy of being in the running for the job, you probably have the same equipment as the guys next door. And if the producer that’s calling you is worth their day rate, he or she can probably get you both to agree to the pre-determined budget total. So from across the street everything looks the same. Your job (if you choose to accept it), is to prove to your client that you’re not the same.
So be funnier, be on-time, be on budget, be more creative, be responsive, but basically, be better. Doing all of this won’t guarantee you every future job with these clients, but it will lock you in for many years to come. After all, the key to long-term growth is building long-term relationships.
The creative industry has turned into the Wild West. If you want success you have to go out and claim it. Nothing will be handed to you. There is no map or trail that will guide us, so we have to draw up our own map.
You’re not going to hear me complain about it though, I’d rather think of a solution. Yes, post-houses are doing production, and production companies are getting into post. Sound design & music have become one. No experience is necessary to purchase Final Cut Pro or After Effects, and advertising agencies are doing all of the above in-house.
And I think it’s great, for everyone involved (especially the brand). But the key is… if you put yourself out there and offer services that you haven’t offered before, you better be good at it. You better be ready to perform at the level that everyone has come to expect. You better improve on the client relationship, and not just execute the boards. Because if you don’t, there is someone else out there that is ready and willing to earn your client’s trust.