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Gods of Advertising is on hiatus so I can devote more energy to completing a manuscript as well as writing for my clients. Perhaps you? Services include copy writing, brand manifestos and creative direction. I’m passionate about helping clients develop powerful creative business ideas. This is my portfolio My portfolio

Do you have a writing project you would like to discuss -professional or personal? I am also available to help other writers with their work, as an advisor, editor or mentor.

Connect here or on SM platforms – Let’s have a conversation!

I look forward to hearing from you!

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Regarding advertising and creativity, I’m exceptional at three things: copywriting, creating big ideas and presenting them. Even my detractors, bless them all, would grant me that. If pressed they might also tell you I’m efficient and have never missed a deadline; that I curate my work and put it into cohesive and winning presentations, always with options.

This is what I do well.

I’ve been told I have a bunker mentality. I believe in healthy competition. Best idea wins. Sometimes you have to break a few eggs to get there. Which is fine. As long as the client gets a world class omelet. That’s been my experience.

After presenting work, the best outcome is when your audience (peers or clients) argues about which campaign they like best. If the work is fantastic then who cares what they choose? I believe in options. And so does every client. You never want a meeting when the outcome is ‘we need another meeting.’ Make damn sure you know the horse will drink the water. Some creative directors think good work is its own reward. That has not been my experience.

So, if you want to win a pitch, save a client, or simply demand fantastic work you can actually sell please hit me up. I’m available for consultation, freelance or long term projects. I’m fluent in new media and know how to reconcile data. Adept at even the trickiest verticals, in B2C or B2B, i.e. enterprise software, healthcare, life sciences, etc. Flexible in terms of pay and logistics. References upon request.

May we have a conversation?

Steffan1@rcn.com

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The Three “C’s”   

Work

 

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Be it agency or client-side, creative leadership has meant different things to different people in different types of organizations. The following is meant to clarify what an experienced CD, GCD or ECD (aka me) could mean to your company right now and moving forward.

The primary purpose of creative leadership is to enhance the creative reputation of the agency, to be a creative advocate for the agency (and its clients), and to help the agency win new business and to grow organically. Any challenge threatening the above, I should be enlisted. Secondarily, but no less important, I assist in the development of strategy (conceptual and tactical) and welcome the collaboration.

Another way of looking at my process. Specifically:

Organizing Principle. I am interested in creative business ideas that drive our client’s business; what I call an organizing principle: a melding of strategy and hyperbole that puts a stake in the ground, demonstrating the power and potential of our client’s offering. An OP usually includes a manifesto that brings it to life, a poetic and powerful story that sets up the problem and delivers the solution. For every OP I expect proof of concept in formats relevant to the engagement, i.e. home page, product and solutions, advertising, templates, trade show booth, etc…

The Three C’s: Creation. Curating. Choreography.

  1. Creation: As a player-coach, rely on me for high-level concept development and first order copywriting.
  2. Curation: Finding the best work and making it better, combining and marrying assets to tell the best story.
  3. Choreography: Putting work together so it flows with the rest of our content and delivers maximum impact.

Pitching. As a creative face for the agency, I should play a significant role in pitches – not just creating the work in the room but also delivering it effectively.

Strategy. Ideally, I contribute on strategy (conceptual, digital, tactical, media) and look forward to helping pre-strategy and in the development of creative briefs.

Integration, Alignment & Resources. Helping to determine best fit for creative resources from the available talent pool.

If your organization (be it agency or client-side) is looking for a creative director and/or content creator, please contact me directly. I am available for contract, freelance or full time engagement. Let’s have a conversation! Steffan1@rcn.com

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At a recent all-hands meeting, I was asked about my “creative vision” for the company. I’m not sure I provided a good answer. Not a concise one anyway. Big picture my vision is the same as any sane employee: to grow, to succeed, to become prosperous -as an agency, as individuals.

This is not the first time I’ve been asked about creative vision and philosophy. Typically, my answer lined up with whatever mantra the agency I worked for was advocating. For example, at Leo Burnett it was to create brand believers with big ideas. At Euro RSCG (now Havas), it was to make creative business ideas (not just ads). At Gyro, it was to create humanly relevant ideas for B2B and technology clients. At R2I, it’s to help accelerate connections.

Whatever the hoo-ha, the common denominator is always ideas. Specifically, I want to divine the organizing principle out of every legitimate creative opportunity we have. If/when a client comes to our doorstep with inherent gravitas, social currency or the ambition to achieve those things I would expect our creative solutions rise to that potential. Put another way: Wouldn’t it be nice if we could actually talk to our friends and family about what we made at work without their eyes glazing over?! Creative that makes a statement and leaves a footprint. I want us to do that. I want us to be seen.

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One develops habits as a copywriter. For instance, I need to see what words look like in a layout to truly assess them properly. The art directors were right: a block of copy is a visual. It needs to look right. Losing a word or two in order to accommodate the visual is not compromise; it’s part of creating good copy. Seeing your words in a layout provides concrete proof that what you’ve written is right. The perfect paragraph on Word is almost never correct in situation.

This habit did not change with new technology. If anything it became more pronounced. Now I can see finished looking ads before they are produced. Ancient history, I know. It’s been years since anyone relied on marker comps to sell an ad. We all want to see the baby before its born.

Where it gets interesting for me is in other forms of writing, like this blog. While I write these words in Word, and edit the hell out of them in Word, I’ve really only created a first draft. The true test comes when I create a “new post.” Then I see the paragraphs as you would see them. Suddenly their flaws become manifest, almost like an allergic reaction. Lose this sentence. Change that word. Move the photograph down a peg. Why these things were never apparent on a white screen is a mystery to me.

Perhaps it is also a curse. Many bloggers crank out content because new content is the key to new readers. Like in a MASH unit, they sow up stories and send them to the front. The sentences bleed adverbs and are pockmarked with dot-dot-dots, suggesting the writer had no time to tie up the paragraph or suture a proper segue.

I can’t work that way. Whether it reflects in my writing or not (and it may not), I treat each story as if it will be graded by a writing professor. It’s a habit I got into a long time ago.

See what my writing can do for you: https://steffanwork.wordpress.com/