Can true perfection ever be attained? It's an age-old question. Having worked with designers for 20+ years, I know that they will strive for it for as long as a project deadline will allow — color correcting photos, adjusting cropping, poring over fonts, and oh the endless kerning of typography. As a firm we strive to be the perfect agency for our clients, knowing deep inside that it's really not possible. Creative work is very subjective. The client may think our work is excellent, but it could always be a tiny bit better. Our work may increase website traffic or market share by an astonishing 20%, but from the client's perspective 25% would be better. Perfection is a moving target in our world.

Lately, though, I've started thinking about what makes for a perfect client. It's an undeniable truth that even the greatest agency in the universe can only produce the work — and thus the results — that the client will permit. The client, after all, controls the budget, approves which ideas get green-lighted, and even gets to change the work of the creative team, which may improve it or may drag it down. I humbly submit a few thoughts on what makes the perfect client.
• Be totally up front about the budget. We don't need unlimited funds, we just need adequate funds for photography, model or voice talent, special effects, and other details that make or break a project. By the same respect, don't give us a figure below the true budget just to see if we can get the job down for less. This isn't a game. That just forces our creative team to aim lower and that's not what either of us wants. Just tell us the truth.
• Be open minded about creativity. An agency's job is to offer new solutions to achieve a specific objective. We may suggest something radically different from what you've done in the past. Let's debate the strategy behind the idea, but please don't dismiss it on the grounds that "it's not the way we've always done it."
* Be willing to think like an entrepreneur. Our creative work, especially for our tourism clients, is based on a combination of research and experience. But research needs to be properly interpreted. You can let the research lead you down a well-worn but safe path, or you can use the research to do great things. Consider the often-used metaphor of a bulls-eye on a target. Outer rings of the target are white while the innermost ring or two are shaded. Excellent research will guide a shot directly into the middle of the shaded area. A risk-taker isn't satisfied with a mere bulls-eye — they want that and the territory surrounding it. That's how you win big and increase market share.

Does this sound like you? Talk to me.


6 Walnut Avenue • Vinton, Virginia 24179

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