Yes, I know. It has been a long time since this blog has been updated. I will take the full blame for that. Spring and summer flew by this year, and I’m trying to soak up the last of these hot and long days before the leaves start to change.
I began this summer by staining my deck, a project that just wrapped up last week. I will openly confess to my perfectionist tendencies, and recommend that other perfectionists use caution when contemplating a two-color stain scheme (dark brown with white railing). Don’t get me wrong, it looks great, but the two coats of white on the railing had to be done by hand! This project took a great deal longer than I anticipated due to labor and weather.
While I would classify myself in the ‘weekend warrior’ or ‘handyman’ category, I am not a professional contractor. I am known for listing off lofty goals and a project list a mile long expecting to finish them in an evening… I usually never finish the first item on my list! With my limited experience, I tend to jump into projects expecting professional results completed quickly and easily. Budgeting these projects is also comical. I will approach my wife telling her the project is going to only cost $X, only to blow that number out of the water by the completion. If I would have consulted with or considered hiring a professional, I may have saved considerable time and money for a higher quality longer lasting product!
In my career, I have experienced a focus on lowest-cost or DIY creative marketing solutions. With the advent of the PC and reasonably affordable software, creative marketing has been given to the masses. Small businesses opt to handle this on their own, or outsource a kid in a basement. Corporations have relegated creative roles to nominally compensated positions for recent college grads. The byproduct of devaluing creative marketing is not only a poor brand image, but decreased sales and visibility in the long run. Many of the strongest performing cutting-edge companies have made the investment in creative marketing and have robust brands.
There are also disconnects with the scope of a quality creative products. These projects are intense; starting with a meeting to discuss what the client expects, and developing project plans. Creating exceptional creative content takes monumental planning, and a lot of time. Good quality content is also a significant investment. You don’t need to spend six-figures on a branding package like the big boys, but understand that (in most cases) you will get what you pay for.
So often, I chose a DIY project at home. So often, I realize a little too late that I am not a professional fill-in-the-blank. Think of your creative marketing investment like hiring a professional wood worker to build you some shelving. There are tons of people who could build you a shelf, but the professional craftsman will make an exceptional product that is durable, ornate, and completed in a timely manor. Chose a cheaper route and your shelves won’t look as good, last as long, or be completed on time. You might also have to buy a new shelf in a few years, spending more than if you hired the professional the first time.
Make an investment in your brand. Whether you are hiring creative staff or finding a freelancer, commit to hiring a professional. Sit down and discuss your visions and budget, and listen to their advice. Arts majors and creatives deserve a spot and a voice in the boardroom, and they may even help solve other challenges! Everyone may have the ability to buy a Mac, create a WordPress site, and open up Illustrator. But not everyone can grow great brands through strategic planning and exceptional creative. Don’t settle for a DIY quality job. You’ll end up paying the price, plus interest, down the road!