What a design agency doesn’t know about communicating the brand idea could be written on the head of a pin.
The whole point of working in design is that you have a way of seeing and representing ideas that excite and engage you, and by extension you are putting across ideas that your audience ‘sees’ in the same way (so you hope).
So why do design firms struggle to raise their profile and generate new business from all the opportunities that are available? Why is it that a purchaser can be left confused and disinterested in the messaging that they are presented with? Has the designer got it wrong or is the audience just plain stupid?
The DBA hosted a full day workshop in London yesterday to look into this issue. Presented by Shan Preddy of Preddy & Co, Shan led the audience through a lively practical session- challenging the assumptions that designers know how engage with their prospects so the ‘conversation’ with the buyer starts at the same place on the page.
Shan’s message is direct- ‘No matter how good your work is or how much direct-approach marketing development you do, you need a clear and recognisable profile in the business world. What is your firm famous - or at least known - for?’
This subject throws up a whole range of related issues: The importance of frequency and timing in communications, selecting an appropriate tone of voice, the value of being ‘known’ (though quite how you become known is often a bit of a mystery).
When I am looking at design agency websites I do wonder at times what on earth led the designer to select one particular treatment or another- particularly when the agency is trying to attract more business from a specific sector. Notwithstanding the impression that the site is trying to out-do competitors (with levels of interaction and complexity of coding), this somehow is supposed to delight the prospective buyer rather than putting one over on the competitor you keep coming up against in pitches.
This is even more apparent in the world of PR: The popularity of ‘meet the team’ bio’s on PR agency websites means that these firms are expected to present their shining bright-eyed account execs within a virtual beauty parade. The viewer can easily be distracted by their emotional response to the image rather than having a dispassionate perception of the individual talents of the workforce, as evidenced by their excellent education, relevant internships and client management skills.
Perhaps it is all down to the emotional attachment one has to a creative concept, and whether the treatment is out of step with your perception of the service. If I feel that I can relate to your agency and the people within it then I will look beyond the identity you have created for yourself and get down to the bit that really matters: Are you going to do a good job for my brand?
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