There are many articles out there talking about bad client habits and as true and sad as they may be, it’s nice to know that we agencies are not alone when it comes to dealing with tricky clients.
However, we shouldn’t forget that there are nice clients too, who value the work and relationship of consultancies and creative agencies! Here are 10 great clients we are thankful for:
I always like a project that starts with a well-written brief. It shows that the client has given the project a lot of thought and that it wasn’t just a “shot from the hips”. With a well-written brief, we are able to recognise what matters to the client, from a well-defined target audience versus “general public” or “millennials”, to what are the exact goals and objectives of the project as well as the client’s expectations.
It is natural that in today’s busy world, projects often run on a tight timeline. However, at the same time we often encounter some clients that understand very well that good work needs time and that magic rarely happens overnight. On the other hand, a project for which the deadlines and goals are constantly being pushed backwards also lead to dissatisfaction as it drains enthusiasm and drive for the job. A good middle way is best with sporadic and appropriate milestone meetings.
These days, paying a pitch fee is quite rare in our industry. Yet, every now and then you meet a client who respects the work of creative agencies and consultants where a lot of time and effort is put into a proposal and presentation. Despite not being rewarded with the project contract, it is a very nice gesture by the client to cover some of the expenses that the agency has had to incur during the pitch period.
Clients who don’t need to be asked for resources before a project are one of the best clients. They have all the required files and information ready for the agency to work with, right from the start. It makes our lives so much easier when we have all the assets ready at the beginning of the project, e.g. logos or image material, text elements, background information or even existing branding guidelines, etc.
We’ve recently had a client that was surprisingly understanding when it came to revisions. It is quite common in our industry to include 2 or 3 rounds of revisions into the base contract, meaning they are already paid for. Beyond that, for revision #4 and more, we have to be compensated as it could lead to additional hours of otherwise unpaid work. These revisions are then usually being charged as so-called ‘Variation Orders’.
The client mentioned earlier had asked for additional revisions and even though she’s not familiar with our industry and common practices, she understood very well that extra adjustments take time and effort and therefore her out-of-scope requests needed to be paid additionally.
We look up to clients who grant us creative freedom, it shows respect and understanding. Without creative freedom, a client can be seen as “over controlling” and it would seem as if he/she would be better off hiring a robot that can just execute strict instructions that are being provided. Closely related to this is also the next point.
I’ve recently met up with a doctor who was involved in a branding project for a new clinic. Although he was expressing some criticism and it seemed that he didn’t like everything that he saw at that particular milestone meeting, he was very fair and said that he knows that we are experts in our field. This kind of attitude is not too common and very often clients forget that we are professionals in what we are doing on a daily basis.
Likewise – in an opposite scenario – we wouldn’t dare to challenge the doctor when it comes to the choice of instruments that he is using in his practice or on the operation table; would we?
At the end of the day, I think, it comes down to communication and finding the right tone for criticism and with the right dialogue it’s always possible to find a solution which works for us and the client.
Some companies actually do some research before reaching out to agencies and consultants.
Who are the best players in the region? What kind of work have these agencies done before? Will they understand my situation and the project at hand? Answers to questions like these will provide a client with a better understanding of the market. Many agencies might not be suitable as they are deemed too expensive, too small or too big, they may have experience in the FMCG field only and may not be suitable to work in automotive, etc. Once the client has a shortlist of a few suitable agencies, it is fair to invite them for an ‘RFQ’ or ‘RFP’ (request for quotation or request for proposal) and it’s only fair to compare the quotations of 3 vendors before deciding on the consultant or agency.
Closely linked to the above point, some companies have realised that a pitch (or tender) is the process to find the best and most suitable vendor or service provider for a particular job/project.
It is therefore always great news for us when we hear that a client is not asking for a full creative submission and that it is the cost estimation, the credentials and the way of working and the methodology that is being looked at in the submission. Asking for numerous and detailed creative work before being awarded for the job is unfortunately not uncommon, but it is not in favour to participants that aren’t getting the project.
A business is a business. We have employees and bills to pay too. Paying the bill and paying the bill on time is the best trait that a client can have. It is refreshing to see a client pay the bill on time. It doesn’t only show that the client loved our work but also that they understand and respect the business relationship. Some work for passion, everyone works for money.
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