We do effective work, that gets the right results. It’s not just pretty – although it might be – or sounds good. It’s work that works.
It’s generally a shock when you tell clients for the first time that you’re intention isn’t always to make them happy. Happiness is a poor measure of the success of work anyway, you tell them. A frown, or look of abject terror, is usually the response. We’ve typically only been working together at that point for a few days, or haven’t even started.
But, we explain, ‘happiness is the journey, not the goal.’ Ok, so we never say that. But, we do spend a long time with clients to understand their purpose, the aims, their measures of success and the place they want to get to. We get to know them, the business and their people. We build relationships. Deeply understanding their stories so that we can effectively tell them in a million different ways, and protect them – that is the basis for everything that we do.
What we offer our clients, the reason they keep us around, is perspective. We know our clients stories inside and out but we’re not in their businesses day to day and so we’re a fresh pair of eyes and a good sounding board for a new (or old) thought or idea. We ask the questions their customers will, until we get it. That thing that we get is then the story that we tell.
Sometimes the desired outcome of a piece of work is to help earn a client more money by helping them sell more products or their service more often; sometimes it’s helping them reach new people and build their audience; sometimes it’s about making new connections for them through stories, events, face-to-face meetings or email intro’s. Often it’s a bit of all of that.
It’s not like we don’t like our clients to be happy, but we’ll fight for ideas that we know will work, and that exceed the boundaries of the brief they give us. Sometimes that means challenging what a client wants to ensure that they get what they need. Often these aren’t easy conversations, but they’re worth it if it means we make work together that works. That’s the goal. Always.