Client-side dos and don’ts for a successful agency relationship

August 03, 2015

Hiring an agency to brand your business can seem overwhelming, similar to entering a dark, never-ending tunnel. As the client, the process and result is likely unknown. Hiring an agency to brand or re-brand your business means that you’ve consulted pros to lead the process, and will soon be privy to outstanding results. To your agency, the final product is far from unknown. They’re the marketing experts, and they likely already have an image in mind for your brand. Your agency will craft an entire strategy that reflects your business personality, along with your position within the market you operate. They’ve been reading you since your first point of contact, and already have plans that will meet and exceed your business goals.

Once you’ve hired the creative team you need, let them be creative. In order to make the process of working with a creative team enjoyable (not to mention yield the best results,) we’ve compiled a brief list of basic dos and don’ts.

 

1.Do disclose any musts from the beginning

For example, if your logo must be in all caps, must be orange and violet, or must use an ampersand instead of the word “and,” let us know from outset. While a creative team is going to want to understand your “musts” and give you honest feedback about which of your musts are appropriate, we do also understand that there are sometimes cultural (or historical) ideas that cannot change. Let us embrace these musts from the beginning and work our design magic, instead of surprising us on the day we present our concepts by saying, “I love them, but one of our investors said the logo must have a squirrel in it.”

2. Do offer your thoughts and ideas, along with any information that reveals your goals and personality

Be open to new suggestions and ideas, while also remembering that you hired a marketing team for a reason. Let your design team be creative and strategic (we’re not decorating for decorating’s sake). Exceptional design has a reason behind every decision, we are not creating anything just because it’s cute. Which brings me to the next point.

3. Don’t use the word cute

Unless you are a baby clothing boutique, a toy store, or maybe a pet store, don’t describe anything we present as “cute.” We’ll throw out that design instantaneously, no matter how much you like it. If you truly agree with a design concept, use a descriptive word such as impactful, thoughtful, awesome, perfect, engaging, that reflects me so well, and so forth. Most designers were trained to hold the opinion that being described as “cute” completely invalidates our work. Our sophisticated and thoughtful ideas are not just cute. This may sound petty, but designers are a rare breed. That’s why they’re so brilliant with aesthetics, I suppose.

4. Do learn to appreciate white space.

We’re going to use it. End of discussion (not that it was a discussion to begin with). There’s a common misconception that design has to be complicated, and that pages or interfaces must be filled with “design.” Abandon that notion, and throw it over the hypothetical cliff like the word “cute.” Viewers need clarity, and the use of white space and simple design offers just that. Breathing room gives viewers a chance to digest the information they are seeing, rather than interpreting a crowded page of “stuff” that gives no path to follow.

5. Don’t ask for your mom’s opinion, unless your mom is, in fact, an experienced designer.

If you are presented with 2-3 variations of your new logo, please don’t rely on your mom, husband, wife, daughter, or friend’s-mom’s-half-sister-in-law for advice. It’s great to have support and hear feedback from those you trust, but if you’re going to ask anyone, ask a stranger, or better yet, someone who falls in your target audience. Gathering the opinions of potential clients will give you a better, more-realistic gauge of emotional response and engagement level. Remember, design isn’t an exact science. We’ve been taught to calculate human response based on design principles, theory, and studies of consumer action. At the end of the day, exceptional design is undeniable. Trust that we are making good decisions, and we’ll deliver. At least, that’s how Keenability operates.

The branding process can be equated with raising a child. Naturally, you want your brand to be beautiful and successful, but you don’t have full control of the outcome. You can do your best to guide and aid the development and growth of your brand, but you may not have the extensive experience and practice that a marketing agency possesses.

The designers and creative agency are like the genetics and external factors which you cannot control. The difference is, you can choose your brand’s agency. Better make it a good one.