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The client in times of recession

August 4, 2011
The Enlightened Client communicates even when times are bad.

The natural sequel to my prevoius post dedicated to the graphic design in times of recession.
Let’s try see what happens on the other side of the… recession.

When sales figures in the Excell spreadsheet are going down, the first symptom is confusion and then confusion turns into anxiety and the famed Crisis Plan kicks in – most likely generated more by confusion and anxiety than vision.

With the minus sign lingering on the sales reports and with the growing of the ansious sensation, owners, marketing managers and communication execs, dazed and confused, begin to cut their budgets, while their vision gets blindsighted.

Zac! years of enlightened communication get zeroed, replaced by silence or scared actions, waiting for better days to come.

If I were them, on the other side of the recession, I’d probably do the same… but since I am still on this side, I try to put together a list of advices, based on common sense and a some communication strategy.

Dear clients….

  • don’t zero your communication plans. Don’t silence your voice. The risk is to disappear point blank with the bitter realization that the money you saved can barely put you through another quarter.
  • chose your partners carefully.  Hire only communication pros, regardless if they are a little more expensive than amateurs. Evaluate more agencies and design firms. Reward those who produce strong and effective solutions.
  • don’t “do-it-yourself”
  • don’t fall to the “it’s free!” syrens’ call. Telling the truth, I don’t really think anything is free. Some solutions can be less expensive, but I never found a free soluton. Chose the less expensive solutions only after having evaluated the real potentiality
  • once decided you want to start… JUST START! A good communication plan usually is based on a good timing, don’ t waste the energies and the money you allocated just to freeze it because the recession…
  • ask for cleard and detailed offers, get a reason  for each penny but please don’t play rebate and don’t strangle the people you hired to help you carry out your project.
  • honor the promises you made. – the time the firms dedicate to you is not free, let them decide whether they want to give it to you for free – you will gain respect and a respected client runs on a fast lane.
  • onorate gli impegni – il tempo che gli studi vi dedicano non è gratuito e fate decidere loro se ve ne vogliono fare omaggio, non fatelo voi – guadagnerete in rispetto e un cliente rispettato ha, per così dire, una corsia previdenziale.non
  • don’t ask for pro bon, when bono – the good – is your company’s only.
  • dare, you’ll be rewarded – you’ll put yourself ahead of your competitors, whether the bad times linger or not
  • be good with math – if you need ten to fo the minimum, don’t invest two and ask for the same thing: YOU WON’T GET IT!
  • put all your eggs in one basket, that is, avoid to spread you hardly saved budget on too many projects, focus on the solutions you think might work the best. Some colleagues have a different opinion, they think that is more profitable to cover the widest spectrum possible. I personally think that is better to concentrate your action on a few things, avoiding the risk to allocate inadequate budgets in order to gather more solutions. No one says you can’t fatten your budget later on, you can increase your expenditure in a second time or add other media to amplify your action.
    When times are bad, think basic – but a quality basic…
  • avoid prepacked solutions. This is a habit that is not strictly related to recession but when times are bad agencies and design firms, especially for the web, tend to offer prepacked solution with the hook of the lowest price.
    Communication, in all its facets, is a personal fact and the solutions MUST be designed and planned for your company and for you actual demand. Lately the web offers thousand of cretive agencies that offer prepacked solutions, in a sort of communication take-away. Don’t trust them, you will never find ouf if you bought a unique solution or your logo was already sold to some hundred clients beforewould you chose your identity from a clip art book? I hope not!

Don’t let the crisis silence your voice, communicate! do it a little, do it good, but most of all, DO IT!

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