Welcome to our interview series, Creativity Drives Business, where successful marketing and creative leaders share industry insights, how they got to where they are today, and explore the future role of creativity in business.
Kim Walts, Director of Creative Services at BECU, discusses how the role of creative services is changing within organizations.
Q: How did you get into creative services?
I didn’t have too much of a choice. It was all I knew how to do. I was a weirdo art kid, who just painted, took photos of everything and drew in her room. I was accepted on a scholarship to a Arts School in Los Angeles when I was 14, and the rest is kind of history. I started in photography as a Studio Manager, and it turned out I was good with processes and people. Once I entered the corporate world, I was always plucked for management of large creative teams.
Q: How do you think creative roles in business are changing?
The value of a well-executed design or image has permeated our culture in a much more literal manner with the Apple design aesthetic so recognizable and connected to commerce. What once seemed like magic in the hands of a chosen few has now made itself accessible to everyone. That’s a good thing and a challenging thing.
"What once seemed like magic in the hands of a chosen few has now made itself accessible to everyone."
Q: What are the biggest challenges you face? How do you overcome them?
Visual language and its interpretation. I’m still a big believer in “Less is More" but in an ever changing technological landscape it’s difficult to persuade some folks of that.
Q: What are you looking ahead to in 2018?
Pushing the envelope with regard to visual language and its relationship to multi-channel content.
Q: What was your favorite campaign or project you worked on?
That’s so difficult. I was with Disney for several years and it has, as expected a very strong creative culture with multiple franchises and properties. The talent I was exposed to and got to partner with was exhilarating. That being said, launching our rebrand and putting all the pieces together over the summer/fall was a blast here at BECU.
"I’m still a big believer in “Less is More’ but in an ever changing technological landscape it’s difficult to persuade some folks of that."
Q: How do you handle creative feedback and reviews for the work your team produces?
I’m super direct, humorous and never mean. I believe in collaboration as the pinnacle of all creative success. Plus, I’m open to others ideas and trust their instincts. I think of myself merely as a conductor and advocate.
Q: What tools, books, or industry resources help you in your day-to-day work?
You know I stay in close touch with pretty much everyone who has every worked with me/for me. They keep me up to date on Global trends, storytelling and technological advances. They are really the life-blood and my link to excellence in design.
Q: How does creative drive business results for your organization?
It needs to resonate to the consumer (member) if it is member inspired. If I love something, but it doesn’t mean anything to the people we’re having a dialogue with, I haven’t done my job. It’s about being relatable, authentic and sincere in all visual and tonal/editorial executions.
"It’s about being relatable, authentic and sincere in all visual and tonal/editorial executions."
Q: Tell us about some brands you admire. What makes them stand out?
Disney, Nike, Fender Guitars, Starbucks, Patagonia. They know what they do well, and take risks, while maintaining the brands integrity.
Q: What’s one piece of advice you want to give to other creatives?
A huge thank you to Kim for taking the time to share her thoughts. Stay tuned for the next interview soon.