We’re a naughty brand design Agency – we often don’t do as we’re told!
We’re sure you must have heard the old adage, ‘The customer is always right’.
The client isn’t always right. The client doesn’t always know best. And sometimes, just occasionally, it’s best to be honest and tell them.
We’re often seen as a naughty agency, as we don’t do as we’re told.
We don’t do it to annoy our clients though. We do it because we know we’re right and they’re wrong.
We do it out of love!
Love for them and love for the end results.
Harsh? Maybe. Results-driven? Abso-bloody-lutely!
There are many great quotes in the business world, but we feel this one sums up our point perfectly. It’s from someone who knows a thing or two about making businesses successful. You may have heard of him.
“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.”
Steve Jobs, Apple inc.
That’s why we believe that if you ask us to work on your brand and design, then you’re advised to let us ‘do our thing’ over expecting us to follow your ideas. We’ll certainly listen. But if you’re off the mark, we’ll tell you, explain why, and do what we feel is right.
Clients don’t always know best; we do
We’ve been doing this thing for 25 years. With that comes a lot of experience, including experience we gained during times when things didn’t turn out the way they were expected to.
Why would all that experience be ignored (by us) when a client shares a brief that we know simply won’t work?
There have been many times when a client briefs us on a job and we just know that what they want us to do, or the way they want us to do it, just won’t work.
It won’t get the results they need. That’s what they’re paying us for. So we push back and say (politely) “No”.
We say no to clients for a few different reasons
Here are some of the main ones.
The comms or marketing person is inexperienced at briefing agencies
We’re not trying to be all high and mighty here, but there are good and bad ways to brief a design agency. If you’re not experienced in the best way to brief an agency on a project, then the results you get may well fall short of the results you want.
We feel it’s a good thing to push back and ask lots of questions. It helps the person briefing us to improve and also helps them to get a good result for their team. It helps them to think of things they may not have even been aware of. That can only help everyone in the long run.
The client wants to achieve gold star results on a lead level budget
Setting expectations is key to a good working relationship and when the client has a grand plan presented on a Fisher Price budget we have to say something! It’s not their fault, they’re not trying to pull the wool over our eyes, they just have a lot of optimism!
It’s only right that we tell them like it is. For this, you get that, not that.
The briefing has come down from exec level, so it needs to happen
Oh dear. We see this one a lot. Just because someone at the top had an idea in a meeting does not mean it will work in a design brief and it doesn’t mean it’ll work in the real world either.
We’re often met with a marketing person who’s just going with it as it’s come from ‘up above’, so they don’t question it.
We do, and we counter pitch with a new brief instead. But we’ll explain and help them – we’d never leave them stuck.
The client wants an 8 page brochure and has enough text for a 16 pager!
It can be really easy to create a lot of wording and not focus on how that will look in a beautifully designed brochure. We’ve seen 16 pages of copy crammed into an 8 pager – it’s ugly! Don’t ruin the design just because you think you want an 8 page brochure.
We’ll advise you to expand your brochure or shrink your copy depending on the best option for you and what would work better for your customers.
The client wants an infographic but have no facts or figures
We’re good, but we’re not that good! We can create the most amazing design, but we need something to go on. Infographics work very well indeed… but you need to supply the content or it’s not going anywhere!
We design it, you research it. We’re not about to pretend we’re an expert in your world any more than accept you’re an expert in ours.
The client wants Word templates, but we say no because they’re better in PowerPoint
There are so many different ways to present your message that we’re going to get suggestions that won’t work out. PowerPoint, for example, is far easier to work with for less-experienced people than Word and the final piece will be easier to present too.
If you want it in Word, but it’s better in PowerPoint, you’ll be getting it in PowerPoint. #SorryNotSorry. 😉
The client wants an app because it’s the ‘trendy’ thing to do
We love a good app as much as the next agency, but sometimes you simply don’t need one. When it’s a sledgehammer to crack a nut, we’ll hit you with some home truths as well as saving you some money and effort.
If all you need is some extra functionality on a website, we’ll do that instead as it’s less expensive and might be a better solution to your problem.
The client wants to use crap images from their iPhone
Smartphone cameras have come a long way since the introduction of the first camera phone in 2000, but even now with the 12MP iPhones, the quality won’t be as good as what the good old-fashioned camera was designed for… taking photos!
Tell us you want to use your smartphone photos and we’ll suggest using some decent stock images or having some bespoke photography instead.
The client asks us to deliver at break-neck speed
Whilst we always will try our hardest to get the design project delivered in good time, in our experience, it often breaks processes when we ‘rush it through’.
Ask us to go to faster and we’ll be straight-up and tell you that it isn’t possible, rather than over-promise and under-deliver like some people do.
The client wants to rebrand but won’t spend on the guidelines
Cutting corners on a re-brand isn’t a great idea. Your brand will form most of your marketing in the future. Brand guidelines are sooooo important and not having them is like flying in the dark!
We don’t like flying in the dark or asking you to, so we politely insist that you have guidelines with any re-brand to ensure our new creation continues to work for you in the future.
The client has to produce an annual report and doesn’t want to ‘design it’
Hang on, you do actually want this report to be read, don’t you? The whole idea is that your audience actually get the information you’ve put together, yes?
By designing it with a theme it makes the most of it and encourage people to actually read it. This is a small investment in comparison to the overall cost of the project.
Ask us to set it in a Word document and we’ll be having words!
We’re not awkward. We’re experienced!
We’ve seen a lot of design work in our 26 years and that gives us a unique view on the way information and brands are presented. If you think your idea is great, but we’re certain it’ll fail, we’re not going to do you a disservice and go along with it.
We’re not being awkward, we’re being valuable. You’re not just buying our services; you’re buying our experience.
So there you have it. Our admission that we don’t always do what we’re told all the time!