Making an iconic brand the first choice for Millenials, Landor created the new packaging designs and portfolio structure for Mother Dairy’s dahi range.
Are consultancies and agencies in the branding business too focused on themselves, wonders the author.
I’m a huge believer in kaizen, the Japanese philosophy of continuous improvement. It has egged me on to constantly think of how I can be better at what I do. Self-introspection is one piece of it. And client feedback is the other. On this note, there’s one thing that I have been hearing rather often from clients and prospects. And it is that consultancies and agencies in the branding business are too focused on themselves and not focused enough on their clients. This, clients say, is true at both the pitch stage as well as after the account has been won. This has been bothering me and it has led me to question:how can we shift the focus from us to our clients and in the process create shared success?
Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? But it’s actually quite difficult to answer and to put into practice because we’re so hard-wired to talk about ourselves, our view of the world, our incredible methodologies, our ground breaking solutions for the client’s pressing problems. Just ask clients for honest feedback and this probably won’t be far from the truth.
Based on speaking with several clients whom I highly value, and going through a lot of written material on the subject, I have chosen three actionable answers:
1. Talk less, listen more, ask smart questions.
Most of us in the communications business are gifted talkers. And we love to hear ourselves! This rule is about turning things on the head. What if you went to the next meeting and consciously held back every time you wanted to say something smart? When you listen really carefully, you get deeper into the client’s issues, ask better questions and learn to engage with the client more effectively.
It’s amazing how much clients will tell us if we only cared to listen. It’s also incredible how many hurdles you can overcome by just asking the right questions and listening better. A few weeks back we presented five different packaging design concepts to a client and at the end of it he said he just didn’t know if the concepts were working. We could have easily concluded that the creative was ineffective but just a few gentle probing questions later (and some purposeful listening!), we uncovered that he was more worried about selling it in to the CEO than actually thinking the work was poor quality.
2. Share more about them than about you.
Offer fresh perspectives. When we do have the opportunity to share our expertise and prior client experiences, it should be done in the context of the client’s current situation. It’s quite easy to get lost in the narrative of work done in the past and proudly show credentials reels and books. But what the client really cares about is why that is relevant to her. So joining the dots and helping her see her issues through the lens of how you solved a similar problem for others tends to be very effective. I now like to present case studies as a menu that clients can pick from depending on which issue they want illustrated through prior work. So if it is making their brand appeal to a younger generation, then I will pick all the relevant work we have done in their industry and outside of it, in India as well as in other markets. Clients love navigating the discussion rather than sitting through our sequencing of it.
I’m also finding that simply being armed with the most information possible about the client is a very easy win. Read every bit that you can find on them. Website, annual reports, analyst views, consumer reviews and so on and so forth. It allows you to find connective tissues much more easily.
3. Have their interests at heart, not yours.
Clients are ultimately people and need to be treated as such. Very often we forget that. Put the person in the client first. We once arrived at a big creative presentation in Delhi ready to wow the client, only to be horrified to find that he was in a bad mood and ratherpre-occupied because he had a big board meeting the next day. Even though we were dying to present our work, we decided to reschedule the meeting and fly back home simply because our client was not in the right frame of mind. A few days later, I received a sweet email from him saying how much he appreciated that gesture.
It’s so important to get to know what your clients’ aspirations are and what influences them. And to really care about wanting them to succeed.All this will go a long way in creating your own influence with your clients.
Lulu Raghavan is the country director at Landor Associates, India. When she’s not obsessing about branding she is either cooking up a storm, checking out a new restaurant or traveling somewhere exotic. Follow her other adventures at http://lululovesbombay.blogspot.com.
This blog was originally published by Campaign India (October 2013).
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We’re thrilled to announce that the Landor family was awarded four Lions at the 2016 Cannes Lions International Festival
Lois Jacobs, CEO of Landor, reflected on the extraordinary strength and talent of the Landor network: “For the past two years we have been the most awarded branding and design consultancy at the Cannes festival. This shows not only the dedication and creativity of our designers, strategists, and client managers, but also the rigor and relevance of our work.”
Peter Knapp, chief creative officer at Landor, agreed: “I could not be prouder of our work this year. We’ve taken our past Cannes legacy and built upon it, showing that year after year, we continue to be both progressive and innovative in our field.”
See below for more information about each award.
Realty developer ABIL Group (Avinash Bhosale Group) entered into a partnership with global fashion design house Versace to design interiors of its luxury residential project on Hughes Road in south Mumbai. Epitomizing a new standard of luxury, the ten units will be completed by 2019. Unobstructed view of the Queen’s necklace, luxurious amenities, iconic interiors and Italian design are some of the highlights of this project.
In a country like India where the youth make up the majority of the population, it is crucial to cater to their demands in order attain top-of-mind recall and relevance. Today’s youth are smarter and more conscious about things around them; their needs are different from the older generation. Having said that, when asked about banking, most 18 to 25 years olds have a question mark on their faces. Banking is perceived to be complicated, confusing and something that parents take care of.
ICICI Bank wanted to create a bank for the millennials, that they could easily understand and operate. They believed banking should be made relevant to the millenials and evolve along with their changing needs. Their ambition for the new bank was to be friendly, simple, trendy and digital, whilst having the trust and security of ICICI Bank. In other words, a bank that ‘connected with the youth’.
The affordable housing space has been smeared by lack of trust and shoddy quality. While some reputed players have recently ventured in this space, the affordable housing segment is still primarily dominated by local builders. Shapoorji Pallonji is a visionary brand that has over 150 years of experience in creating premium and high-quality real estate. By leveraging their heritage and expertise the brand wanted to lead the change in the way the consumers looked at affordable housing.
By Gazala Vahanvati
Not so long ago, I was fortunate to meet and work with a very special designer. She is perhaps the most opinionated of designers I have worked with. Of course, we shared a volatile work relationship filled with debate. However, when we did come to an agreement, that’s when we produced our best work. I learnt that the designer-strategist relationship at a branding firm like ours is a critical one–not just for generating our most creative work–but also presenting it beautifully. Here are a few tips I received from this designer to better my presentations. Everyone could use them–be it blogs, social media or presentations.
“Don’t put me to sleep.” The best presentations that I have been part of are engaging because they have substance (both factual and entertaining), they demonstrate the impact and they provoke action. Think of it as an opportunity to tell a story.
“Models fly over my head like rockets.” Being in the field of branding and marketing, we do tend to get a bit ‘jargon-y’ in our language. How can we make a point, simply, without relying on models and frameworks? Skype and Dropbox are successful examples of brands who could have swayed to the technical, but kept simply colloquial.
“Design your words.” Presentations require simplicity and crispness. It’s hard to read long sentences, let alone paragraphs, when you are at the extreme end of a 20-seater boardroom table. Pick every word carefully for its meaning and message. Keep it minimal.
“Make it look beautiful.” Creating an ugly presentation is disrespectful to our audience. Information we give should be presented in a manner that is pleasing to the eye, allows a natural flow and highlights the important points. We want the viewer to leave with a one crisp takeaway that they can action.
Thanks Designer. You know who you are!
(Image source: http://mashable.com/2012/02/03/improve-business-presentation/#pDitK9KDpuqj)
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