Managing director, JWI
In our industry, the constant pursuit to keep creativity fresh and disruptive is real. But remember creative inspiration can come from anywhere. Creatives who work across diverse categories, with exposure to a variety of targets and objectives, can develop a deeper scope for the mind to be inspired. And then there’s the question of motivation. If confined to a single client, we run the risk of developing a herd mentality and delivering stagnant creativity. To fight complacency and create truly agile and dynamic teams, agencies should consider adopting a more integrated approach, empowering creatives to be more agile, developing transferable skills and ultimately removing limitations placed on their creativity.
Account director, Keko Dubai
Creatives get more inspired working on various brands, as it pushes them to look out for best practices and benchmarks across many categories. Working solely on one brand could create ‘creative fatigue’ where they do not feel challenged, as they would be working with the same client, guidelines, tone of voice, etc. At the same time, squeezing creatives to work on too many brands is not ideal either, as they need to grow their knowledge and expertise on each brand to create the most relevant ideas for them. Doing so while managing 10 different brands does not seem very productive.
Group head of marketing and corporate communication, Al Masaood
Creative teams can benefit from the cross-pollination of ideas that come up from the different types of client industries. While account handling is very much needed to be laser focused on a single client to work out the logistical nuances of work, having diversity in the cooks of the creative kitchen can bring about beautiful and compelling ideas. By doing so, stagnancy and repetitiveness of work can be avoided. Challenging the creatives with briefs from multiple sectors can re-energise them and challenge them to come up with great work.
Managing director, LPS
The answer is a conditional yes to dedicated teams. Client specialisation is an advantage, especially with big idea campaigns giving way to always-on campaigns. The product understanding and validated learning are also significantly higher. We have also seen an elevated sense of ownership amongst team members, dedicated to client accounts. However, this advantage stands only if there is no horizontal insulation and teams are exposed to agency work across other clients and industry verticals. Agency workflows and team habits have to be consciously built, to promote conversations across creative teams. It is important to strike a balance between client specialisation and systemic agency-wide knowledge sharing.
Managing director, Cicero & Bernay Communication Consultancy
This question is nuanced and requires more than a simple binary response. While creative teams and account managers have much to gain from focusing on a singular client, I believe the diversity of tasks across multiple sectors and industries offers an exceptional learning opportunity. Supporting multiple clients broadens their creative spectrums and grants them the platform to intersect client campaigns towards delivering optimal, intuitive ideas. Creativity never thrives in captivity; the more exclusive a creative person is, the smaller the scope of their creative output.
Director, Rain Creative
Creative people get inspired by books, shows, movies, podcasts and art festivals. They bring these varied and diverse learnings to bear upon their craft. We often prefer creative people who have interests beyond just advertising because we know that an assortment of experiences leads to an enriched and fertile mind. Similarly, when creative teams work across several categories, they get exposed to unique challenges, multiple audience profiles and different consumer insights that align each brand with its audience. By working on brands across several categories, creative teams get better at examining a brief from many angles. Working across different categories means getting exposed to different consumer mindsets – barriers, expectations and aspirations. It is this diversity of experiences that helps creative teams give consumer insights a spin and come up with interesting solutions.
Director of marketing communications, Al Shaya Group
I don’t believe creative teams produce better work if they are dedicated to a single client, as inspiration comes from everywhere. By being exposed to multiple clients, multiple sectors and multiple customers, there is an increased understanding and knowledge as to what appeals to each of them, which can all be a very good stimulus for ideas even if it is from another sector. Furthermore, customers see multiple categories in their day-to-day lives and never any brand or creative execution in isolation. Therefore, it is important to always have a broad understanding of what they are also exposed to and ensure cut through and relevancy.
Creative director, Havas Creative Middle East
Every creative wants to produce work that moves people. And when you’re focused on one thing, you have the headspace to keep challenging and improving your work because it’s that one account, and you want to keep outdoing yourself. The challenge to produce fresh work is bigger. So, a single account means a bigger creative challenge but with a more creative focus.
When you work across multiple accounts, your brain gets trained to multitask like crazy, and your creative synapses are constantly sparked. It also evolves your mind differently than when you have to keep reinventing yourself on that one brand. So whichever one of the two you’re in, you’re growing.
Senior manager – marketing, GMG
The best creative teams are expected to have the highest standards of ownership of the ongoing projects, accountability for success metrics, in-depth understanding of the client’s brand identity, customer mindset and ever-evolving competition landscape. It will help creative teams produce better work if they remain focused on a single client, without having to share headspace across several clients in different sectors if it makes economic sense for the agency and the client.
The English poets of the Romantic movement were known to have their own unique way of working from self-exile to intoxication, which helped them produce literary masterpieces. Similarly, the creative visualisers, copywriters, video editors, etc. should also be allowed to decide which way of working helps them to stay on top of their creative game and aligns with their career goals.
Managing director – Nissan United Africa, Middle East, India, and Oceania, TBWA\RAAD
Having dedicated creative resources working on a single business builds a solid understanding of the brand’s character, identity, target audience, and the taste of the decision-makers in the business. The reward comes in different shapes and forms; quick approvals and hence a faster time-to-market, higher engagement given the diversity and precision of the produced creative assets, and, most importantly, better returns. All of this boosts the team motivation and excitement and creates the drive needed to create iconic work. And as Michael Jordan once said, “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.”
Digital design director, Netizency
While it may be appealing to focus on building creativity and training teams to work well on one client in the short term, the long-term results do more harm than good. Over time, being exposed to only one client can lead to a limited vision of curiosity and can deter us from the drive to consistently improve
Creative teams should have a well-rounded knowledge of different user habits, behaviours, and insights. That is key to being able to discover patterns, improve upon the ideas of others, and synthesise new ones. These creative differences and connections will help brands – and creatives – maintain relevance and will help build creative teams that are easily replaceable by the technological advancements of AI and automation.
Client services director, Tuesday Communications
It all depends on the creative person and their connection with the brand and client that they are working on. If the person is doing brilliant work on a certain client, then they must continue until they feel that it’s time for a new challenge. But diversity is paramount, especially when it comes to talent. I don’t think any good creative should limit themselves to a single client. The more brands a creative explores, the bigger his/her chances are to discover their path of excellence. It is also good to note that a lot of creative people connect emotionally with the brands they work on, especially the ones they win awards for. It becomes an ongoing challenge for them to always raise the bar.
Head of marketing, Jashanmal
Creative teams always benefit if they are working on several categories. This enables them to have a better understanding of various businesses and use that across their body of work. Working on a single client is like a horse with blinkers that only moves in one direction, and this can also lead to monotony of work. Working across several categories will always inspire teams to perform better and excel at their work with a well-rounded sensibility.
General manager – marketing communication Africa, Middle East, India and Oceania, Nissan
Having the same creative team in our business is crucial for several reasons. To ensure consistent brand communication, creative teams need to possess a deep understanding of the business goals, target audience, values and vision. This is no easy task and comes with time spent working closely with the brand and the client. Addressing the elephant in the room, we have to admit that creative work is subjective with some personal interpretations. Spending more time with clients helps creative teams build a personal connection and grasp the client’s preferences, which over time evolves into a collective tone of voice.