Condé Nast has been a temple in the publishing industry for as long as anyone can remember. But even it is undergoing some changes with the downturn in the print economy. This article is particularly interesting because, to many “normal” people, the attitude it portrays is shocking.
It reminds me of an interview I saw once with Steve Martin. He was on Letterman, I think, and he was talking about the trappings of fame and how it changes your attitude. It creeps up on you. He said that when he started doing stand up, he would drive himself to the gigs. No problem. Then his manager would drive him more often than not. Okay. Then one day in some city they sent a limo. He said, “No no, I don’t need a limo. Really. Thanks but it’s completely unnecessary.”
His manager said “Shut up and take the limo–they sent it, just enjoy it.” So he did.
The next night, in the next city, Martin headed out of his hotel for the gig. He looked around and said, “Where the hell is my limo?!”
The people at Condé Nast are freaking out because they can’t order lunch at Nobu and don’t have Orangina in their fridges. They’ve gotten used to things that most of the rest of the world would see as unnecessary and expensive frou. Creatives run the same risks. We work in a world where we get regular access to people and places and things that others may never experience in their lives. It’s easy to turn into a bit of an ass about it all. Don’t. Remember that we’re really lucky to get to work in this world. Keep grounded and you will appreciate it more each day rather than get jaded.
In other words enjoy it, but don’t forget that the bells-and-whistles are just the show.
That being said, you can also use that show to build your business. For many of our clients, end-clients in particular, going on a photo-shoot is a bit of Hollywood. There are (often) models and lights and stylists, etc. It may feel normal to us, but for them it is a toe-hold on a world they don’t get to live in like we do. If you can remember that and put on a good show for them, they’ll remember that always and appreciate it. Start with great craft services on your shoot. Wonderful food will wow clients all the time. Comfortable places to sit. Nice drinks. Take care of the basics with flair. Make the shoot an experience, and your clients will love it–the agency people will appreciate how great you are making them look in front of their clients and the end-clients will love you too.
The downside is that the next time, they’ll expect it. The upside, of course, is that there will be a next time.