Sunday Night Ramblings

Posted October 30, 2005 by Evan Tishuk

This idea was mentioned in our last post, but I want to explore it a little bit more. How hard are you supposed to fight for an idea? As an agency (design, marketing, advertising, law, etc), you are paid by the client to leverage your talents and tell him what to do. Clients rarely like this idea. They want to be involved in the process, they demand to be involved in the process. They are writing the f'ing check.

Fair enough. But what happens when an agency and client cannot see eye to eye. Do you break up? Do you kowtow? Those are you two options, all other options have been exhausted. I'd like to say you fight the good fight, stand for what you believe, if and ONLY if you know it is the right path, and if the client still doesn't trust you, leave, cut line and go to another client. This is easier said than done when you are small, young, and hungry (in every sense of the word).

This happened to OrangeCoat a couple of times lately. Not in a huge or dramatic way but we have done or are doing a couple of websites that will never go in our portfolio, will never have 'an OrangeCoat Design' at the bottom, and will never be claimed by us after the last check clears.

The decision not to put up a fight for these sites never really bothered me. We needed the business and we couldn't afford to fight it out over the designs of these sites. Pick your battles and keep moving forward. The battles of making the links look more like 'buttons' for a five page brochure site was not the battle we were looking for.

Things have changed now. I've seen friends go to battle for an idea and it has given me a little inspiration. I'm not inspired to fight clients for the shit of it. But I am inspired to get more excited about projects, all projects. After all, that's the best part of our business, each project gives you a chance to play, explore, and get excited. Don't do average, even when the client wants average. Demand more from yourself and your clients.


Bobby ~ October 31, 2005

If they are stupid enough to not leave it to the "experts," let them suffer. Don't attach your name at the bottom and screw em. Sure, try to persuade them to see your side, but if they refuse to listen to reason, it's their own problem. They are paying you, so take the money and run. It would be like if some Shmoe buying a new car and for the same price he could upgrade to power windows, locks, sunroof and CD player and still he said, "No, I'll take the crank windows and tape deck." As a salesman, I wouldn't argue, I'd just make fun of how stupid he is once they left the show room.

Evan Tishuk ~ October 31, 2005

When you are the product it's different. Comprimising too much makes your a whore--not a chuckling salesman.

James Simons ~ October 31, 2005

You will do anything the client wants no matter how much you don't want to do it... provided the price is right. Everyone has a price.

Life is not much different here at Cisco. For our large clients, service providers and extremely large businesses, we bend over backwards for them. Because those are 80 to 300 million dollar contracts. For the small business, if they don't like something we are doing, we might try to appease them if it is relatively painless, otherwise we just tell them that is the way it is and we won't budge. We don't bend over backwards for a small customer because if we lose the account, well $40,000 out of $25 billion (last year's earnings) isn't that big of a deal.

Everyone has a price

Evan Tishuk ~ October 31, 2005

Yes everyone has a price (and a platitude, so it seems). But you're not a whore if you're doing it willingly and both parties are happy.

Maybe we put a clause in our contracts, "if we don't like where this project is going and we feel whorish, we are jacking up the price or stepping aside." But now you're out all that time and lost revenue. Not to mention you likely have an unhappy customer telling many other potential customers what an a-hole you are. We don't have 25 billion in sales to fall back on, so these decisions are difficult.

C-Town ~ November 01, 2005

Evan, I think you've answered the question. You do what the client wants. If you aren't proud of the site, then don't put your name on it. The client is happy because they got what they want and you are happy because you got paid and the client is telling potential customers what a nice guy you are and how you did everything they wanted and made a great website.

nobrainer ~ November 02, 2005

I'm not sure that selling yourself out to your customer is a great idea either. You may do as they, instead of you, wish leading to a horrible product. In that situation, the customer will be much less likely to blame themselves than you. How dangerous is their word-of-mouth? I don't know. But it's another factor that needs to be weighed in making the decision.

Adam Gautsch ~ November 02, 2005

Here's the assumption that you guys are making that is wrong, the client will be happy with a project that is their idea no matter what.

In the end, they will be happy with the project if it is successful by making them money or saving them time. We try to create projects with success in mind and our experience and (dare I say) talents helps us to make those realities. If we just bend over to every whim of the client we are no longer making the most successful project we can. And no matter who's ideas are being implemented the project suffers in the long run and no one is happy.

Beth ~ November 02, 2005

thank you :) :) You're site is delightful as well.

CSpin ~ November 02, 2005

The real question here is, what would a question mark look like if it had three dimensions?

Bobby ~ November 02, 2005

You just blew my mind

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