August 2019, a true story - A prospective health related start-up company (let's call them X) needed branding and got in touch. We had a video call with the team members at X and discussed their requirements. We also took the time and explained how we would approach the project if we we're fortunate enough to work with them.
We explained that the first part of the process, would be to facilitate a brand strategy exercise in the form of on online workshop. "Do we have to go through this?" X replied, "we just need you to create a logo". So we explained our process and went over our project plan with them again. "You're a bit expensive, we don't need you to do that strategy thing, we didn’t ask for it and can't see it being much use to us..." So I politely asked them, "how will we know what we are going to create is aligned to your target market?"
X replied, "well, we have some ideas already and can show you some logos that we like".
I explained that as a company, we don't feel comfortable approaching a project blind, we prefer to dig deeper, so maybe this time we're not a great fit for each other. X agreed, and we wished them all best.
Four months later, I answer a phone call. It was the marketing manager of X. Turns out that their branding project hadn't gone well. X had decided to use a local designer that was referred to them. The £150 logo that they were quoted turned up nearly six weeks later than promised, and when it did it wasn't what X wanted. Apparently, it then went sour and so they ended up finding someone else, who quoted £450 for a new logo. That turned up on time and was a lot better, but when they contacted the designer for another round of amends, they weren't available. In fact, it turned out they had gone on holiday, (get this) for three months, on a road-trip across Europe!
I mean, who does that, right?
So X then contacted a company they found on Google, and asked them to make the amends. They agreed and sent the logo over. Then the worst was yet to come, the company emailed back, theres something that they should probably be aware of, when rummaging through a stock image site they found their £450 logo available for £22! Off-the-shelf and readily available to anyone.
So, we opened up a dialogue, explained our process again and agreed on a price. Then we executed a strategy session with X which informed how we created their brand and in the meantime they got on with the job of building their business. Because they now trust us, we still produce work for them today.
I tell this story not to gloat, but to show how much our industry is changing. Graphic designers are ten a penny these days. Websites like Fiverr and People Per Hour are chock full of young, up and coming designers, all ready to make things look nice. I mean that's sort of their job, but when it comes to your business objectives, your goals, your revenue, shouldn't you be asking for a lot more than style over substance?
In our humble opinion, subjectivity is never a good option when it comes down to grown-up business decisions.
Strategy: Gaining clarity, understanding your goals, researching your market and exploring your brand personality. This dictates the creative direction we take. After all, you only have one chance to get it right.
If your brand needs aligning with your target market, or you know someone who would benefit from our expertise please get in touch as we understand that in this busy life we all lead, you've got better things to do than worry about getting it wrong.