You’ve been waiting with bated breath, right? Here’s the conclusion of my continuing explanation of the BatesMeron Manifesto.
Part 6 of 6 of our rules to live by: Every aspect of the creative must serve the client’s business.
I remember the exact day when my first ad at my first agency gig ran in print. It debuted in Oprah Magazine. So sleek, so sexy. The smell of fresh ink and the luxurious silk matte coating on the paper stock. (And guess what, when you get samples of the magazines from pub reps, they don’t come with all those annoying subscription cards tumbling out!) I was on cloud nine.
To say I was proud would be an understatement. I promptly mailed a copy home to my big sister Lisa. She’s always been a big supporter, and I knew she’d share the piece with the rest of my family.
When Lisa called me later that night, she explained that when she showed the ad to our mother, mom’s reply was, “I don’t see her name on there anywhere!” We had a good laugh at Mom’s expense—but there was a much bigger lesson in that story than Mom’s naivety: The work serves the client, not the creative ego.
BatesMeron is very proud of the work we do, but we’ve never gotten hung up on hoping people will recognize our work—in fact, versatility in both design and messaging is a point of pride for our team.
We do have great respect for those specialists that define a style and stick with it; they’re amazing at what they do. But we choose to make our specialty finding the brand voice that serves our clients best and helps them have an identifiable style. We believe that if we achieve that, our clients will recommend us to others and that’s far better praise than plugging yourself.
Over the years, we’ve watched clients get bullied. Sometimes, it’s the ego of a Creative Director looking for an award while being so “out there” the message will never reach the audience. (But the design community will love it!) Sometimes it’s a lazy team wanting to be done with a project. And we understand, truly. We’ve been there. When you’ve presented that perfect concept and the client doesn’t agree. When you’ve poured your soul into a message—and feel it will be earth-shattering, but the client doesn’t like it. But, at the end of the day, we remind ourselves: This isn’t about what we think would look best in print. It isn’t about which color we think would be most versatile across print and digital media. It’s about the client and their brand. And after we’ve given them our best concepts and our candid opinion, they have to feel comfortable disagreeing with us.
We want to work with smart, talented experts. We want to work with people who know their business inside and out. And that means that we have to trust that they know what’s going to resonate with their audience.
Sometimes we wish a client would’ve chosen option #1 rather than option #4, but hey, we didn’t show anything we weren’t proud of—so we’re just pleased to be working with people who know their business and trust themselves to make the call!
I hope I’ve done a good job explaining our Manifesto. As you can tell, I love to talk about it. Let me know if you’d like to discuss a Manifesto of your own. After all, if you don’t set up any guidelines for how you feel your brand should behave—how do you expect it to do so?
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