LeAnn Wilson McGuire Writing her Right Brain column

Right Brain

by LeAnn Wilson McGuire

I didn’t write Christmas cards this year. I was too busy working, In fact, I was lucky to have toys for my kids on Christmas Eve. But I’m not complaining. WilsonMcGuire Creative is off to a great start. While many shops are faltering, we’re burning the midnight oil.

One reason we’re so busy is because there aren’t many of us. That’s part of our philosophy at WilsonMcGuire. We believe the fewer people there are on a project, the better the work. Why? Because if it’s only you and one or two others on a project, it’s YOUR responsibility. There’s nowhere to hide. There are no excuses. You get the credit – or the blame.

I love that.

Decreasing the number of people on each project also streamlines the number of processes involved. We have fewer meetings but more conversations. Fewer empty speeches but more educated thought. We do less paperwork and more creative work. Less posturing and more positioning.

Not everyone can work in an environment like this. You have to be responsible. You have to be a self-initiator. You have to be good at what you do – committed to making every project as good as it can be. Those qualities are surprisingly rare in this business.

After years of working in agencies layered like onions, most of us are accustomed to excusing the weaknesses in our work. Creative types say the strategy was weak. Strategic folks say the creative was off brand. And, if it’s really bad, you blame the client for choosing bad work over good. It’s an easy out. But in the end, it’s the agency that produces the work. So what’s the excuse?

The way I see it, when a client hires our company to do their advertising, their brand becomes our responsibility. And if they have limitations about what they can say or how they can say it, it’s our job to do good work WITHIN those limitations. After all, that’s why they pay us.

Our flagship client, Pinehurst Resort is a good example of that. Pinehurst hosted the U.S. Open Championship on course No. 2 in 1999 and will do so again in 2005 (the fastest return in U.S. Open history). No. 2 is one of only three U.S. Open courses that the public can play. Pinehurst wants to publicize this fact, but there are stringent USGA rules and limitations on how they can present this information.

We could easily churn out an ad that simply says what they want to say. But it’s our job to communicate it creatively – in a way that will connect with their target audience. So we’ll work a little bit longer to make sure we do.

We don’t mind hard work at WilsonMcGuire Creative. We’re doing exactly what we want to do – exactly how we want to do it.

Just forgive us if we don’t send out New Year’s cards.