023 - Unpacking the Creative Director - Freelancer Relationship
RICHARD IS BACK! Thank the good Lord.
Richard recently became the Creative Director for Mizzen+Main and he has learned a lot in just a few months. In this episode, we share what he has learned as a Creative Director so you can be a better freelancer.
Mizzen+Main is a performance men's wear company. Basically imagine if Nike made a really nice dress shirt, now go buy that from Mizzen+Main cause they made it.
The main thing Richard has learned…
It's all about selling the product.
It's not about making something cool, it's about your client investing in a tool to make them money. You need to fully understand why your client is hiring you. What problem are you solving?
What you create needs to "move the needle".
The client doesn't really matter how cool it is, they are looking at the numbers in a few months to see if they made money.
You can't just make things that you think would be cool. You need to be making things that the client's target audience will think is cool that will lead to a sale.
Having a cool idea is good! But only if it is going to make a client money and add value to their business.
"Moving the needle" is all the Creative Director (your client) is thinking about. They want to make cool stuff, but their number one goal is to help sell product and the brand's image.
Don't be a "my idea first" kind of freelancer. Understand their problem and then create an awesome idea to fix their problem.
The Creative Director spends a lot of time thinking about the customer and trying to understand their mindset. They are obsessed with trying to meet the consumer in a creative way that will lead to sales. They understand their target audience and current problems, if they make suggestions, listen to them.
The Creative Director's job is to clearly communicate the core massage of a business to convert potential customers.
Freelancers don't usually think so deeply about these things. We are so focused on getting the project done and going to the next thing. Great ideas take time. Time spent thinking deeply about a potential project counts as pre-production, it's a part of the process, it's "billable" time. That is your "creative fee" and what makes you valuable.
Budgets are real. As freelancers, dealing with budgets can be annoying… but we do have to understand businesses only have a certain amount of money to spend.
We also need to make sure that everything that is expected by both parties is clearly lined out as the project begins.
You aren't going to just turn a $3,000 client into a $30,000 client from a cool idea. You might be able to turn a $3,000 client into a $4k of $5k client if you have a cool idea and a legitimate plan to increase the companies ROI on the project.
The Creative Director's job is to think and execute, compared to a freelancer who's job is to prospect and execute and then prospect again.
When pitching to Creative Directors, pitch your idea as the way to solve their problem instead of trying to force the solution of the problem into a random cool idea you have.
The Creative Director also is thinking beyond just creating content. They are thinking about the context of presenting the content they create to move potential customers to the sale.
Check out Episode 21 about how important the Context of Content is.
Check out Mizzen+Main to follow along with what Richard is doing.