Last Friday, July 6, we posted an article, “What is Jameson Blake’s shoutout worth?”.
It was a provocative piece, and we wanted it to start a conversation. As a web design and development agency, we are very familiar with the challenges of clients undervaluing our work and the struggles of getting paid. We get it, and yet, something was gnawing at us to question our normal response. Were we missing something?
I led part of our team in creating a piece that would start a conversation about a topic we care deeply about and that we feel we had a unique position on. On Thursday night, with a burst of inspiration and excitement, we worked from around 9 PM to 4 AM and then published the post.
The rest of our team had no idea about the post as it was conceptualized, written, and published so quickly. They only knew about it on Friday morning, and due to concerns they raised, we took it down.
Through all the feedback, both supportive and critical, from the team and from the community at large, we as a company want to bring this up because it’s important that we start a conversation on this topic.
We realized that we are opening a can of worms. However, situations similar to the “graphic design for a shoutout” occurrence is not going to go away because these incidents have been going on for a long time, and it’s a real issue that we need to start talking about objectively in order to learn and grow as a community.
Question 1: Why does the thought of exchanging a “shoutout” with a graphic design piece get us so upset?
As creative professionals, we always put our hearts into the work we do, that’s why it’s so personal. When someone undervalues the worth of our work, it feels like that same person is also undervaluing us.
There are different perceptions of value. What’s valuable in the entertainment industry may not be valuable in the creative industry, and vice versa.
Influencers can be artists, and in their industry, a “shoutout” is something of value. We, as a community, should respectfully educate and not immediately degrade another artist’s work because they spend years building their reputation too, in the same way that designers hone their craft.
So, was this really a valueless offer?
Question 2: What potential value does a shoutout from the right person have?
We ran some quick calculations on the potential value of Jameson’s reach using average market prices. We wanted to get the conversation started, and if you have another calculation of value based on different assumptions, we’d love to see those as well so all of us can broaden our perspectives.
We took this a step further and created an online calculator using these formulas.
However, there’s one thing to remember as we try to identify the worth of a person’s shoutout: It’s not about the shoutout. It’s about who is doing the shoutout, and who is reading the shoutout.
All this is just potential value, and is just a simplified way to calculate a shoutout’s value. There is a lot more you have to think about. To name a few: the person’s background, their audience, and how aligned your brand is with them.
Jameson Blake put an offer out there, open to everyone, and let’s not kid ourselves, others will continue to make similar offers. But you have the power to decide – If I take this offer, is my effort worth it? How do I evaluate his shoutout’s exposure? Is his market my market?
We hope that this post opens up conversations about the shift and disruption that we see happening in the creative industry. We’d like to hear your thoughts. Comment on our blog, on our facebook post, or tag us on social media so we can keep track of the conversation.