Advice from American Greetings VP: How creatives and the business side can get along

Many people think of American Greetings as a purveyor of greeting cards and party goods, but as Carol Miller describes it, the privately-held company is in the “meaningful connections” business, helping people make connections with family and friends.

American Greetings’ new headquarters complex in Westlake, Ohio opened in September 2016.

Miller’s role at American Greetings as Vice President of Innovation is to define a centralized innovation strategy for the privately-held company, which is based in Cleveland. She oversees a team of about 35 people, plus a handful of freelancers and contractors — a group that effectively serves as the company’s R&D arm, honing in on consumer needs and creating new products or experiences to address them, before handing things over to the business units.

On a recent IL Live call, Miller shared ten tips for getting business-side people and creatives to work together more productively.

“Many companies,” she told us, “will initiate a project and the business folks will do their thing. They [assess the] consumer need, [develop] the insights, and strategy, and marketing objectives, and financials, and [create] a sales strategy… Then they bring it into the folks who’ve been trained in creative. They expect those creative folks to execute on the business person’s stated objective.”

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