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Alienation of the species called clients | Slangbusters Blog
Jul 8, '20

Alienation of the species called clients

As far as the client goes, studios agencies tend to fall on the outsourcing business more than the creative business.

There has been enough written, said, and done about what clients expect from their collaborations with creative studios and how to keep them happy. But what a branding studio might want from their client is definitely not (only) money.

Almost every employee of a creative studio dreads client calls. And not just because they are untimely calls after work hours, but also because their demands are sometimes far from what their briefs initially were. Creatives often wish they could read the client’s minds and figure out their needs but that is not possible (yet).

Before we start a rant, let’s understand why is there a gap between what a client usually wants? and what is the role of the creative agency in bridging the gap?.

The gap usually starts at the start- is the client looking to collaborate, partner with your studio or are they hiring your team for “design services?” that sets the stone of the relationship between the creatives and the client. The ideal way, of course, is collaboration. And there is a simple reason for that. When you, as a creative agency, are building a brand, you are taking the best of your understanding of the idea that the client provided you and it’s metamorphosis into something that is not just more tangible, but reveals a whole lot about the brand. It is the point of contact between the end consumer and the organization. Now, is it possible that with a document that gives a rough vision and mission statement, or even with a story and philosophy document that is nothing better than an ‘About Us’ page- enough raw material to build a brand upon? Whatever you come up with this information will be a diluted version of the idea that the entrepreneur might not see their idea reflected in. They do not know the branding language. They might not be able to communicate what they feel is missing from the identity system you created.

That feeling will be translated into their feedback which might be “Can you make the logo bigger?” They don’t know better.

This is just a small attempt at letting the clients, the entrepreneurs, the founders, know better- of their role after getting a branding studio on board, and for creative agencies to push for more client involvement.

Is branding a service industry?

Out of the many service industries, branding is one such service that requires client involvement in the process as much as the creatives at the studio are involved in the process. Ideally, a client does not outsource the project to the studio, they are rendering your services to help them realize what their idea can achieve.

Although, is it a service though? It is all based on the approach both parties have. Business owners who don’t understand the need for branding, think of it as logo designing, and social media posts that have a design consistency often go for the hiring service providers approach. In a competitive market, there are many such agencies that run on such clients and a team that is skilled at using design tools like photoshop. They often use keywords like 360-degree creative solutions that give holistic digital solutions that start from advertising, branding, social media, and a never-ending list of keyword-heavy services.

The fact that these creative agencies provide branding services, while themselves having no unique positioning is ironically hilarious.

Most large corporations and businesses put a team in charge of hiring these agencies and these teams will usually choose a studio that will ensure they are not fired, and usually not a team that will be best for their company.

Of the client’s understanding

Apart from the roles and responsibilities of creatives to generate concepts and build a brand, it is also important for them to educate the client about the process that their idea is undergoing. This small but very impactful practice is not giving out your secret recipe, but it is a practice in involving the client in customizing the recipe to the client’s taste as you are creating, rather than undergoing the whole process, and then finding out their opinion in the final presentation. This will save time, money, resources, and is basically a sustainable way to design. If the client is involved in almost every step of the branding process, there is much less chance of them disliking the end result.

This is also necessary for a creative to do, to contribute towards changing the attitude of business owners globally about branding services. Knowledge does have power. Instead of seeing it at face value, they will understand and get to know about the rest of the iceberg, rather than just the tip of it. Not only that, but they will also value their own brand in order to not let go of small discrepancies when it comes to marketing and communication. There is a higher chance of them following the brand guidelines to the T which will make the impact on audience perception speed up, and your portfolio being stronger.

Chuck the jargon. Use terminology they will understand.

Introspect the process.

Look at your own process, as a branding studio, what is your process, what is working out, what isn’t. It is very easy to become a business-centric, money-making creative venture even if you started out very passionately, doing each project with heart.

There will be difficult clients, some give feedback with the intention of influencing, wanting to practice their power of having a say in what the identity system will look like. And there will be the client who would be curious, wanting to know ‘the why’ of your decision making, as an expert in your field. They will trust your process and also get involved, not to influence the outcome, but to best reflect their idea, their philosophy in the brand. That is the client you would want to give your best to, will get the best fruition of branding, and will make an impact in the market.

At Slangbusters, the philosophy of busting jargon revolves around enabling the entrepreneur to get more involved in the process of branding their own idea. Let’s start our collaboration with a call? Contact us now.

— by Manas, Content Strategist, Slangbusters Studio

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