Sustainability: a key to mutual growth
entry no. 30
Go big or go home. Sounds cool, hypes you up, but honestly hasn't been a focus or helpful mentality for our clients or us. We feel it's more beneficial to meet our clients where they are (knowing their desires, limitations, and expectations), understand their problems, and prescribe practical proposals to projects. Sounds boring, right? Maybe a little, but the main viewpoint we keep is "simple executed dynamically." Taking the time to build a relationship with our clients, inform them, and shape their ideas into an action plan creates trust, alignment and allows us to share how we design sustainable projects.
Today, we're chatting about sustainable projects. As creatives, we want to make our best work, and it's frustrating when a budget isn't what we want, but it doesn't mean nothing is possible. We aren't suggesting we accept every project offer, but we do maintain realistic expectations. The majority of artists have some budget in mind and some vision they see for the project. Our job is to discover these factors and also see what long-term goals are. This all plays a role in sustainability.
The truth is, music videos aren't going to be a make or break. It's unlikely for them to go viral, and even then, the fans are there for the music. The music video basically needs to be a legitimizer. It's a checklist item for the viewer. It can't look bad, or people will turn away; however, a more expensive project doesn't necessarily equate to better viewership or increased fans. That comes from strategy and brand integrity.
We see our best work as the projects that move our artist's careers forward. The music industry is pretty unclear and full of false hope or disappointments. We want our projects to feel optimistic, deliver positive results, and incrementally create more healthy, less guarded budgets. We earned our place in the market by consistently putting our clients' best interests first, which gave us more opportunities to flex our creative muscles. You earn trust to execute creativity every time you make a positive interaction.
Here's an excellent way to view your client's relationship. Let's imagine you have a joint bank account. Every positive action is a deposit, and every negative is a withdrawal. Given you are making more deposits than withdrawals, the relationship is in good health, but the goal is to deposit and grow consistently. Let's call it a win-win mentality.
Creativity and solving problems are about more than the budget. Yes, money solves problems, but your relationship has an impact. The more fluid you are with your clients, the easier it is to solve a problem. Once you understand, respect, and trust each other, time spent educating decreases, and time creating increases. This isn't an overnight process, but if you view clients as investments instead of transactions, good things happen.
Ok, so practically speaking, what do we mean by sustainable projects? Basically, what our artists afford to do today and in the future. We're video experts, and most of our artists are passionate and excited to release their music. We by no means what to diminish this, but we do look out for them and help them choose the best package.
A single day of production can range between $4-$10k easily, but getting to know what's within a realistic budget for the immediate timeline and thinking of the future helps us work together now and later. While each project is different, we need to think back to the checklist mentality for the fans. If one video is top-notch, and then it's followed by a "rough around the edges" project or too DIY, then you are risking brand equity. Each project should be consistent in quality or a step above the last— building upon your brand, incremental growth, story-telling, and delivering a good experience for the fans. When we do discovery calls with new clients, this is where we start.
Our job is to protect our artists' best interest and properly digest the information and problems they are facing. This is a proper diagnosis. Once you do that work, it impacts a better prescription. We all want to do good work, and when both the creative and the artists have a successful project, it builds mutual growth, adds to the relationship bank account, and makes you feel good deep down.
Take away Action Points
Music videos aren't game-changers
Relationships over transactions
Diagnose before you prescribe
Incrementally grow together
Consistency builds brand equity
If this blog felt inspiring or something you feel empowered to try, we highly recommend Blair Enns "The Win Without Pitching Manifesto."