What Printers, Brands, and Creatives Can Learn from the WGA Strike
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With the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) strike still making headlines, leading to many productions in Hollywood shutting down for the moment, it got me thinking about how creativity helps shape the world around us, and how that same creative spirit also applies to the world of print.
It often seems like everyone takes creativity for granted — both from brands and customers, but also internally. When was the last time you really thought about the work your prepress and creative teams put into projects, and how that work directly impacts the final results? How many times has a creative person saved a project with a clever new idea? How many brands failed or succeeded because of a truly catchy campaign — or lack thereof?
The reality is that as a society, we tend to put more focus and heap more praise on the more “left brain” professions that have an emphasis on things like math and science, and we tend to discount the talent and drive in those people with more “right brain” professions like writing — or printing.
Even as automation and technology are taking some of the craft out of print, and making it a bit more industrial in terms of execution, there is no denying that it still requires a certain amount of creative skill and ability, from the sales team coming up with new ideas, to the creatives who help bring them to life, to the prepress team who helps ensure everything will print as planned, to the press operators who ensure the actual result looks and feels as it is meant to, to the postpress team who helps put the finishing touches on a project and gets it to that final destination. All of those require creative thinkers who have a massive amount of talent at what they do. Print businesses cannot survive without them.
While the WGA strike isn’t likely to have a direct impact on print businesses — at least those not involved in Hollywood productions shut down for the moment — it is a good reminder that taking the creative people that drive our businesses forward isn’t a winning long-term strategy. The guild is arguing that they are only asking for fair compensation and recognition for the hard work they do to bring ideas to life.
And that is something we can all learn from and take away from the situation. Making the time to recognize that creative people work just as hard as those doing jobs that can more easily be quantified will only serve to make your business stronger — and cement the loyalty of those employees who are finally being recognized. And in this day and age where great employees are getting harder and harder to find and keep, going that little extra step of acknowledging and praising them — and fairly compensating them — for the work that ultimately keeps the presses moving will only lead to a stronger team and a stronger business.
Toni McQuilken is the senior editor for the printing and packaging group.