Generalist v Specialist... What's the Difference?

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Generalist v Specialist... What's the Difference?

Deciding to engage a generalist or a specialist on a creative project can be a daunting task. While both have their advantages, it’s important to understand the differences between the two and what’s right for your creative project. In this quick guide, Not Another™ walks through the pros and cons of each and explains why the Not Another™ team is made up exclusively of highly-skilled specialists.

What is a Generalist?

Generalists have a broad knowledge base and can switch gears easily between tasks. Typically employed full-time by a company, they allow businesses to offer a diverse range of skill sets. In the creative field, many tasks can be covered by a generalist and their wide range of knowledge is useful for small teams that don’t need to be technical. Generalists know a little about a lot, so their skill sets may fall short when tasked with more intricate, specialised projects.

Creative generalists can switch between tasks such as campaign strategy and planning, photography, and social media management in a single afternoon. Their broad knowledge makes it easier for them to tackle a new project in an unfamiliar field, but can struggle to perform when more depth is needed.

What is a Specialist?

Specialists have honed their craft in one discipline. These individuals focus on a single area of expertise, mastering all its intricacies. They’ve achieved a technical knowledge that can confidently be called in for high-level projects and tend to be experts in their field. Though they may not understand all the moving parts of a business or creative project, their skills allow them to provide best practice solutions, solve big problems, and deliver expertise in their field.

For creative projects, specialist skills can run the gamut. Between videographers, graphic designers, web developers, SEO experts, and more, their niched down knowledge is endlessly valuable when delivering a project. The years of experience and discipline in one field means they know the ins-and-outs, are familiar with best practices, and are up-to-date on the latest technology and information.

Generalist v Specialist

Generalists are often popular for small or growing businesses to keep costs down. They can easily adapt to most tasks, offer a broad knowledge base that’s enticing to companies, and can quickly work through a multitude of tasks. Once trained, a full-time staff member is fully immersed in your business, meaning less briefing time on projects.

However, when a project gets technical or creative needs to be ramped up to the next level, generalists fall short. Specialists provide the missing link for businesses to go above and beyond the competition with their expertise, experience, and general know-how. Their defined niche allows a business to grow into areas or markets a generalist may not be comfortable or familiar with.

Agencies typically employ full-time generalists to offer creative solutions to clients, but this can lead to high payrolls and low satisfaction among clients. Generalists often lack the skill set to take strategies or problems to the next level, which is often what a company needs when they engage an agency. Not Another™ has a team of specialists who are the best in their field, and engaged on a project-to-project basis. This arrangement allows for best practices to be implemented and niched knowledge to be utilised to provide the best solution.

The Not Another™ Model

Not Another™ has a team of global, highly-skilled specialists who are among the best in their field. Working with creatives across the world, Not Another™ is able to pick the right creative to the right job. This model avoids the costly practice of employing unnecessary generalists, and also enables Not Another™ to offer industry-leading solutions, tailored to the client’s business.

This model allows Not Another™ to keep costs low, as these specialists are only engaged when their skillset is needed for a project. Not Another™ is able to bring the best resources to client projects, without the overhead of a full-time generalist staff. The creative services offered by Not Another™ range far and wide, instead of relying on the skillset of an in-house staff.

How We Choose Our Team

Finding the best creative for the job doesn’t mean Not Another™ outsources projects to the open market. Not Another™ has hand-picked a network of industry-leading specialists who are trusted to deliver top-notch work. After the initial kick-off to determine the client’s needs, Not Another™ works within this team to determine the right creatives for the job.

With the Help of Modern Technology

This model wouldn’t be possible without the connectivity of today’s world. Through video calling, Slack, fast internet, and collaborative, cloud-based software, Not Another™ can be in touch with the right creative exactly when needed. It wasn’t long ago that companies were forced to hire from their local talent pool, which often resulted in the generalist model. Now, the world is able to work together, pulling in the exact talent that’s needed, when needed.

How Our Team Benefits

Not Another™ also benefits from this way of working. Flexible hours and workloads offer the ability to travel, juggle home life, and work when suits. It allows specialists to stay at the top of their field and become an expert in one niche, rather than spreading themselves thin through full-time generalist roles. Finally, the specialist is able to flex the muscle they’ve worked hardest to hone - and the client reaps those benefits.

Who Would You Rather Work With?

When you engage an agency, you want the best. You pay for expertise to solve your business’s pain points and you want best practices implemented and followed. Not Another™ understands that, which is why it works with a hand-selected group of best-in-the-class specialists. The team gives each business a curated approach to creative efforts, tailored to your needs.

If you’re ready to work with Not Another™’s global team of highly-trained specialists to get your job done, we encourage you to reach out.

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