I've been using the word awesome for almost 30 years now so I feel close to what it means, stands for and how it makes people feel. One of the hardest things I've had to learn was that not everyone agreed with my definition of "awesome." Now, there's nothing wrong with these absolutely inaccurate definitions these other people have, it's just that my definition and understanding of awesome is more accurate. That said, once I was able to accept the fact there are different levels of awesome I was in a much better place. I'm sure many creatives have faced the same struggle, in fact I've had to coach many team members on this lesson.
Throughout the in-house industry we often have clients who say they want an "awesome video." While, as I mentioned above, I know what awesome is-it's crucial to learn what they think awesome is.
It's at the critical point of the project's onset that we need to ensure we're asking the best questions we can to achieve the true vision for the video (or other creative project). Creative brief-style questions such as "What is the purpose of the video" "Who is the audience" "In your mind, what will make the video a success" and others help us build the vision puzzle during the development phase. During this phase it is also our responsibility to educate clients around styles, preferred video lengths, what's trending, engagement tactics and what can be created at what cost. Video is an exploding medium. Everyone wants to use it for almost everything--and sometimes it's not the best medium for a project's goal. So it's critical that video producers and other team members exert their expertise in supporting the development of videos.
I think a lot of us have learned that for some clients-the best part of their day is sitting with our teams listening to our creative insights and expertise. This is a creative activity they rarely get to participate in, and if we find ways to make it enjoyable, we will start building trust with our client. This responsibility not only assists us in forming a relationship with the client but also proves that we are experts--a perception that separates us from being seen as "order takers," as this is not in the best interest of the project nor the client relationship. Picturing our creative ideas on a menu board and hearing the client state "I'd like the number 2 but hold the awesome graphics...oh and can you add 7 interviews on it...Aaaaand let's see...what else...do...I want" makes me slump into my chair, throw my head back and stare at the white ceiling. Not only that, but it's also likely to result in a video that is much longer than the average engagement rate. It's become too easy for our clients to shoot video on their smartphones and edit it themselves--this also does not result in an outcome that benefits the brand or the client. Therefore, it's imperative our teams appropriately educate clients on video best practices and the true effort necessary to create quality output.
Producing video (and well, anything creative) is supposed to be fun...we're creating something from our minds that thousands, and in some cases millions, of people will see. We have the privilege to create, make people smile, educate people on a new product, change lives, and inspire--so let's take a step back every once in a while and make sure we're not taking this privilege for granted. The fun is when people from different professional backgrounds, especially in the in-house environment, come together and can produce a product that meets their level of awesome and sometimes--now this is tricky--exceeds their definition of awesome. As we know, not every project calls for something from the mind of Wes Anderson, however there are times when the deliverable should rival that amazing Google commercial you just watched. We have to truly understand the client and their purpose to get this right...and even then we get it wrong sometimes. But it's about taking risks, going with our gut, truly partnering with our clients as the experts we are and constantly trying to increase the gauge on the level of awesome.