How to be a good client

Great work is the result of great communication. As your agency, we can only produce the type work you want to see when you tell us what you want. If your ideal customer is someone who only wears green sneakers, tell us. No matter how small or silly a thought may be, we actually want to hear it. The more we know, the better we can be.

Here are some tips:

Be upfront and clear about your expectations. We’ve been in situations where we start a project and, halfway through, we find out the client wanted something completely different. Poor communication produces poor work. Issues may always arise during a project (deadlines may be shortened, minds may be changed), but the more we know at the start, the better we can respond to curveballs.

Get us involved. When you hired us, you didn’t just hire an ad agency or a marketing firm. You expanded your team to include us. We want your business to succeed. If you’re hosting a charity event, tell us. If you’re considering adding a new department, ask for our opinion. If you’re having a potluck, invite us. Our relationship with you, even if it’s for a single project, needs to be a partnership. The more you let us into your company culture, the better we can understand what drives you.

Be honest. Too often, people aren’t honest because they are scared of hurting someone’s feelings. A client may not like the spec artwork we presented but is scared of saying something because the graphic designer is in the room. You may find an error a press release but don’t want to insult us by pointing it out. Trust me when I tell you this: You aren’t hurting our feelings. We need to know everything you like, everything you don’t like and everything in between. And I mean everything – right down to your favorite shade of blue or if it needs to read “home of sports” instead of “sports home.” The more we know about you, the better we can be at producing work you like.

Expect some give and take. We will listen to your ideas, but that doesn’t mean we will take them all. You hired us for a reason, so if we choose to not implement clip art into an ad, it’s not because we didn’t hear you. It’s because our experience has provided us with a better way to get the message across. If we don’t use your quote in a press release, it’s not because we forgot. It’s because we understand what will get the media’s attention. Of course, we will talk out these situations with you as they come up so we’re always all on the same page. The more you understand that we work in your best interest, the better client you will be.

Great clients produce great work. What type of client do you want to be?

Nadia Zerka is a client relations manager at Imagine Communications. She can be reached at nzerka@weareimagine.com.

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