“How much cloud network security work have you done for emerging markets?”
That’s a real question we were asked in a new business meeting not too long ago. I honestly don’t remember how we answered. We probably did an adequate job of walking through some vaguely relevant experiences.
Whatever we said, it was definitely the wrong answer. What we should have said was, “Thankfully, none.”
During a typical agency review process, you’re going to look at a lot of creative work. And, in order to validate your decision, you may be tempted to ask to see work from your category. Resist.
One of the most valuable skills a good creative partner provides is their ability to quickly and thoroughly learn something new and complex.()
And that’s because really creative thinkers are motivated by a deep and un-abiding curiosity. They’re not just interested in learning new concepts—knowing nothing about something is when their brains (and hearts) are most engaged. And this makes them particularly good listeners and passionate learners.
In fact, it’s often easier for the best creatives to dive into completely foreign territory than it is to express a new idea on a subject they’re overly familiar with.
Sure, examples of creative work from within your category could be considered evidence of a deeper level of understanding, but that evidence may be circumstantial.
Studies have shown that getting up to speed quickly is no less an effective way to achieve a working knowledge of a subject.
At Novio, we often tell new clients that five to seven interviews (with the right people) is all we need to get started. We’re always happy to do more, but the law of diminishing returns kicks in pretty quickly.
So, instead of asking about previous experience, consider asking to see work from a category you know nothing about; the more obscure and even uninteresting to you the better.
If that work resonates with you, well, then you just may be talking to the right people.