Level9 Blog

Thursday, April 28, 2011 - Tim Warner

From Good to Great

Over the years, we’ve noticed that certain relationships between a client and an agency yield a greater chance of true success. It is essential that this relationship begin with trust. We see our clients business as an extension of our business. We love it when they succeed. With trust, a client is more apt to open up about their goals, future plans, hopes and dreams. We appreciate that they are allowing us to share in their vision and offering us the opportunity to enhance it. There is no question: groundbreaking things can happen when we are allowed to mold their vision to the best that it can be.  However, more often than not, clients are simply unwilling to relinquish the necessary amount of control in order to grow their dream. Awesomeness is often shelved by trepidation, and they settle for the results of an unrefined vision instead of a finished product.

Q. Why pay for a truly custom project when, due to your own boundaries, you will just get what everyone else has?

A. We find that many clients find it difficult to step outside of their brand and leave personal opinions aside.  They hold themselves back by limiting their vision to what they know.  We ask that they push past their comfort level and allow us to help them dream bigger. It is a complete waste of talent and resources to settle for blending in, instead of working to stand out.

To demonstrate, let’s contrast a scenario from both sides:

Client #1 describes a process that they need their site to follow; it needs to do X when a visitor clicks on Y. They say, “go look at ABC website to see what I am looking for. They do it the best I’ve seen.”

Sure, we can do that. We understand what they’re looking for. But, is this necessarily the right choice for them? Often, the answer is no. We do custom work and therefore we know that one size doesn’t always fit all.  If they can trust that we see their vision, we will tweak it to be better.

Client #2 describes their vision for the site. They show us metrics on what would equate to a home run and ask for our input on how best to get there.  They, too, see ABC company. However, they wonder how that process can be refined further, knowing that ABC’s site was built a year and a half ago.

This client steered us in a direction, stated what their intended outcome was, and trusted us to get them there.  This is a successful relationship.

Can you see how the approach and the relationship can lead to drastically different outcomes?  Don’t settle for wanting what everyone else has. Make everyone else want what you have.

Here are some examples of what happens when a client has allowed us to participate in shaping their vision:

Why are so many business owners cautious to innovate and create? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Comments
Ryan Prentice commented on 29-Apr-2011 05:23 PM
Excellent post and it's a topic that I'm sure is close to the hearts of almost all design and marketing companies. You couldn't be more right in that it's the clients who give us free reign for creative ideas and take our advice/recommendations on board
that inevitably get the best value for money. Of course, we want to give all clients an end product/result that they want so the secret is in knowing when and how to tell a client that 'we work better in this way rather than getting led through the process.
I've found if your straight with clients and communicate something very similar to what you've said in your article then they soon begin to realize the best way forward.
Tim Warner commented on 02-May-2011 09:45 AM
Thanks for the insight, Ryan. Who else has an opinion on this matter?
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