Where’s The Talent?

Grant Campbell, Creative Director, discusses

Where’s the talent? Asks creative director of Wasserman Experience, Grant Campbell

The events and experience industries need to change their approach to hiring creatives, so says Grant Campbell, creative director at Wasserman Experience

What’s the biggest challenge you face in your day-to-day job? For some it’s a difficult client, for others it might be an impossible budget or deadline and for some it’s rain.

On the creative side of the industry, it’s not such an easy thing to pinpoint. Because we deal in the currency of ideas, we need a constant source of fresh perspectives and new insights. But sometimes, these don’t come to the creative old dogs as easily as you’d think.

So, we find ourselves asking, where’s our new talent? Where are our protégés? Where’s our next Mozart, Messi, or Macaulay Culkin? Where’s the fresh blood going to come from?

January is one of the busiest periods for many job seekers and employers. There’s a surge in applications – with many a freshfaced creative firing off their portfolio looking for their way up or in to our wonderful industry.

The problem we face is that so many creatives present their work, their “big ideas”, as above the line adcepts and if we’re lucky, show how it might work in different digital formats. It’s very seldom that they’ll think how an idea might work as an interactive immersive experience. And it’s mainly because they don’t know.

There are courses that look specifically at this, such as the Narrative Environments course at University of the Arts London, but even there it seems that the idea takes a backseat to the environment.

For our industry, creatives need to be ideas people – naturally – but they also need to be experts in creating digital, events and immersive live stories. And unfortunately, that’s not a set of skills that’s racing out of UK colleges.

So, how should we go about finding these rare gems, or bung up a rough diamond? As a sector in the wider advertising industry, we really need to get out there and liaise with the colleges a lot more. Our work is known and recognised by these students, but they’re often not aware that it requires a unique set of skills. We need to get out there and tell them what else they need to learn, or add to their portfolios.

It is also vital that we educate the wider marketing community on the work we’ve done and our own “big ideas” by entering awards that sit outside our comfort zone. Every single year the number of live events and experiences that pop up on the Cannes Shortlist surprises me.

Identifying the people with these talents shouldn’t then be too hard. However, if it still is, ask potential employees to go back to their ideas and develop them for experiential; most candidates are happy to do this, and very often they come back with just the work we’re looking for.

Of course, it’s not just the responsibility of the creatives to get out there and talk about ideas. I believe our industry needs to stand up for its creativity – we need to shout as loudly as the big old ad agencies. And we need to take them on in the pitches and the awards. Only then, will the talent find us.

 

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