We are blessed to work with many inspiring and intelligent clients. Some are accomplished marketers. Other are successful professionals from other fields like law, medicine, academia and religion.
Our clients would NEVER make mistakes; they’re all perfect. But we hear rumors of other clients who can develop bad habits.
Here are the ones cited most often:
1. Competing with their agency.
This is issue is as old as advertising. But now it’s enabled by computers, social media, mobile, camera phones and the proliferation of creative software. And the smaller the client, the more likely this is to happen.
The adage in our business is, “Why get a dog, if you want to bark yourself?” In law, the saying is, “anyone who tries to represent themselves has a fool for a client.”
Agencies don’t mind being challenged and pushed. But they don’t want to compete against someone who is both the judge and jury. This is un-motivating and detrimental to getting the best work.
2. Trying to save money by only giving the agency a few days to do an assignment.
We understand this thinking. “They can’t charge us for a week’s worth of hours if we only give them two days to do it.” Makes sense.
And, yet it never seems to work out that way. When the agency has to drop everything and rush to make a deadline, hours pile up quickly across the agency. Quick decisions create more revisions as well as more mistakes.
But worse, the ideas are never as good. The work is often expected -- usually the first thing you come up with. It is rarely insightful, fully thought out or inspiring.
3. Getting too close to a subject.
Clients live and breathe their product 24/7. They know its benefits inside and out. It’s an agency’s job to translate this knowledge to the rest of the world. We tell every client, “we speak to the 99.999% who don’t work here.”
Smart clients know this. Smart clients know that they need objective, outside perspective. They want consumer-focused thinking. They seek the expertise of people working in several different categories. I suppose this why agencies still exist.
4. Not trusting their gut.
Clients are people, too. They like to laugh and have fun. Every day, they react naturally – to movies, tv shows, and maybe even an idea for an ad. They smile instinctively and react viscerally.
But then…they change into client mode. They ignore their initial reactions and start trying to over-analyze the message. The mistake is that, no one else in the world will do this. Consumers will only ever have an immediate emotional reaction. Therefore, clients should trust their first instinct. Their natural human reaction.
5. Thinking Brand Guidelines are more than merely that.
They are simply a collection of qualities that give the brand it’s crucial consistency. A set of rules. An owner’s manual. They do not magically empower the client with design skills or writing chops. Our saying is, “Just because you have the rule book of baseball, doesn’t make you Babe Ruth.”
We always appreciate our clients, especially because they understand how to get the best from their agency.