You’ve Sold Your Idea to the Client. Here’s What You Should (and Shouldn’t) Do Next

Susan Credle and other top creative directors reveal the best advice they ever got in their careers

Headshot of Tim Nudd

After selling a creative idea through to the client, it’s tempting to think the rest is all rote execution. In fact, it should just be a blueprint.

In our latest “Best Advice I Ever Got” video, FCB’s global creative chief, Susan Credle, explains that you can, and should, go and explore the idea further—as one of her creative directors memorably told her once. If you think the idea is set in stone, she says, you’ll limit yourself and the concept, and the work will never be as great as it should be.

Check out the video above for more from Credle, as well as DigitasLBi’s Ronald Ng and mono’s Michael Hart, as reveal the best advice they ever got in their careers. And check out excerpts from their thoughts below.

“What you sold to the client is just a blueprint. Go explore it.”

—Susan Credle, Global chief creative officer, FCB

“One of my creative directors said, ‘Susan, when you sell a piece of creative, and it’s just on a piece of paper, think of it as a blueprint. It’s just the permission to go explore it. And make sure you explore it,'” Credle recalls. “So, instead of just recreating what you sold on that blueprint, you actually think of it as a jumping-off place. And especially in film. When you’ve worked so hard to sell a script, and you’ve got this crew out there, and you’ve got the right actors and everything. To not sit there and think, ‘What would I do at this next level?’ And the same with editorial, or whatever. Every chance is a chance to up the game of that piece of creative. So, not thinking of it as ever set, but always thinking, at this stage of the making, what can I add to this? What can I do better? What can I pull back? But to never think that it’s locked when you’ve sold it.”

“Know that you’ll never be ready, and just do it.”

—Ronald Ng, Chief creative officer, North America, DigitasLBi

Ng worked for an executive creative director once who taught him something important. “She was one of those great bosses who always gave you the opportunity to do bigger things,” he says. “She would not judge a show [but instead say] ‘Hey, Ronald, you do this.’ And I was always apprehensive in wanting to do it, because I thought, I’m not ready for this. One day she just told me, ‘Hey, you’ll never be ready for anything. You just have to do it.'”

“Make it personal.”

—Michael Hart, Founder and managing creative director, mono

“The best advice I ever got was, ‘Write, or create, for yourself. What are you going to love? What’s personal for you? Versus what you think the rest of the world’s going to love?’ If you really make it personal, and you have that passion, it ends up making greater work. It’s more unique, it’s more authentic, versus trying to imagine what’s going to be loved or awarded.”

Below, check out previous installments of our “Best Advice I Ever Got” series.

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.