As social media managers, graphic designers, content writers and beyond, we’ve seen all of the requests, right? We’ve been asked to do things that don’t fall under our job descriptions, we’ve been asked to send our design file in a “Paint file instead” (yes, this has happened) and we’ve heard “Could you just edit 100 more photos? For free?”
It’s our turn to request. Rather, tell.
If you’ve been paying attention (and damn, we hope you have) then you know now is not the time to be silent. Now is not the time to bite our tongues and hope that someone else will speak up. We have the power to help create change, we have the power to literally enforce change. Right in our very own little circles.
It’s said that you’ll spend over 90,000 hours working in your lifetime. Therefore, we see this as one of those places that dialogue belongs. We see it as an extension of ourselves. No longer are the days of “let’s not bring politics into this.” This isn’t politics. This is human rights. This is right and wrong.
At Brydge, we consistently have “normal,” casual conversations with our clients. This is to ensure 1. That we don’t end up working with anyone that we don’t TRULY vibe with and 2. That we don’t run into the issue where we do end up working with someone we don’t truly vibe with and then have to let them go.
At a lot of agencies, you’re asked to keep your client comms brief – you’re told that there’s no need for the “extras.”
Have you heard the sentence “That email was way too friendly” from your boss before? I have. Right before I received an email back from the client letting me know how “Pleasant it was working with me.”
Building relationships with your clients is and should be the thing to do. I’m not saying you need to have breakfast together around each other’s kitchen table – but it’s normal to ask “Hey, how was your weekend!” Smiley faces are fine – just don’t use them more than once in an email. Exclamation points are fine – just read the email before you send it and make sure that every sentence doesn’t end with one. Talk how YOU talk – don’t try to change the way you sound in order to make someone else feel better about the crappy emails they send.
Talk to people. This is the only way you know that your values and morals are aligned. Talking. Asking questions.
However, we realize that this isn’t always easy. If you’re at an agency and you have a huge company client worth millions of dollars, it may not be your call to say “Hey your moral values and my moral values do not align, you gotta go, we’re letting you go.” But, you can escalate it to your boss. You can talk to the people who have the power to make those decisions and let them know where you stand. Big agencies and the structure that comes with them can also be – you guessed it – not systemically *great,* either. If that’s the case and you’re feeling like you straight up just aren’t comfortable there, reach out to us. We will help you navigate as much as we can, and if there’s a seat at our table for a badass-value-driven human like you, we’ll gladly ask you to sit.
For now, though, we really want to talk about the companies with a little less public pressure on them to do the right thing. The Facebook’s of the world are already under scrutiny and will be called out left and right – rightfully so – but this one’s for the little side-hustle gigs and the boss babes trying to start an empire and the people on small teams who have people looking up to them.
Here are a few examples –
Are you a social media manager? Talk to your clients about ways to lend to the conversations happening rather than distract from them. Check yourself here, too – have you been practicing what you preach? Is the content you use diverse? How can you grow here, too?
Are you a graphic designer? Talk to your clients about incorporating content that supports and amplifies Black voices. Design a web page that hosts a variety of great work or resources, or if you’re creating content for social, incorporate (AND CREDIT) diverse photography into your designs. You can still do your job while also making sure you are helping.
Are you a content writer? Let your clients know that you’d like to write an interview piece and conduct an interview that helps shed light on the issues at hand.
Don’t see your role up there? Let us know – we’ll help you brainstorm ways to chat this through with your clients. There are a lot of ways to be part of the conversation – just make sure that you are.