Fairgame Golf’s Andrew Haynes on figuring out how to take your client along with you
This is part of our 100 Creative Directors interview series. It has been edited for length and clarity. To return to the series homepage and browse other interviews, click here.
What kind of creative director are you?
I guess I’d call myself a multidisciplinary creative director.
The way that I've always thought about this business is that it's not necessarily about solving one creative problem. It's a combination of how do you solve various problems for a business while meeting those business needs?
And creative is a tool in your toolbox.
So that's kind of how I think about it. Whatever needs to be done for the business — where branding and design and communication can help our business win — I help do all that stuff.
What’s the hardest part of shipping great creative work?
The hardest part about creative isn’t the work. The hardest part is getting everyone on board with the concept and the direction. I think that is where the real talent is.
In my career in my early twenties, I worked in-house. We were working in parallel on a project with an agency, they did some stuff and we did some stuff — and we all know the beef and tension sometimes between in-house and agency…
So, it was the same project and even though I believe from a visual perspective, our work was better, the way they sold it through was so compelling and strong. It was a eureka moment for me. I was like “oh wow that’s how you do it.”
It’s about figuring out how to take your client along with you. How do you take them through the idea and the thinking so that they feel like they're part of the journey and they're seeing their bread crumbs.
Selling it through, I think that's the hardest part.
How do you measure success?
One of the things that’s really important is that success and failure need to be something that is shared. You win and fail as a team first and foremost; but success can come in a couple different ways and needs to be defined by the team. What do we consider a win for us and what do we consider an L?
It's a fluid thing but one of the unfortunate things that happens in this business is that everyone has a different definition. Sometimes creatives, we tend to define success as like “I did something cool that actually got made!”
And sometimes that's not enough. You have to be able to do that but then also start to meet business objectives. It's a combination of the two.
To define success all of the stakeholders in a company on a project need to define — from their perspective, expertise, and speciality — what checks the box for them.
And if everyone's boxes get checked, that's a win. Pop some bottles.
What are the three tools you couldn’t do your job without?
Pen and paper and lots of markers. I'm a scribbler. As you can tell. I feel like getting away from the computer is a very important part of the process because when you start to open Illustrator and Photoshop, at least for me, it feels more finite. It doesn’t feel as fluid and as free. Just sketch it out and see where you go.
I need a creative space. It doesn't have to be an office but I need a space that's not in my house. I think that Covid definitely changed the world and changed how creatives interact with each other and how we get work done. It’s really important to be able to have a space that's not connected to your home life because your brain goes into a different mode; and it's very difficult for me to go into that mode when I'm at home.
The last thing I cannot live without is coffee. That's pretty much it. I'm a simple guy. Give me some markers and WeWork and coffee. The coffee here is unlimited and free so I'm happy, no complaints.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received or given?
I used to work at Vitamin Water and one of the founders, he used to have this saying: attitude over skills. Skills can be taught but you can't teach someone how to be a good person.
I think it's important that people understand that having a sense of values, just being a nice person is paramount. That being said, that doesn't mean you shouldn't have the skills and inadequate people should be hired.
I’ve learned the most when I work with people who have that mindset: If everyone is human and cool and has that shared sense of values when the shit hits the fan you’re going to get through it together.
So yeah, just like, be cool first.
The second thing that I think is super important for creatives, especially in this world where there's so much content and creative out there: It's very easy to fall into the habit of everybody just doing the same thing in the category. And you get to this point where a category is defined by one specific look or approach. So I urge myself to remember that the world is a creative space and you should always look outside your category for inspiration.
If you're working on beverage, look at music, look at tech, look at other things!
Because if you're just using the same six ingredients that everyone's been using for the past ten years, you're gonna end up in the exact same place.
As creatives, it is our responsibility to push visual communication and culture forward.