4 Questions We Ask in Every Client Meeting
1. How do you measure success?
This can apply to really any project, but in marketing (and repeat after me) YOU MUST ALWAYS ASK FOR A CLEAR METRIC. What's your client's expected ROI? What's their expected revenue? What revenue did they receive from a similar project? You can aim high but always be realistic with the outcome. Some projects are much slower than others. For example, with email- brands make their money back almost immediately, with Facebook ads- it might be months before things really start to build.
With projects that have a less clear measure of success, like a rebrand, measuring success comes with client happiness and consumer alignment. Does the rebrand make sense to consumers and does it help more clearly identify who the brand is for? With clients- is the style reflective of the brand's voice and is the client proud of what the brand's future looks like?
2. What does the future of your brand look like?
You could be working with a mom and pop soap company out of the deep bayou in Lousiana. DOESN'T MATTER. Branding must be created to reflect where the brand sees its future. If mom and pop see their bar soap in Emily Ratjakowskis bathroom, then first- you thank the gods and goddesses for sending you a client with vision and you build them the chicest, most modern brand that would make Anna Wintour smeyez (eye-smile, behind her glasses of course). Do not pay attention to what the brand is leaving behind- that's in the past with your trash exes and middle school yearbook photos. You are going to give Mom and Pop's Southern Soap Shop the glow-up of their dreams.
3. What are you unhappy about with your current strategy/ design/ campaigns/ photos/etc?
I've seen this so many times:
Client: "I just don't know what I'm not happy with but whatever it is, needs to be fixed... like now...”
You’re gonna really try hard to fight this urge inside you that says, "No problem- we can fix it”. And even now I bet you’re thinking “I mean… we could just give it a try…"
NOPE. You can politely offer up suggestions or visuals but if the client doesn't even know what they want or what they did and didn't like, you sure as hell aren't going to be able to create it. A good client is just as valuable as a talented designer or consultant. They must be able to articulate where the current branding/project failed and why they were unhappy with the results.
4. What makes your brand different?
Since we primarily work in the clean industry, not just for competitive reasons but also project-based reasons you need to ask what makes their brand different. Are they servicing an under-represented market? Are they a first-mover (the first product of their kind)? Are they a second-mover (will the project be a clear improvement on a new and up and coming market)?
Why are these important? Well, marketing 101 can be broken into three very simple categories. Who are we (the brand) and what are we selling (what is our product or service) and who are we selling it to (who are our customers). It doesn't matter what the product is- if there is a need then you can create a brand, a story, and a strategy for the marketing mix (photos, design, assets, campaigns, ads, etc.). If your client doesn't have a clear vision of this- DON'T TAKE THE PROJECT. You will not only cause yourself a ton of a headache trying to define a brand and space that doesn’t exist or doesn’t make sense but neither you or your client will be happy with the results.
Lastly, remember that good marketing and design fails sometimes. I mean just about name brands from Google to Target to HBO- all have made branding mistakes or marketing errors. Even well thought-out ideas can be unpredictable so it's important to get the input from a lot of people- the brand, potential consumers, your friends, your employees… the more people the better.
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