Good is adequate. Good is acceptable. Good is everywhere.
A lot of the work we have done is good.
But a few times we have helped create something great.
Nothing feels like great. Great is heroin. Great changes everything. Great exposes good as the feckless pussy it is.
“So my pretentious friend,” you ask, “What is great?”
For Nail, there are two kinds of great. There is Creative great and there is Business great. Accomplishing either one is very difficult. We, for better or worse, must do both.
We can do brilliant communications that win awards and are the envy of every agency around. But if we annoy clients with missed deadlines, blown budgets, bad attitudes, whatever; that party ends quickly and cruelly.
However, we can be a well-oiled, client-service machine—call reports as long and detailed as Moby Dick, clients’ birthdays remembered and celebrated with vigor, schedules followed as rigorously as the Nazi train system. But if the work we are ultimately generating is forgettable and ineffective; that party ends slowly and permanently.
But, as luck would have it, the forces of creative greatness and business greatness are in an almost permanent state of tension:
Business thinks the client’s request is perfectly reasonable.
Creative thinks it’s a bullet in the head of their beautiful idea.
Creative wants more time to concept, polish, perfect.
Business doesn’t want the hours to blow past the estimate.
Business wants clients to be comfortable, relaxed, confident.
Creative wants to surprise, challenge, push.
We are under no illusion that we can—or even should—try to end that tension. But as Nail moves into its second decade, we have come to relish that instability and let it push us past our collective comfort zones. And the best client relationships we’ve had have been built on the understanding that this is a never-ending balancing act that requires transparency, patience and trust on both sides.
Or maybe we’re making this more difficult than it has to be and you’ve already cracked the code for doing brilliant work that makes everybody loads of money? If so, for God’s sake please tell us…