#BlogfromtheArchive - What does it take to be successful in the creative industries?

We ask some of Manchester's finest what they think it takes to be successful in today's creative marketplace.

How well-suited are you to your current role? Do you have the right attitude and skills to achieve all of your career ambitions in the creative industries?

We all go through moments of wondering whether our career is on the right track and how far we can go in our chosen profession. But what if we simply don't have what it takes? Or, perhaps, we're just lacking one or two attainable ingredients that could drive us on to big things in our career.

Agency bosses and department heads have gained years of experience in hiring staff to help bolster their teams. They've seen individuals come in and fade out of the industry, and they've seen them go on to achieve amazing things. But are there a set of common attributes that make someone more likely to achieve success in the industry? Is there a particular temperament or tolerance? And what about skill-sets and experiences?

According to Kirstie Buchanan, creative director of digital agency Reading Room, it's often boils down to an ability to learn. "You need to be a sponge," she says. "In other words, absorb everything around you as you never know when inspiration will take hold. "It also takes personality, strength in mind, and an inquisitive mind that's always challenging. You can't think black and white - it should always be in glorious technicolour."

Colourful characters are littered throughout the industry - from junior live-wires, right through to chief execs and managing directors - and there's little doubt that the best agencies have these individuals in abundance. But is that enough?
Vivid managing director, Rachel Emson, believes determination and true passion are also integral ingredients if you want to go all the way.
"You need that zest to deliver key messages in a way that will most appeal and resonate with the audience," she says. "Being flexible, adaptable, empathetic and resilient are an absolute must. While key skills such as expression and a keen eye go a long way."

But what about for specific job types? While these attributes cover some of the core personality types to be well-suited to the sector, are there specific characteristics that are important for the different roles within an agency?
"Absolutely," says Nicky Unsworth, managing director of BJL. "Planners need to be insightful, strategic and analytical; creatives need to be creative (of course), imaginative, challenging and uncompromising; and client-facing teams should be bright and ordered, with strong interpersonal skills - and at BJL they need strategic skills, too."

Mark Lester, founder of design agency Mark Studio, suggests there are a number of attributes that can help a 'creative' succeed in the industry.
"They need to be passionate, enthusiastic, intelligent, resilient, observant, open-minded and chaotic. Oh, and it doesn't hurt to be slightly insane."
That the same personality type would also suit someone plotting to take over the world, should not go unnoticed. The creative industries are no place for shrinking violets and it's the bigger characters that tend to succeed - even if they lack other important attributes.

Steve McDermott - a former agency creative director who has since carved out an impressive career as a motivational speaker - is a prime example. I had the good fortune to attend one of his seminars a few years ago and he openly explained the key to his success. He claimed the creative director post ahead of colleagues he admits were more talented than he - and why? Because of his ability to present and sell his ideas.
There's no question having fantastic ability will stand you in good stead for a top career, but having the right personality is equally as important. Our industry is dynamic and it's the people who mirror this facet that will undoubtedly have the best chance of succeeding at the highest level.

Do you agree? Do you fit the profile? We want to know what you think...


Add a comment


Jobs we know about

Things we know are happening

  • PR & Social Leaders Masterclass #PRSL16

    The PR & Social Leaders Masterclass will showcase a series of expert insights from five industry ...

    24/05/2016 | Radisson Blu Edwardian, Manchester M2 5GP (The Walters Suite)

    The PR & Social Leaders Masterclass will showcase a series of expert insights from five industry leaders who will share their latest thinking on the big issues, industry trends and strategies that are shaping the PR, Social ...

  • Equal Experts - Scaling Agile and Managing Work in Progress

    Equal Experts’ agile practitioners combine technical excellence and business pragmatism to ...

    25/05/2016 | 36-40 Edge Street

    Equal Experts’ agile practitioners combine technical excellence and business pragmatism to deliver simple bespoke software solutions to big business problems.

  • Leeds Web Development

    This is a group intended for web developers in Leeds, sharing development ideas, tools, frameworks ...

    25/05/2016 | 11A The Light, The Headrow

    This is a group intended for web developers in Leeds, sharing development ideas, tools, frameworks and anything else that would help developers. It doesn't matter if you're a hired gun or freelancer all are welcome.

  • McrFRED

    #McrFRED is a monthly meetup for Front-End Developers. Organised by @s10wen

    26/05/2016 | Spaceport X, Manchester, 26 Lever Street.

    #McrFRED is a monthly meetup for Front-End Developers. Organised by @s10wen

look at all events Go to our calendarlink

Things we tweet about

  • orchardjobs - 24 minutes ago

    3d Architectural Visualiser in #Liverpool, up to £30k. - @Orchard_AJ #creativejobs https://t.co/RxCDA0sVHi

  • orchardtweets - 47 minutes ago

    We're at the @upfrontconf this Friday. If you haven't got tickets yet, you can them here: https://t.co/qx1x8dzdvE https://t.co/r6RxMKsTPi

  • orchard_helen - 55 minutes ago

    RT @Orchardjobs: Associate Creative Director (Packaging) in #Manchester, up to £55k. - @Orchard_Helen #creativejobs https://t.co/REnUDjXof6

  • orchard_rich - 57 minutes ago

    @nlaycock luckily I did get a ticket. Sorry u didn't. See attached if u r happy sitting with Hull supporters UTO https://t.co/2fnHNaQSC5

  • orchard_rick - 1 hour ago

    A 'dramatically different' macbook pro is coming. This year: https://t.co/0SFMGB9MCz

  • orchard_chris - 15 hours ago

    😢 #HoldTheDoor

  • orchard_davidh - 19 hours ago

    @orchard_AJ @Orchard_Cain can't wait for him to poke David Platt in the eye next season in the derby 😂

  • orchard_aj - 19 hours ago

    @orchard_AJ @Orchard_DavidH @Orchard_Cain apart from pushing a child part....but hey, blame the press for that one.

  • orchard_rebecca - 1 day ago

    RT @MarketingUK: Case study: how 'This girl can' got 1.6 million women exercising https://t.co/BVIuB5Ipjk by @nickykc https://t.co/FeUwDqZ3…

  • orchard_mike - 5 days ago

    Looking forward to the #teamorchard trip tomorrow. Time to release my inner child

  • orchard_andy - 5 days ago

    Metrolink tram disruption throughout summer for Eccles and Media City #Manchester https://t.co/Gytln6lFxY #tram

  • orchard_lucy - 5 days ago

    @McHaleTomj @adeleweaver1 it has already been partly created so they need to continue in PowerPoint for this one.

  • orchard_davido - 5 days ago

    RT @Orchard_Lucy: Please RT: Currently on the lookout for an experienced #freelance #powerpoint specialist for a 2 week booking in #cheshir…

  • orchard_tommy - 10 days ago

    :: NEW JOB :: Graphic Designer // National retail brand // Dynamic creative team - Apply with you CV & Portfolio :) https://t.co/casb3uKYWx