Is Your Digital Creative Contractor a Blender?
By Mark Greene, Pecos Design, NYC
Whether they’re offering video services, animation, interactive, or other creative services, digital creative contractors/consultants fall somewhere along a continuum. On one side are the visioneers, on the other, the brick layers, and in a range along the middle are the blenders.
Visioneers, Brick Layers and Blenders
Visioneers are the guys who drive the big picture re-imagining and re-purposing of corporate messaging. They are guru types, who focus on client service and project management. They have fewer hands-on design or production skills and often work with sub-contractors.
Brick layers do the building and making of animations, interactive, video, print production and other deliverables. They need a marketing manager or a visioneer to provide the framework and creative concepts for their deliverables.
Blenders are a combination of visioneer and brick layer. Skilled blenders can provide a clear vision for marketing messages as well as the ability to construct effective deliverables. They provide a lot of bang for the buck, bringing a balanced and highly developed combination of vision, messaging and production skills. Regardless of whether you’re seeking video services, interactive, animation, or other creative services via an independent contractor, you probably want a blender.
Blenders also bring another level of value. While understanding and holding the conceptual goals of a project, blenders also bring a wide range of process knowledge both from the design side and the production side. Due to their depth of practical experience, they are better able to lead creative teams, manage vendors and allocate resources. Blenders can quantify value over time and target projects with the level and type of resources they require. As project leaders and managers, blenders provide clear and very specific information conduits, selling ideas and communicating priorities up and down the chain of internal and external stakeholders.
How do I spot a Blender?
If you are looking to spot a blender, here are four key questions to ask a prospective independent marketing consultant.:
1) Does the perspective digital creative contractor write copy as part of their services? - The ability to write marketing copy immediately signals a capacity to hold and interpret a wide range of branding and marketing priorities. This requires big picture thinking and an ability to take on the client “voice.” This is one clear marker of a blender.
2) Does the digital creative contractor work at the expert level with a wide range of creative software? This tells you how much digital firepower he or she can bring to bear on a project without the time lags associated with sub contractors.
3) Does the digital creative contractor own a wide range of hardware? Along with computers, and digital video cameras, a fully equipped marketing creative will also own auxiliary equipment such as audio and lighting equipment. Look for evidence of full production capabilities.
4) Does the digital creative contractor have a wide range of clients? If your prospective marketing consultant has a history of working successfully with a range of corporate cultures, it means he or she is highly adaptive. A skill set crucial to quickly and successfully taking ownership of your company’s brand and messaging.
These four questions address a range of contributing factors the indicate the presence of a blender. Of course other factors will inform your choice to hire a consultant. These factors include the quality of his or her design work, the timeliness and effectiveness of their communication skills and their personal way of approaching business relationships. But if that stuff checks out AND your creative services contractor answers yes to these four questions, consider yourself lucky. You’ve got a blender.