72andSunny’s Johnny Tan: Talent Curation Is The First Creative Act

72andSunny’s Johnny Tan: Talent Curation Is The First Creative Act
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In this guest post, Johnny Tan (main photo), executive creative director, 72andSunny APAC, argues that the way we work and employ people is changing at a rapid pace and agency land will find itself  in a world of pain if it doesn’t learn to adapt…

The shape of talent and our workforce is changing and as an industry we need to keep up. By 2020, more than 40 per cent of the white collar workforce in the USA will freelance. That’s next year!

Closer to home, the gig economy in Australia already accounts for a quarter of the workforce and driven by a project-based client/agency relationship, it’s super clear to us that finding and curating bespoke project-based talent is the only way to win in a non-retained relationship world.

In the old days, a brief would come in from a client, and the traffic manager would look around the agency and generally make a call as to who was available, and that person would be put onto the client job. Not the smartest way to get the best output, but quantity was trumping quality, and scale meant filling people’s time was the only way to survive.

To us, that never really made sense, but it seems now the market pressure is going to push against this, and force creative companies to look at themselves, and get creative in how they cast talent. That’s a change that energises us and makes perfect sense, as it will mean a move in the industry of getting the right person for the right brief, versus the warm body that is available at that time. That’s why we believe that talent curation is the first creative act in any project or process.

Having the ability to listen and learn at the briefing stage as to who and what will make the project a success, is a key part of our process, as casting talent from anywhere across the globe to deliver the best solution is something that a networked creative company like ours does. Whether it’s utilising bespoke talent from the 700 or so 72andSunny team globally, or tapping a global thinking and making expert freelancer talent pool via tools such as meetgenie.co that have the specialism to deliver for a potential project, even if they are based in London or Japan.

This ability to have a networked casting team whose specific job is to find the right talent for the job, and bolt this talent on to the existing core 72andSunny team, is a leaner and more agile way to win in the project-based world, where we no longer need to carry a scale team, just source the right team if and when the brief is ready. Working like this not only means we have access to a broader pool of culturally and professionally diverse talent that allows us to make work that works for our modern world, but it means our company doesn’t have to carry the bottom line weight that clients are not willing to pay for anymore.

Alongside our internal win, a move to this model helps support the growing gig economy which might be a way to help solve the work/life imbalance of our industry, as more dads and mums move to a rhythm that works with their life versus just one company.

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