The right way to achieve client success is to understand the clients and to be attentive to what they are saying and not saying. It is common for designers to face complications during the creative process. One common reason is that they don’t ask for or understand the most important information about their clients, their business and their needs.
One of the most important things to understand the client's state of mind or business concerns because with that it becomes easier to offer or provide them with what they really need. It is therefore critical to capture all the key information about the client, especially if you (as a designer) are working remotely or on online briefs. You should get into and comprehend the brief before you start brainstorming ideas.
To understand the client’s state of mind, you can follow these 4 simple best practices.
#1. Listen and capture the most relevant points that they have to say.
In the case of an online brief, this would typically be captured in the creative direction / key message and supported by who the target audience is as well as the key feature of the product that is being called out.
#2. Understand their business, vision, mission statement and find out all you can by researching online.
If they are a candy company for example, it’s better to understand what kind of candies they produce, who their consumers are, what colors their consumers like and what is different about their candy. Find out what the company culture is and how they want to be viewed as well as how they are viewed by consumers.
#3. Follow their guideline and visual identity.
More often than not, the logo of a company is the visual expression of its persona. Understand what the client’s brand identity is, it’s image and it’s reputation. And for goodness sakes, keep to the client's brand guidelines and visual identity.
#4. Find opportunities to connect with your client.
As freelance designers who may not be working in the same location as the clients, you don’t have the luxury of having close contact with the clients. As such, there will always be some challenges because different designers could possibly have a different interpretation of the client brief. This may arise as a result of cultural differences, expectations or experiences. It could also because the brief is poorly written. As a designers, you are there to help the client and to offer creative solutions.
Don’t let the absence of face to face contact be your hurdle. Find different avenues to build the relationship with the client. This could be through the exchange of e-mails or VOIP tools that enable you to explain why and how a visual concept was created.
This is also important as clients usually have a pre-conceived idea of what great work is. So being able to clarify any doubts you have about the brief is fundamental.
After you have completed a project, check in with the client to see how things are as there may be things you can learn.