This is the second post in a three-part series. You can read the first post here.
In the last post, I spoke in broad strokes about Brand Therapy, introducing the idea that creatives must become part client therapists. It’s a part of our job to ask relevant questions, listen and learn to read our clients. Now, let’s talk about the different components that make up Brand Therapy.
News flash: it’s not all about the work
I know that might be hard to hear because for us, the work is everything. But bottom line is, if we don’t establish and strengthen our client relationship, the work will suffer. Establishing a relationship isn’t just about polite first meeting chit-chat; it’s much more than that. It’s about being open and honest with your intentions, establishing trust, asking plenty of questions and observing body language. Like all great relationships, it will require work and dedicated time. This is about a partnership — a collaboration between people who are experts in their fields. Once trust is gained, then buy-in will follow. Only then can truly great work happen.
It starts with the ears, not the mouth
It all comes down to what the client is saying or not saying. I’ve learned that sometimes what clients start out asking for isn’t always what they want or, more importantly, need. It’s only through the practice of active listening and asking meaningful questions will you uncover the true motivations behind a project. Skip the surface questions and ask ones that have more depth like:
• How did you come to the conclusion that you need a new logo, a brand refresh or website or…?
• Why did the past marketing efforts not work in your opinion?
• Why do you want to start with…?
The client will be excited and motivated by your inquisitiveness and interest in their challenges. This trust will allow you the chance to get at the heart of the issues. Only then, will you be able to design communications that achieve all the goals.
Become the person they want to call first
If a client is confused, has questions, is oscillating, feeling stressed or excitement toward your project, whom would you want them to call first? You, of course. But to get there, you need to give your client a reason to call you. Work to become their ears, the shoulder they need, the sounding board their missing, the person who provides sound advice. That can only happen if you work on your relationship.
Seek the truth not the sale
The right answer or direction isn’t always apparent early on in a project, despite all of the information shared by your client. The capacity to uncover the truth is an incredible and valuable skill we provide to our clients. The fact of the matter is, without knowing the backstory details behind a piece of communication, it’s virtually impossible to create something that meets the needs of clients and connects with the target audience.
Go forth and do good
By going into each project with the goal of really listening, having a process that focuses on collaboration, research, problem-solving and giving yourself the right amount of time needed to understand and nurture your client relationships, will help your clients feel good about believing and trusting in what you bring to the table.
In the end, this way of working will set you apart and position you as a true strategic partner. Your projects will go smoothly, your clients will be happy and your creative will be something you can truly be proud of.
There are a few openings available for the next Brand Therapy workshop starting mid January.
The workshop format consists of 4- 1 hour group calls over the lunch hour, beginning on Jan 21, 2016. Here’s what we’ll cover in each call. These 4 hours will transform your client relationships. Details about the next workshop here.
Call 1: Project planning for Success
Call 2: How to communicate with clients so they truly listen
Call 3: Presenting creative work for easy buy-in
Call 4: Dealing with tough personalities
Space is Limited.
Need more information or have some questions? Contact Cathy today.