Sunday, July 07, 2013

How's Your Crack Rate?

It's crucial for an agency to have a high crack rate, since 'going again' on a brief effectively means you are doubling your costs. 

One of the many smart initiatives at BBH London is to carefully monitor the agency's crack rate. They realise their best chance of making money is to crack briefs first time - this is also strongly correlated with high levels of client satisfaction. Accounts where it is regularly not happening, can expect an inquiry.

But if you're a creative, the situation is more ambiguous. Superficially, a super-high crack rate may seem great. You will be seen as extremely reliable.

On the other hand, as the old saying goes... if you're not failing occasionally, you're not trying hard enough. The only thing that will give you a long-term career, as a creative, is occasionally doing great work. And great work is hard to sell. So a 100% crack rate could be a warning signal, that you're playing it too safe.

Some creatives are more comfortable being useful, cracking every brief, and hoping that one or two will turn out great. Others prefer to take a wild swing every time, and don't mind that they often strike out, knowing that occasionally they will bust the piñata wide open and be showered in candy. 

Which is right? Whichever you're more comfortable with, I guess. Though it has to be said that option 2 are a dying breed.


Anonymous said...

This the saddest and most gloomy post I've read in years,

Anonymous said...

If the brief isn't right, then it doesn't matter whether I play it safe or have a wild swing. I won't crack it.

philip putnam said...

Simon, so true, every ad you do twice is a new ad you're not doing.
Philip putnam.

erasmus said...

If this visual is supposed to be an example of what they mean, let's just say they need to have another crack at it. But if I was the client, they wouldn't get a second crack.

Martin Headon said...

Thank you. This blog actually cheered me up no end, after a week that felt at times like one long rejection.

Simon said...

As a creative, 90% of your work gets rejected.

If you want to reduce that to 50%, just give the client what they want. The irony is they're not paying us to give them what they want. They want the great thing they haven't thought of, but will know when they see it. That ancient chestnut.

The best work is often the hardest stuff to sell in, and equal genius lies in selling great work to clients as it does in cracking a brief. It's time agencies had sales department, devoted to selling in beautifully cracked briefs.

Might talk to my CD about that as soon as I've nailed this retail brand campaign.