It’s easy for advertising agencies to forget about the incredibly valuable work they can do in helping others.
But that’s the world of marketing. You’re so focused on concepting and executing the work, that you don’t always get a chance to hear how it reverberates in the marketplace.
Sure, analytics are hugely helpful. Metrics like impressions, reach, social mentions, engagement level, click through rate, site visits, conversions and page views are brilliant tools. Especially for understanding the quantitative effectiveness of marketing campaigns. But rarely does an agency get such a personal account of how their work impacts the life of individual people.
And so, when it does happen, it not only makes you feel proud of the work you do, but more importantly, inspires you to keep doing more of it. And that’s not an insignificant thing. Every creative professional needs reminders that their work matters. They need devices to stay inspired when it’s their job to inspire others.
We recently read a very powerful article written by a young woman in Brooklyn who shared an experience about how Bandujo’s domestic violence campaign from the NYC Department of Health helped her understand her situation and finally get out.
“Those ads were everywhere in the city. Every time I saw the poster, I used to go down the list, mentally checking off items. Often, I’d be looking at it while I waited for a train after leaving my boyfriend’s house late at night. Our fights often ended with me grabbing my bag and hoping I’d make it to the subway station before he could catch up with me.
Once I barely made it out the door; he slammed it on my arm as I escaped. Running down the street, shoulder throbbing, I hoped there would be a visible bruise the next day. Then I could check the last item off the list: Battered.
At the bottom of the anti-domestic violence ad campaign posters, there was a number to call. We can help, it said. Free, safe, and confidential. Emergency shelter. Emotional support. Public benefits. Job assistance. Children’s counseling. Legal services.
And so, I surreptitiously snapped a picture with my phone, hoping no one would notice. Because I know how it feels to be bullied. To be scared. To know that no one will believe you. To not even believe yourself.
I think about all the people who have asked me why I didn’t leave my abusive boyfriend sooner, and I still don’t have an answer good enough to satisfy myself, never mind anyone else. But I do know something about how much courage it takes to admit that someone has hurt you. And I know what it feels like not to be believed.”
That’s a reason to come into work tomorrow. And the next day. And the next day after that. Simply knowing that a thing you made inspired a complete stranger to change her life for the better, that keeps you going creatively.
The secret for keeping creative teams engaged
And so, if your job is to inspire others, how do you keep yourself inspired? How do you remind your creative team about the incredibly valuable work they can do in helping others?
Gallup famously spent thirty years writing and testing hundreds of questions to accurately measure this very issue. Based on their in-depth behavioral economic research, involving more than seventeen million employees, they identified twelve core elements that link powerfully to employee engagement. Here are the questions:
- Do you know what is expected of you at work?
- Do you have the materials and equipment to do your work right?
- At work, do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day?
- In the last seven days, have you received recognition or praise for doing good work?
- Does your supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about you as a person?
- Is there someone at work who encourages your development?
- At work, do your opinions seem to count?
- Does the mission/purpose of your company make you feel your job is important?
- Are your team members committed to doing quality work?
- Do you have a best friend at work?
- In the last six months, has someone at work talked to you about your progress?
- In the last year, have you had opportunities to learn and grow?
Each of these questions is essential.
But after reading Elizabeth’s article about how our domestic violence campaign helped her understand her situation and finally get out, one question in particular stood out:
Does the mission/purpose of your company make you feel your job is important?
Our agency is fortunate enough to answer that question with a resounding yes. Even when the hours are long and the deadlines are tight, everyone on our team still comes to the office every morning genuinely excited about doing great work.
Socrates once said, to know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.
Perhaps in the creative world, to inspire thyself is the beginning of motivation.