The 5 of us sat in our own homes staring at each other through video conferencing. We had 8 hours to come up with an ad campaign from strategy to concept to assets. None of us were designers. OK.
One of our team members had read the assignment ahead of time and said, “Oooo — Anna, the next assignment is in your wheelhouse. We’ll lean on you for this one.” Oh great, I thought. I hadn’t read the brief yet and I hoped I wouldn’t let down my team members. I responded diplomatically to my team affirming that everyone has something to contribute and it would be a team effort.
It worried me a little knowing others may see me as a leader for this assignment, so I channelled that worry into a quick outline. It took about 10 mins to put together a few bullet points of orienting questions. That 10 mins made me feel more confident going into the task, but I was conscious to not take the project into my own hands or come to the table with pre-planned, rigid ideas. The outline simply provided a bit of structure to our day.
Once we decided on the assets that we were going to create — we took a break from video conferencing to actually do some of the work. I gathered a bunch of stock images, shared the folder, and found a template to build a simple website and started to plug in images and copy. (Working with nonprofits, I know how to be resourceful and find photography for free.)
I was reminded of my previous article about “Why I hate group projects”, but quickly dismissed the thoughts of me hauling the team because I wasn’t! Who did the work came down to specific skill, not strategy or dominance. Everyone had input every step of the way and it was really helpful. In the end, a few of us took turns sharing our screens so we can get consultation on the assets we were producing. Indeed, it was a verbal team effort even though only 2 of us were making the edits and assets.
The last bit was to compile all the pieces. The beauty of it was that because it was a social campaign, everyone added their own pieces by posting on their personal social media accounts and taking screenshots to post. It wasn’t asked for or agreed upon prior, but everyone did it proactively.
The project went extremely well and I’m proud of our collective output. It was yet another opportunity to not only remember to humbly work within a team, but also exercise empathy for members who I later learned was struggling.