HOLDING THE BUDGET
We talk to Paul Martin, global operations director of Moving Brands, and find out how budgets work in one of the world’s most celebrated agencies...
At Moving Brands, is it common practice to set a budget before or after the pitch stage? Why do you work like this?
Our first step, whether it’s a pitch response or a request for proposal from an existing or new client, is to qualify the project: whether the client’s needs match our expertise; whether their timing and budget parameters align to how we would best deliver on their objectives.
In regards to budget, we give an indicative scope and budget parameters early on to help the client understand how we would approach the work and the related cost. The reality is it will take numerous conversations to properly scope the needs, shape the team, plan the timings and project milestones.
How do you typically arrive at a final figure for a creative budget?
We build a project plan from scratch for every project, to ensure it’s fit for purpose. This process involves the programme lead, the creative lead and consultant. 1. Discuss and clarify the client needs 2. Build the right shape team of experts to deliver on the needs 3. Build a project plan which includes scope, timings and of course budget 4. Share and discuss the plan with the client, until a mutual agreement is met on all aspects.
Do you think creatives really need financial knowledge, or should P&L lines be left to the accounts team?
We’re a creatively led business – our CEO joined the business as a design intern, our founders are film-makers and designers. We’ve never believed in silos and don’t think that P&L lines should be left solely to the accountants.
At a project level, our creative directors are involved in scoping every project they lead, and alongside the programme directors are jointly responsible for both financial performance and creative excellence.
So yes, a good proportion of our creative team need an understanding of the financial aspects, because it’s part of being able to effectively scope and deliver on all briefs, and to run a successful global business.