In a biographical movie “Trumbo” (2015), the wife of the main character hides a punching boxing bag, and each time they have disagreements, she pours her rage on the punching bag. She thinks this bag keeps their marriage.
Marketing agencies could use this as an inspiration. There are more useful things than table football and they could be used for therapeutic purposes, to get rid of stress caused by disagreements and misunderstandings.
Ego is one of the most common causes for disagreements and bad flow in communication within the agency but also in communication with external collaborators. Let’s define it as a set of beliefs that may or may not be grounded in experience, that makes us claim our ideas as better if not the best ones. The ego is a direct obstacle to personal development.
Though ego is necessary for working in marketing, as much as creativity, unfortunately, it is incurable. But it is possible to keep it under control if you stick to respecting certain advice.
The purpose of this text is to present the process of keeping the ego under control based on a personal experience.
You and your colleagues are part of the same team. Most of us are indeed team players. Sometimes you might have an impression the experienced colleagues easily reject your ideas though you personally think the idea has a lot of potentials. They are more experienced than you and that is the usual reason for such decisions. In such situations, it is essential not to defend your ideas stubbornly, but to listen to your colleagues and understand their arguments because that way you can learn from their experiences. You are on the same side and have to the same goal – to do the best possible job.
Advice, not the criticism
If someone criticizes your ideas, it doesn’t mean this person attacks you personally, or your talent. Your colleagues, just like you are common people with both strong and weak points. They have a limited capacity for patience in everyday problems. For this reason, their comments might seem too harsh. Though, in most cases, these comments don’t hide evil or bad intentions, quite the opposite. Keeping your ego under control can result in learning something new or at least learning to accept criticism without hard feelings.
All ideas should be the product of a team work
Your idea has been accepted but edited in such a way that it doesn’t look like your initial idea at all. To ignore this situation, you just withdraw into your own world, put on your earphones, and listen to the music. From a legal point of view, all ideas created within the company during working hours belong to the company, not to you. Unofficially, that idea becomes a common good, the whole team stands behind it, and from the moment the idea got approved, everyone is working on it in terms of editing, corrections, additions, enhancements. It is a fluid state and should be shaped. It is still your idea but the common goal becomes more important than your ego.
You and your colleague got the same task, and the better of two solutions will be chosen. It is hard to admit defeat in these situations. But it doesn’t mean your colleague is better than you or that you should keep trying to find a way to judge that choice as a bad one. Study both solutions, learn about the differences, and how to do a better job next time. You will understand what your client wants and the way he/she thinks. Healthy competition within any agency usually leads to mutual personal development.
The client is never right but his word is always the last one. The product of teamwork can be rejected or even ruined by the client. They might have ideas different from yours. This could trigger the ego of the whole team. Nevertheless, such situations may have advantages too. This way you can understand your client better, his/her needs, and learn the way to communicate on a higher level of understanding each other. Sometimes, if you try a different approach, it might happen you can convince clients and implement your ideas that were initially rejected.
You might have been in a situation to be in a company when people start criticizing TV commercials. You might have felt the urge to oppose them because you have another point of view as you have a different perspective since you’ve started working in an agency. You observe and judge commercials based on higher criteria than “common” people. Those “common” people can be very tough when judging commercials and this is very visible on social channels. When you read or hear a bad comment about your work, your ego starts working and you feel the need to fight even in Instagram comments. Don’t do it, just accept the criticism and try to apply it if it comes from your target audience. If not, just ignore it…
Marketing, or at least its creative part is a subjective discipline and it takes a lot of self-confidence, but try to base your self-confidence on hard work, experience, not on your ego. Expressing your ego is a common thing in our profession, it is expected, but try to feed it with facts and arguments.