Developing Trusted Creative Partnerships

We brought together a panel of some of the world’s most extraordinary creative influencers in photography, jewellery and interior design for insights into how they how they approach client partnerships and build trusted relationships that deliver the best outcomes.

Go to the profile of Emma Cartwright
Oct 17, 2019
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“Creativity is about seeing things differently, letting the imagination make connections that change the way we understand things and yet seem intuitive. It brings art to science.” Alex Naylor, Marketing Director, Barclaycard

“Marketers hold one secret weapon that the rest of the business doesn’t – creativity!” Keith Weed, former CMO, Unilever

Two powerful insights from Oystercatchers’ newly published Creative Influence book, launched at Festival of Marketing with Rankin and The Fifth.

Rankin’s creative flair resonated in each CMO photograph featured in the book and The Fifth extended this focus on creativity. As an influencer agency, The Fifth storytelling and creativity sits at the heart of its business.

Talking about the partnership, Managing Director and Founder of The Fifth, Oliver Lewis, said “We were born in a building of storytellers, a business of real influencers out of News UK…..our whole business and ethos is about celebrating real talent and creativity. It’s not about how loud you can speak or how many people are following you; it has been about understanding what it is that all of these guys (CMOs) do and trying to bring a changing face to it.”

He continued, “We are witnessing a social revolution in creativity and as a result the face of influence is changing before our eyes. We are entering a new age of the entrepreneur, where creativity and storytelling have been democratised. Where life can be your canvas and where relatability and authenticity are now a commodity.  I hope that we inspire more to follow suit and champion creative diversity and positive change.”   


Our Creative Influence launch set the scene beautifully for our C-Suite discussion on how to work productively with creative partners.

An outdated view might be that handling creatives is like handling china – they are fragile and delicate. And you must never, ever disturb their elevated thoughts nor criticise their genius.

Think again. Creatives are resilient, receptive and open-minded. And as brands and marketers begin working with creative people more directly, insight into their processes, how they think and develop ideas and concepts, is critical to success.

For this reason, we brought together a panel of some of the world’s most extraordinary creative influencers in photography, jewellery and interior design for insights into how they how they approach client partnerships and build trusted relationships that deliver the best outcomes.

The vibrant panel, chaired by Andria Vidler, former CEO of Centaur Media, included iconic photographer and cultural provocateur Rankin (who has just launched his own agency https://rankin.co.uk/); designer, gemologist, adventurer, writer and polyglot Cassandra Goad (https://www.cassandragoad.com/about), and interior designers Jordan Cluroe and Russell Whitehead aka 2LG Studio, “the rising stars of the interiors scene” as described by The Sunday Times (http://www.2lgstudio.com/?3).

Their top tips included: listen to the person commissioning the work. Cassandra observed that the best route was to simply let people just talk, “they will tell you almost everything”. The best creatives know how to partner with people, focus on the client – and leave egos at the door.

Russell and Jordan commented that much of what they do is manage people. Theatre trained, they use insights to understand people and dive into their characters to deliver the best version of their clients in their own homes.

Rankin noted that honesty must be encouraged. He urged clients to be direct and understand that the creative partner’s opinion is important in the process, “sometimes people don’t want to hear it but encourage your creatives to be honest with you – for the best benefits, think of the long-term relationship.”

The creative panel urged potential partners not to self-limit their ideas and concepts by being risk-averse. Part of the job of the creative is to push clients beyond their comfort zone to try new things - “put it out there, take the risk and take the flak.”

How are creatives inspired?

How creatives find inspiration intrigued us. We heard that they don’t go looking inside their own discipline. Rather, they draw from their surroundings, everyday life and let thoughts tick over. Cassandra spoke about how she drew inspiration from a recent trip to Russia - jewellery shops were not on the list. Instead she walked around the city, went to the ballet, took in the onion domes, visited St Basil’s cathedral with its colour and enamels, and it was this that inspired a collection.

Rankin agreed, further suggesting that we should believe in ‘missing out’ and not over-research, “the internet is an endless scroll but the imagination is infinitely more exciting.”

The ability to tap into child-like wonder may be cliché but remains a powerful way of finding ‘surprise and delight’ in the world which can translate into engaging ideas.

Finally, our creative leaders agreed there must be a genuine story in the creative mix to deliver the best work. This truth has powered some of the most effective campaigns in advertising and reinforces the very real fact we are in the storytelling business.


Go to the profile of Emma Cartwright

Emma Cartwright

Senior Marketing Executive, Oystercatchers

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