This week the number of creatives on blur Group’s Creative Services Exchange will pass the 13,000 mark. These 13,000 are a mix of creative independents, many of them who’ve worked for the ‘big boys’, and those small to mid-sized agencies who recognize that there’s value in being part of a creative crowd.
Yes, there is value to the creative. There is a feeling that Crowdsourcing is great for those wanting say a design project, but not so great for those delivering it.
It’s why blur Group pioneered Crowdsourcing 2.0: differentiating from the mass response to miniscule projects. Showing that taking an expert, managed approach, there’s a way to benefit from the power of the Crowd for significant marketing projects and not just the ubiquitous logo design contests.
The creative benefits from exposure to this greater variety of business and ultimately, from the greater potential for business.
It’s the philosophy behind the launch of the Creative Services Exchange. It’s about brokering transactions: exchanging creative requirement for creative response. It’s a level playing field. We’re democratizing creativity. Here’s how it benefits creative professionals:
1) Pitches are won based on creative flair, not the offices you’re running them from. When the process from brief to pitch is conducted online, you’re evaluated purely on the basis of your experience and the quality of your work, not on the plushness of your sofas. The customer is not going to be swung by your espresso machine, but by just how good you are for them.
2) Creatives on the Exchange benefit from community as well as new business exposure. We deliberately made the Exchange community-focused from the perspective of the Creative. That way you can have the social interaction with relevant peers that makes the virtual world as professionally stimulating as any office environment.
3) Brief managers support the creatives as they develop winning pitches. They manage the process for both customer and creative. It ensures that everyone who’s suitable gets the best opportunity. Even with a Crowd of 13,000 no-one is anonymous. The final decision is down to the customer, but we want that playing field to be level right to that decision point. We’ve developed pitch tools to help. We have frameworks to help your business develop. Being on the Exchange can develop your skills and portfolio.
4) You only pitch to the point you would for any newbiz pitch: you don’t have to produce final work. Most of the anti-crowdsourcing sentiment focuses on the spec work debate. And the fact that earnings per annum can be calculated in cents as a result. We can’t say that you can coast your way to a winning pitch: but we expect the pitch to be creds and concept, not final deliverables. In other words, it’s what most agencies would expect to do to win business: it’s just we’ve reduced your overheads in winning that business.
5) You have a relationship with the customer. You may not choose to meet with them: when you consider that you may be a creative in Singapore winning some business in Sweden, it’s not altogether feasible. It’s why we provide a secure collaboration platform. But you interact daily and we help with that interaction when necessary. And many of our creatives have gone on to further projects from an initial success.
6) You focus on your creative work. The brief is your newbiz opportunity: one that we’ve invested marketing dollars in getting – not you.
It’s important to blur Group that all creatives get the chance to focus on Creativity – whether it’s design, marketing, art, writing or innovation. Our philosophy is about blurring boundaries, and opening up opportunities.
In time we expect that 13,000 will just be a tiny proportion of creatives benefiting from the Exchange process. Gradually businesses will realize that they want that freedom to choose the best creative option for their work, whether it turns out to be their incumbent agency provider, or some smart new talent many miles away. And to make that choice through a single platform, a seamless process from brief to delivery. Web technologies and cloud computing have all contributed to this capability to open up creative sourcing. If everyone is in the Crowd, there’ll be no concept of good or bad Crowdsourcing. Creativity will win out. And the selection of that creative will be a democratic process. That can only be good for everyone.