Yesterdays AdAge had an interesting Op-Ed piece by Jeff Goodby (Goodby, Silverstien & Partners), where he discusses the validity of doing work just to win awards. “If we don’t reward work consumers have actually seen, we risk becoming irrelevant” is the headline and really sums up his thoughts. My thoughts are in a similar vein, but with some differences.
If we award the “best” or most creative work then as Mr. Goodby points out “We are, in effect, making things that serve our own agency brands instead of serving our clients.”. Now how much is the client meant to be happy vs. our staff or self image? This is a line, but not a fine one. We are all in a client service industry (remember what you learned in that first summer job at the burger shop – The customer is always right), and as such we need to put their needs and desires before ours. We must be their guide to what is tasteful, creative, & innovative but ultimately successful. The hard thing is to measure that success, to the client it is ROI or increased revenue, but to the creative staff it is that industry recognition and award that signifies success.
Now, we have won our share of awards in all shapes and metallic hues. But our clients for the most part don’t know nor do they ultimately care about them if their business objectives have been met. The marketing manager does get a jolt from the award but not as much as the rise of their revenue or a larger Marketing budget. Zemoga trys to always put the success of the client first. In our innovation sessions some of the most important questions we ask of clients are about their business objectives and their ROI. We try to make that our ROI, if the site or campaign does good, we feel good.
So I think that Mr. Goodby is on to something when he is discussing small campaigns or “out-and-out fakes” but I believe it is truly important to have awards and make sure that our staff is recognized not just by the industry but by their company and their clients. We are starting a “campaign medals” program where we create small one inch buttons for every completed campaign or event for Zemoga. We give each employee these badges as a small memento of their effort and time spent helping us achieve our goals. So don’t be shocked to see us at the next conference covered in some awesome green & white buttons!
What are you doing to recognize your employees creative work and achievments?