It was the notorious thinker Rocky Balboa who said: “It ain’t about how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” Yes, I’m opening my text with a quote from a great Sylvester Stallone movie. Zero regrets.
This article is called The Art of Frustration because, as creatives, this is the most important skill-that’s-not-in-our-job-description that we have to be great at. Dealing with the let-downs we face in advertising – as professionals or as agencies – is as essential to building a culture of creativity as our ability to come up with great ideas every day. We have to keep moving forward. We have to keep trying, just like Rocky wants us to do – especially in this region.
This is a place of superlatives and innovations, that invests in technology, new ways of transport, new ways of living. Yet, I feel our business moves in the opposite direction. It values mediocracy. “Dealing with the let downs we face in advertising is as essential as our ability to come up with great ideas every day.”
When we’re talking to clients, I always feel that they live by the line, “Slow and steady wins the race.” And that can be very frustrating. I believe “slow and steady” only cross the finish line in the bottom half – It gets you there, but no one will remember your name. And that’s what advertising is about: being remembered. Changing that scenario must start with us. That’s what we’re trying to do here at MullenLowe. Getting all areas of the agency together, working in the same direction and trying to bring the clients to our team.
The process of change and improvement can be very frustrating. It’s hard, it takes courage. We can’t avoid the occasional let-downs of it, but we can prevent these moments from stopping us reaching excellence for our clients and for us.
Handling frustration is like an art because it takes time to master it. It’s harder in the beginning, but it gives us the ability to do impressive things. We have clients that offer prime service, ground-breaking products, state-of-the-art technology. The least we can do is provide them with the same when it comes to their communication.
We will always bring our best to the clients. If they don’t want it, we’ll convince them. If not now, then next time. Or the following. As many times as necessary. Getting hit and moving forward. Everyone needs great ideas – clients, agencies, creatives. Great ideas take audacity, hard work, and frustrations.
Keeping on building the creative industry is up to us. We need to get together, think big, think different, work hard and keep moving forward. Tomorrow’s frustrations are awaiting, and we’re not giving up.