Design and thinking. Sometimes together.


Branding is thinking made real. Here are some thoughts on design, branding and other miscellany.

Too Good Looking


There are all varieties of pushback that you can get from clients seeking design help. One of the more curious is the idea that some clients don't want it to look like they've spent a ton of money on "marketing." These clients are usually municipalities that don't want to be seen as wasting taxpayer money, or places where there is a cultural turmoil where you don't want employees to feel like marketing is being valued more than they are.

Funnily enough the things that clients think cost a fair amount of money aren't really all that expensive. Gloss coated paper, four-color printing and the like aren't really that much more expensive than things that are perceived as cheap. Perspective gets skewed because clients are very influenced by any negative feedback, regardless of the validity or the volume. One negative comment aimed at the client carries a great deal of weight (as it should). But rarely do clients look long enough at the flipside of the coin.

Clients don't want to be seen as spending too much money, but they don't ask themselves why they're spending the money in the first place. Usually the firms concerned about looking bad are the firms that are in the most dire need of effective communication. So the goal when hiring brand strategists and designers is to make something that solves their cultural conundrum. Usually the goal isn't to make something expensive (or something that even looks expensive), it's to make something that works. And if it works it's worth every penny. Every customer that feels like your speaking to them with honesty and authority is one less customer tying up your call center. A customer that is satisfied by their service and feels like they are part of your tribe due to effective branding and communication is a repeat customer. The value is undeniable.

There will always be the cynical employee or Tea Party tax freak that thinks something is a boondoggle, but sometimes those that are causing the most static are just that – static.

Jason LaughlinComment