Brief early to get more from your agency
As a client, the reality is you’re often buying the time of people. Yes, there’s some kit and film and hardware and software and set materials and more. But the really valuable stuff is the time and ideas of a talented team.
Budgets are always tight because we aim to squeeze lots out of them. Even on the biggest projects, the scope will stretch the budget. And frankly, if it doesn’t, we’re not trying hard enough.
So value is key, not just price. Price is meaningless on its own. A low-cost experience that doesn’t work is, frankly, a waste of money.
Think of value as an equation: Value = (Quality/Price) x Service
What is meant by quality? Here at Stagestruck it means effectiveness through understanding, creativity, ideas, design, craft skills, attention to detail, and exemplary delivery. These things all take time to do. Time that’s often judged as just a number in a quote to produce a defined set of deliverables.
Service is about how things are done; with understanding, clarity, expertise, care and passion. If it gets done in a way that means you can focus on what you need to focus on, that’s valuable.
You want the most out of the time you are buying. That’s obvious. So here’s a forgotten truth: you can get more time, and more valuable time, without paying more, simply by briefing early.
Brief early, agree a scope and the budget for time to think, design, produce and create. The scope and budget are set, but if you give more than the defined days to actually do it, the brains will be free to think when they are at their best: those moments where the sub-conscious works magic in the background; not the structured, 9-to-5 time, but the time when your brain makes new connections; the standing-in-the-kitchen-waiting-for-the-kettle-to-boil-times when someone says something to you that unlocks a whole new world of ideas; the time to absorb and stimulate the ideas in different ways; the time to work past the obvious ideas and into the realm of, “Oooh, I hadn’t thought of that and I wonder how we can do it” ideas. The ideas that you need and want. Ideas do not come just between 9 and 5:30, and the reality is you’ll get way more days (and nights) of brain power on your brief, leading to more impactful, more effective ideas. All for the same money.
It gets better. You’ve given people time to get it wrong before they get it right. That’s genuinely empowering them to try new things. The people you work with will appreciate that, and the trust this creates leads to a better, more open, more productive – and more enjoyable - way of working for all.
Sometimes it's not possible to start early, and time is of the essence. That's the way things sometimes are, though it doesn't need to be the rule.
However, finding that little bit of time is a better way to work. It’s about thinking objectively, about the outcomes you want, rather than just the inputs of time, money and information.
Going back to the equation, if price is fixed (and budgets often are, but that’s a whole other topic), then if you can increase the quality and the service, the value you receive multiplies. That’s just smarter.
So, brief early and enjoy the benefits of extra time.
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