Why clients get the creative they deserve

Earlier in the year we had a meeting with a prospective new client who asked us to produce some creative work for their new business venture. And his marketing budget to invest in this brilliant product? £1,000.

I find this depressing because he clearly didn’t value what we do. And although he wanted our creative work, ideas and our thinking he wasn’t prepared to pay what our other clients pay. Which isn’t fair to them and isn’t fair to us.

When we explained this to him he took the attitude that another agency would bite his hand off to do the job for that money. While we decided to leave him to lose his fingers it got me thinking how this attitude had come about.

And then I remembered the Internet.

Ah yes of course.

The land of opportunity for digital design on the one hand. Crowdsourced creative and logos for $5 on the other.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the web. But it’s changed the economies of many sectors and ours is no exception. As well as other agencies our competition now includes people who understand design programmes very well but have limited talent, experience or a dangerous combination of both. They’re attractive to a certain type of client because they’re super cheap. But super cheap usually means inexperienced. And inexperienced can backfire. In the past year we have had to rectify three projects that have gone wrong because the supplier had no understanding of setting up print ready artwork, had no eye for detail and any notion of brand consistency had gone out the window.

The industry is in danger of eating itself as bedroom designers devalue our work and agencies cut their prices to try and compete. But there’s no winner here. The client gets poor work while agencies find it harder to be competitive.

So what’s the solution? The secret is to find the right clients. The ones who appreciate good creative and excellent service at a fair price. And as for the wrong clients? They can dive to the bottom and get the work they deserve.


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