I joined Made by Many in September 2015 and after three short months I’ve already learned an incredible amount. Here are some of my enlightening, and in hindsight somewhat obvious, realisations so far.
There are no heroes
Joining a company with a great reputation was daunting, I worried that perhaps the people at Made by Many were made of some mystical star dust that I wasn’t. What I found was that there are no single rock stars or untouchable deities but rather many amazing teams. The success of a project is both created and shared by the team. From day one of a project, people from Strategy, Design, and Technology are equally involved. A successful project requires that each of these people bring their unique insight to the team at every stage in the process.
Immersion is a wonderful thing
Before joining Made by Many I worked at a very small company with lots of projects. This made it impossible to have teams or even single people dedicated to only one project. In contrast, designers at Made by Many are often assigned to projects at 100 per cent effort. This meant that during my first three months I’ve worked on exactly one project. The benefit of being on just one project seems too obvious to bother writing but for the unenlightened I’ll note this, working on one project allows you to live and breathe the subject matter.
Despite this particular client being located overseas, there have been times when I’ve been working so closely with the client that I’ve felt like a member of their team, which is actually a good thing! Achieving this requires great communication and a well structured assignment of roles both on agency and client side. The result is a much better understanding of their organisation and a merging of two separate groups of people to form a single project team chasing a common goal.
And isn’t that exactly why clients hire agencies, to be an extension of their team working closely with them to solve a problem? Maybe not, maybe some clients would prefer us to leave them alone, only to return months later from our secret laboratories, the perfect solution held proudly over our heads with light emanating from it. But that’s not how it works, which brings me to my last point…
Clients are still the same clients
Before joining Made by Many my former self would look longingly at the portfolios of other creative agencies and think “Dayum! Where do they find these amazing clients that let them do this kind of work?”
Yes, some clients can be better or worse than others but more often than not, clients are all the same. They are all exploring an unfamiliar territory, they are all worried about their destiny, and they are all secretly terrified of losing their way and need us, the agency they hired, to lead them through the dark forest to green pastures bathed in sunlight.
Everyone at Made by Many is acutely aware of this and it has been amazing to see the creative methods used to manage, guide, and communicate with our clients. These methods are often hands-on, collaborative workshops and exercises designed to engage the client and help them to think how we think. And so it seems evident that what differentiates the agencies that do great work is not their clients but how they guide their clients.