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Entrepreneurial, Company Culture

4 Ways to Build a High-Performing Creative Team

by Alice Guillaume on Jul 16, 2020

SparkLabs by AppLovin began seven years ago as a small, internal creative team. Since then, we’ve expanded in size and skill sets and now serve as an integral part of AppLovin’s business in growing its mobile games. Our mission, which is to create top-performing creatives for our developers, remains constant. 

If you want to develop and scale your creative team, these are four noteworthy takeaways that we’ve learned over the years.  

1. Everyone must be a performance marketer

Simply creating beautiful art is not sufficient. The art must resonate, engage and captivate users and translate into results. 

The best performing designers and developers are able to think like a creative marketer. For example, can your team analyze why a creative asset works? If it didn’t work, can they think through other strategies?

Every person on your creative team should understand the basic foundations of: 

  • Campaign metrics
  • How creatives impact those metrics 
  • Thinking critically from the lens of a performance marketer when innovating and executing on creative concepts

 2. Encourage your team to play often

Foster an environment where the team can flex their creative muscles. This is important to inspire creativity and keep everyone on top of their game. 

Ideate frequently in large and small groups and with clear intention. At SparkLabs, we have many venues for getting creative, whether it’s through live jam sessions with colleagues, a Slack channel dedicated to sharing work, or playing mobile games together–we call them parties. 😉 

It’s also important to encourage the team to play and exercise their creativity outside of work.  Examples include painting classes, experimenting with photography, music or working on individual side projects. 

3. Strive for excellence but not perfection

Creating every ad to 100 percent may sometimes backfire if team members are too emotionally attached to the project. Being able to let go and pivot quickly are crucial to keep up with changing business needs and an ever-evolving tech landscape.

Invest time in helping your team get comfortable in moving quickly and shifting gears when creative KPIs change unexpectedly. Encourage them to channel that creative energy towards constantly iterating for top ad performance. 

4. Hire professionals who are genuinely inquisitive 

A team that is happy with the status quo and isn’t self-motivated to step up to the challenge simply won’t cut it in the competitive nature of the mobile games industry. 

Hire top talent professionals who are inherently curious, trend-focused, and are persistent in their drive to constantly innovate. 

When the 100th ad fails to beat the control and you need to understand why, these qualities help ensure your team pushes ahead. 

Hire learners, seekers, analyzers, and people who will inspire and empower others. Create a culture that allows them to experiment, explore, and claim ownership of projects. 

Building a strong team has proven to be SparkLabs’ foundation for scaling and keeping up with an ever-changing mobile landscape. Surrounding yourself with people who inspire you not only yields amazing outcomes and camaraderie but also makes it for a pleasant work environment. 

As your team evolves, you’ll figure out and define what’s most important for success. In summary:

  • Hire the best people
  • Invest in their learning and development
  • Empower them with the knowledge and tools to succeed 
  • And then, get out of their way

After time, you’ll see your hard work pay off in the form of amazing business results. 

Learn more about how to start your creative journey with SparkLabs.

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Alice Guillaume is Senior Director of Marketing Operations at AppLovin.