There’s a pervasive entrepreneur culture today that demands that we hustle, that we grind and that even when we aren’t doing either – that we appear to be. In fact, those two words are the most popular on our Instagram account by way of bringing in likes and followers (seriously, try it). But the sad reality is, that simply because we will something to work, and put everything we have behind it – doesn’t mean it will, despite the millions of inspirational and motivational Youtube videos that suggest it will.
For the past year, we have retooled and reprised our business approach and at this one year anniversary of doing just that – we find ourselves way more fulfilled from this strategic shift – happier, satiated, more in control of our destinies – but yet – not quite there. While we do want to discuss more about that strategic shift, we can’t (just yet) so for now, let’s just cover what we’ve learned along this one year journey.
5 Things We Learned While Trying to Build Creative Products in T&T
1. Creative Products are really Creative Thingamabobs
In approaching agencies and companies alike for two very separate projects in TV and in print, we found that neither of these products were regarded as something to which you could assign a particular value. We know when we purchase something like a house or car there is inherent value – even insurance has a suggested inherent value -but we don’t yet seem to ascribe value to creative products. They were seen as being excellent opportunities for things like ‘brand partnerships’ and ‘awareness vehicles’ but they were more seen as a place to spend some of this year’s budget while appearing to be doing something groundbreaking for the client or your marketing. How then, can we ever truly realise our dreams for a creative economy without a proper understanding and system in place to audit, review and select creative projects for funding and sponsorship? Is there any wonder why so many Caribbean organisations go to the High Commissions, embassies and foreign NGO’s for funding? Or why young people are leaving in droves not for better places and spaces but for better and fairer opportunities? Not that those who pull the purse strings are entirely to blame – given the number of absolutely badly-planned magazines, TV shows and more that are created here daily…
PS: Speaking of which, please bring back No Boundaries and Dateline along with TTT.
Need a brand creation team or magazine design solution? Message us here.
2. People Don’t Read
We have 7-page briefs, 3-page summaries of those and even 1-page cheat sheets. And even then, companies simply didn’t care to read any of it and preferred to call and email with questions that could have been answered by a Standard Five student with any of our (amazing) PDFs in front of them. Are we that lazy as a people? Don’t answer that.
3. Always add agency commissions to anything you send out
Cuz then the agency (after having not read the document properly) will send it to the client. Then note when the client signs, that even though our rate is say $100, they can only pay us $70, so they take out their commission. It’s absurd. That’s like accepting a $5 doubles from your fave vendor, then telling him you can only pay him $4 since you need to charge your friend the $1 to drop it off by them after. No, the price given is the price to be paid. Full stop. So be sure to check in with agencies and see if you can add a commission range to your media kits or proposals prior. Plus, as we’re a bit lazy, they can just forward it on to the client. Easy breezy. Money for nothing and the chicks for free.
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4. Calls and emails can go unanswered – forever- it’s the Caribbean after all
We found ourselves in as much as 9-week negotiations between agencies, clients and partners – then only to find that the conversation goes dead and no explanations are given. Calls / Whatsapps / Emails and more go unanswered. Cuz yes we can. It’s simply a case of acknowledgment sometime. Hello, I’m a human with a real feelings too ya know.
5. Connections with People win everytime
It’s a small island – let’s face it. And the ‘it’s who you know’ is only matched by the ‘it’s who knows you’. 9/10 times our responses came by way of mutual introductions via email or in-person. If you want to really build a name for yourself or your company – start by creating connections with those in the industry of your specific choice. Bonus tip: some creative favours earlier on in your career or your company’s journey go a long way later on, but don’t bank on these. It’s always good practice to simply live good with your partners, clients and friends. To this day, we have spent nothing on advertising and exist entirely by client referral. That’s five years of referrals. Good business is ultimately good business.
See you next week. Peace.
Huckleberry Media Co.