Best case 4

The creative industry in the domestic market is developing in a good direction – the projects that are coming to agencies are increasingly challenging and the competition is growing. How does one stand out in this dynamic environment? How to draw attention to yourself, your qualities and your knowledge? These are the questions that all agencies which are building their reputation in the creative industry are faced with.

Let’s take the Super Bowl as an example, a famous day when we admire the most creative campaigns that will basically mark the whole year. Celebrities, high production, great scenarios, ingenious messages and generous budgets – all that with one sole purpose, to make that one commercial stand out in the crowd. To me personally, the Super Bowl represents freedom. We are used to pushing the boundaries when we take a look at what’s happening in the beer, sports, car industries, etc. But this is the day when “boring” things get to spread their wings – when we acknowledge that a tax-calculating campaign has made a great impression, that’s when we know that creativity has won.

But what happens when we go back to reality, to projects that do not have much freedom of expression?

We come in a situation where we, as an agency, have to reduce our creativity to a conventional manner. And that’s okay, because what’s important is the ultimate goal – and that is to make all participants happy with the outcome. On the other hand, with long-term cooperation comes a saturation, because the activities become stagnant, the projects begin to resemble each other and the space for creativity becomes more limited. As the number of activities increases, so does the operations business, while the decrease happens in the interesting, creative ones. Preparation and implementation become a routine, and therein lies the greatest danger of the creative mindset to drastically diminish, fall asleep.

Workshops as a tool for creative stimulation have brought results. However, they are short-term because as soon as we return to the real situation, we become the slaves of the routine. This is due the difficulty of balancing the workload, work tasks and the given deadlines.

It is for the above reasons that in-house projects are gaining popularity with agencies. They give us winds in our sails because we are the ones who take responsibility and make decisions all the way, from the idea to implementation. These projects mean freedom of expression and they mean breaking through barriers. We can practically observe them as a tool for stimulating creative thinking, which gives us direct benefit. The benefits can be classified as tangible and intangible. The tangible ones have a clear aim to make money out of the project, while the intangible ones aim towards building a reputation, raising awareness of the quality, but also development of employees. Creating a special team has proven to be a good practice with every in-house project – a team made up of members who maybe even haven’t had the opportunity to collaborate often because of the nature of their clients.

It is important for the agency to have its own creative valve that will interact with all team members so they don’t get trapped in their comfort zone. This type of organization produces results in many ways. For example, each team member develops project approaches that are in line with the nature of the client, and clients are known to be different. So, by working in a diverse team, we are developing a way of thinking – we are complementing our knowledge and our experiences with a different approach developed by our colleagues. We are embracing new ways to approach problem solving and are constantly improving. Another approach is to share experiences – in such a way we can tailor an approach that can contribute to our work with the client.

An additional challenge in the design and implementation of internal projects is the time and defined deadlines. Priority is given to clients and running tasks, which may lead to the development delay. There is a need to strike a balance between ongoing activities and internal projects. This may even be the hardest thing to reconcile.

We at Storyline have found inspiration in our immediate surroundings, in Belgrade. We created an adult coloring book with the capital’s motives, which we named “Belgrade in Color”. It contains 30 detailed, hand designed illustrations. In such a way we were able to step out of the established framework and improve our skills when it comes to design and illustration. As already mentioned in this text, there was a concrete benefit of the publishing company recognizing the quality and taking over the production. Today, we have something tangible behind us, which authentically describes our approach, creativity and commitment. Moreover, it serves as a very cool tool for meeting new clients.

It is said that the shoemaker wears the worst shoes – but when he manages to balance his time and obligations, he will make himself the best possible shoes, which will attract even more customers. This is precisely the thought that agencies should have in mind when it comes to the internal projects.

*Interview for the portal “Marketing mreža”


Nenad Sićević

CEO of Storyline