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#CSinterviews Gareth Kay, Founding Partner, Zeus Jones, San Francisco

Hacker, Maker, Teacher, Thief; Advertising’s Next Generation is flying off the shelf.

We caught up with Gareth Kay (@garethk) who was one of the editors (and also Founding Partner of Zeus Jones San Francisco) and asked him a few questions inspired by some of the chapters from the book.

 

What makes a great client?

Real knowledge of their business - how they make money and how commercial creativity can best drive that.

Trust in their partners.

An understanding that they should be looking for talent that is additive, not duplicative: similar enough to get along and different enough to be dangerous.

The ability to create the environment for great work to happen:  openness, enthusiasm, encouragement. Space when needed and the ability to roll the sleeves up and collaborate (as in really work together) more often than currently happens.

And how great a client is, is often made by their partner:  we have to push forward with them, not push back at any opportunity.

 

Do you agree with Bridget that we should all treat ideas as gifts, not possessions?

I totally agree with Bridget.  Creativity relies on generosity:  people confident, generous and brave enough to share their thinking.  And for ideas to spread, they need to be given away.  We have to give people - our colleagues, partners, customers - a gift for the time they spend with us.

 

Do you feel that we have too much stuff?

Guilty.  I think those of us lucky enough to have money to live have way too much stuff:  the material culture still drives most modern cultures.  Sadly there is far too much inequality where people don’t have the basics to live (in developed, let alone, less developed markets.

 

Which schools are currently delivering the best talent?

I think there is talent coming from lots of schools:  VCU Brandcenter, Berghs, etc. And increasingly the best talent comes from a wide mix:  journalism, economics, design, etc.  The real problem is attracting that talent.  We don’t invest enough to get the best talent (salary and training) and we aren’t attractive as many other industries (the wicked problems simply aren’t seen as wicked enough).

 

What is the one most important thing helping to cultivate a creative culture?

I think the most important thing to cultivate a creative culture is simple:  openness and generosity.

 

What is your top tip for punching creative procrastination in the face?

Turn off facebook:)  Talk to people.  Use omniwriter or a notebook and pen.

 

What is your definition of innovation?

Same as my definition of creativity which is the hack: the most elegant and efficient solution to a problem.

 

Real time marketing: fad or here to stay?

Real time culture is here now, like it or not.  We are always on.  Real time marketing will succeed or fail on how we use it.  If we keep using it as we are currently - an excuse to spam people all the time - it’s doomed to fail.

 

Do you agree with John Willshire’s mantra that we should be making things people want NOT making people want things and if so what does it mean for brands?

Absolutely.  It’s the mantra at y combinator.  It’s the driver of what marketing was originally about:  solving needs and pain points (know or unknown). It’s about being in the service of people.  The best brands nowadays, as always, act as a bridge between business and people; commerce and culture.

 

Available to buy now - Hacker, Maker, Teacher, Thief; Advertising’s Next Generation

Check these Q&A videos of some of the authors from the book.

 

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