This is the story of a Creative Director from the advertising industry. Who meddled into scriptwriting for a time. And simultaneously began training and coaching advertising agencies.
Someone suggested he should train corporates, and that led him to an event organised by MTHR Global (More Than HR): A group of HR professionals who convene some fantastic events, introduce the HR professionals to new concepts and create a great opportunity for professionals to network with each other.
As it happens, a friend introduced him to a business person. A startup guy, founder of an HR automation firm.
And then, something interesting happened. This young entrepreneur was looking for a marketing consultant. Someone who could take care of his fledgeling brand. While he liked this advertising guy, he also had questions on his mind. Would a creative person with a ponytail, understand his business problems?
Because, it is one thing to crack an advertising campaign or design a logo, and a totally different ball game to make potential clients understand the intricacies of a software product.
But there are always some exceptions.
This Creative Director had worked in the past on Unilever brands, participated in many strategy sessions with Unilever marketing people. And had won awards in strategy workshops. He was involved in the launch of a news channel and had good amount of interaction with SME business owners. He was 'the' right person for this young entrepreneur. But, the young man wasn't aware of this background. All he saw was a colourful t-shirt and creative swag. Yet, a meeting was arranged. That's when the moment of truth came about.
In their meeting, the business person showed his website. Asked for creative inputs.
Here is how the interaction went:
CD: Before I comment on the look and feel of the website, can I see the Google Analytics data for your website?
YE: What’s that?
The creative Director explained. The website hosting agency was called. Thankfully, they did a professional job and Google Analytics was LIVE.
And then, the creative person and the prospective client, walked through the GA dashboard. What pages people clicked. Which pages had no stickiness. How people navigated through the website.
The business guy was young, but mature. A visionary. He realised, product features that he thought were most important didn't have the pulling power. While some other pages validated his assumptions. As he went through data, he experienced many AHA moments. He made copious notes in his diary. And decided then and there—
--What should be the strategic direction for his business?
--What features needed more work and development?
--What pages needed to be prominent on his website?
Earlier he had met some marketing and creative people. Many of them discussed future marketing campaigns, and gave him business jargon. Though names of known business houses were on their resumes, there was almost no understanding of SME businesses and their budgets.
Others showed him portfolios with beautiful logos and designs. Show reels. No relevance to his immediate concern: How to get qualified enquiries for his business.
And now he was sitting across a creative person, talking analytics like a pro, ineterpreting the numbers and converting them into real business insights. Things relevant to his business. Most importantly, a mature person beaming with knowledge but no airs about himself. The business guy also experienced another significant thing.
The age gap made no difference. It was like the two of them were together in making the business successful. This creative guy was not holding back anything, suggesting useful action points for the future. Even before the deal was done, or finances discussed!
Needless to say, they started working together.
Later, someone asked the young man—Why did you choose this guy with the ponytail as a business consultant, over those suits?
He laughed, ‘you are comparing peanuts with world-class cashews! Look beyond the ponytail. It's rare to find a blend of creative brilliance and business strategy together. He owns your brand. Asks sharp questions. He doesn't let you compromise, and helps you find the true potential of your business.’
Then he added, ‘Someone I can trust, to whom I can open my heart!’
And that's the lesson here:
Rather than just talking about our strengths and making feature presentations, it's better to give the potential clients an experience. Let them understand how we are relevant to them and can make a difference to their business. Let them experience what working with us will feel like.
The creative person had a great portfolio. Actually his work is in the Showcase of Indian Advertising. But he didn't show it. The young entrepreneur didn't have the kind of budget needed to execute those mega campaigns. So, the creative person focused on Google Analytics. Insights that helped the young man make decisions.
In particular, it demonstrated that the creative guy understood business, without ever talking about it.
PS: If you too wish to meet this guy, his name is Puneet Bhatnagar 🙂
Do send a message at firstname.lastname@example.org
PS 2: The current website of the young business person: www.opportuneHR.com