Wednesday, February 13, 2013

How to be unpopular with clients.

I don’t care what my clients want. Not really. As an advertising creative and writer, I’m supposed to say the opposite; I’m supposed to say that their needs and wants and desires are not only of the utmost importance, but the sole reason for my existence. Wrong.

Clients only think in terms of bullet points. Oftentimes the points look a lot like this:
·      Sell more
·      Get more likes and reposts
·      Sell more
·      Sell more

They live and breathe their brands and products. The result: they think they’re more important than they actually are. Trust me, if you really have an all-important product, like a vaccine or cocaine, people will find you to hand you piles and piles of their cash. 

So when a client brief comes through the door, instead of treating every word like a jewel falling from the mouth of some great deity, I approach it as if it were a gun loaded with bullets in the hands of a toddler—with slow movements and extra caution. That’s not to say all clients are misguided or stupid, but more that they are coming at a problem only from what they want, which is where the danger lies.

If you only care about what you want, you aren’t listening. You’re telling. And telling is not selling. That’s a very “client out” approach.

So I don’t bother telling consumers what my clients want; they already know. Instead I ask myself why the consumer should care. What is it about my clients’ products or services that can improve a consumers’ lifestyle? Or at least provided them with a mildly engaging experience? Once I find that, oftentimes the bullet points get checked off in rapid succession. That’s a very benefit driven approach—a “consumer in” approach.

As a creative, it may not be the most popular approach, but as a consumer, I like it better than listening to someone incessantly talk about themselves.