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Creative Studio Partnership: How to Get the Most Out Of a Partnership

Choosing to partner with a creative studio is an important step for your company, and one that we don't take lightly. There are many questions to ask when seeking out a creative studio to trust with some of your most precious assets, i.e. brand visuals, promotions, and creativity. From skill level, to communication, to trust, all factors are critical to that partnership.

We value the relationships we've built with our clients and future prospects and after 25+ years in the business, so we've put together some articles on what we believe makes those partnerships successful, from toolkits, communication, and successful project management.

When it comes to building a sustainable brand, it’s good to have friends. A unique brand personality is key, but that doesn’t mean that a brand needs to be isolated in order to stand out. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Creative partnerships with studios, agencies, and even other brands can help get brands in front of new audiences and experiment with new platforms and ideas.

Considering a Creative Partnership

As a brand stakeholder, it’s natural to want to protect the brand. It might feel like no one knows your brand better than you or your internal creative team. While it’s true that a great internal creative team can represent a brand like no other, for a number of reasons, they can’t do everything. 

To begin with, a survey conducted by the In-House Agency Forum (IHAF) reported that over half of the respondents felt their internal creative teams were underfunded. A brand needs almost constant content creation, marketing materials, and brand assets. So, it’s no wonder internal teams need outside resources when they are understaffed. 

Of course, some brands don’t have access to an internal creative team at all. When this is the case, it’s more a matter of when to take on a creative partnership than if a partnership is needed. Every company and organization is a brand, and every brand needs to think creatively about how it appears and interacts with its audience.

But, there’s more to it than that. Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “You can’t see the label from inside the...

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The First Law of Mentat: “A process cannot be understood by stopping it. Understanding must move with the flow of the process, must join it and flow with it.”― Frank Herbert, Dune

Okay, so project management may not be exactly the same as training your mind into being a human-computer cognitive hybrid that Frank Herbert wrote about in 1965 (and I do realize that reference will only entertain a handful of people), but he makes a good point. In the creative field, especially as a vendor, jobs will come (if you’re lucky) and they will do so at their own pace, with their own unique timelines and challenges. What they hold in common is that they have to move. A project is not a project if it’s standing still - that would be an idea.

If the Dune reference was too cerebral, let’s use a physical one. If you’ve ever tried stepping onto an already-moving treadmill before, you’ll understand when I say that there’s a moment of split second poise and calculation before your foot touches the belt, but the real trick to not falling on your face, is in that next moment of acceptance. The floor is now moving, and you, your body and your mind, have to move at a balanced pace until equilibrium is met. You find that space of understanding between your pace and the moving belt beneath you. This is how stepping into a project feels. All of those moments, from the assessment, to the decision to interact, to the first contact, to the married pace, are all equally crucial and, let’s face it,...

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Creative partnerships between a studio and a brand go together like peanut butter and jelly. When they fit, they are simply meant to be, but sometimes it takes time to develop these kinds of relationships and even then there are keys to lasting success. Our team has years of experience with forming these collaborative bonds, so we've pulled together our 4 keys to a successful creative partnership.

Whether you're the creative studio/agency or the client/brand, there are responsibilities on both sides that deliver a tasty, and successful, combination.

1. Mutual Respect 

Strong, solid, and lasting creative partnerships are formed with a basis of mutual respect from each party, to each party. When either side doesn't have respect for one another the partnership isn't really a partnership anymore. It becomes an unbalanced sticky peanut butter sandwich (if we want to stick with the sandwich analogies here)

Mutual respect is critical in projects with tight deadlines, turnarounds, or an extensive list of deliverables. When a brand knows the difficulty of the project or understands the stress the studio/agency is under to pull it off, their respect means the world. And similarly, when a studio/agency has empathy and understands that their brand contact has tight deadlines and reports, it creates a solid bond.

2. Trust

Taking on a creative endeavor with someone is analogous to raising a child together. You both carry responsibility and you both want the absolute best outcome...

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We are big believers in toolkits. Toolkits give clients the ability to independently implement graphics packages without having to constantly rely on us for minor updates. While keeping clients reliant might sound like a dependable way to earn more business, we'd much rather have clients who are thrilled with the work and end up with a frictionless experience, so they can focus on what they do best.

But handing over an After Effects toolkit can be daunting. Some projects include thousands of files, specialized plugins, and intricately designed layers and keyframes. The last thing we want is to have a client open up their shiny new graphics package only to find layers not working, unlinked footage, or everything to be a disorganized mess. You aren’t just delivering a collection of files via Dropbox. You’re delivering an experience. 

The experience needs to be as delightful as the design. 

Who This Guide Is For

We’re writing this guide from the perspective of an agency that regularly delivers easy-to-use toolkits, because that’s who we are. If you are creating a toolkit for someone else to use, we hope this will give you some ideas on how to make life easier for everyone. 

If you are a client working with an agency or design studio, it’s important to know what to expect and what to ask for at the beginning of the project. We believe that this information will help you make sure you are getting everything you hope for, no matter who your project is with.

First Steps

Planning...

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