This post was originally published on our co-founder/owner and Creative Director’s website on May 30, 2013. Its truth is evergreen.
A True Believer is a person who has both a personal and professional belief in all of the product brand’s value propositions. The true believer not only works on the product as a profession but also uses the product in their home and personal life, and is exuberantly evangelical about it.
We have lost bids on projects because the business we were courting could sense that we were not True Believers in their products.
When a brand requires its creative team to consist only of True Believers it should be regarded as a red flag of troubled logic and problems ahead.
The brand that only wants True Believers working on their products is a business that wants a team of “Yes People.” This brand will get results that is produced in an echo chamber of nodding heads where no push-back is heard, no ideas challenged for the overall good of the product, and no sharpening of the concept through the process of critical thinking.
If this brand were a person we could see the obvious insecurities of only hiring True Believers. This business is myopic at best and should be approached with great caution and a healthy up-front deposit on the total budget, with full compensation paid before any final files are released.
It’s a big deal.
So, does the creative team for products need to be made up of only true believers? No.
But does the creative team need to consist of people who push back at every turn, a bunch of Debbie Downers? Heck no!
The team simply needs to be what true creative professionals are: Creatives who can think from the perspective of the customer persona and are informed by data at every point.
Personally, these creatives do not need to be True Believers in the product. If they happen to be, that can be a benefit in some cases, but it should never be criteria for a product’s team.
In my mind is carved the words of Walter Gropius, a famed architect and founder of the Bauhaus school of design:
“Art is self-expression; Design is problem solving.”
Problem solvers: That’s what a quality team of professional creatives consists of. Having some True Believers on the team is useful – we shouldn’t keep out that perspective. But making True Belief criteria for being on a brand’s team is likely to result in limited success, and only for the short term at that.