“They just don’t get what I’m trying to do!”
Said Sharon frustratedly as we talked after she’d just come back from seeing her designers.
“What’s the problem?”
“I just don’t like what they’ve produced. It doesn’t work for me.”
“Can I take a look?”
Sharon took out some prints of the logos her designers had come up with.
“From a professional point of view, they look fine, but I don’t know what you briefed them.”
“Well I told them I like the style of John Lewis and M&S”
“Well you can’t argue with that as these do look akin to those brands.”
“Yes, but they don’t work for me.”
“Can you tell me WHY they don’t work?”
“I just don’t connect with any of them”
“Did you tell them about your vision and what you’re trying to achieve? Or who you are serving?”
“Yes, I shared a bit. They had a lot of questions delving deeper into my vision that I couldn’t answer as I’m just not clear on it yet.”
“Well, I’m sure you can appreciate, if you’re not clear, then your designers don’t stand a chance.”
I’ve had many conversations like this over the years. It could be a person taking their fantastic new idea forwards, having a logo developed, a website built or other marketing material designed, only to end up frustrated as the work of their designers never meets the target.
To a large extent good designers will be asking you the right questions and –let’s be honest- turning the job down if you can’t provide them with the information they need. But the onus is still on you as beholder of the idea to have at least some clarity on what you are trying to achieve and why. But, it’s not always easy.
Part of the problem is that when it comes to a new idea (or changing an old one), we all want to get to the visual stage quickly. It’s tangible. It’s exciting. You can see things taking shape. However, not many people like to be working on a brand guidelines document that helps develop their idea and brand further. It’s just not as exciting to most. And from a financial point of view, it’s much easier to find out the costs of having a logo and website developed, but the bit before –as it’s often seen as more nebulas– is harder to quantify. So you end up putting the cart before the horse in a situation not too dissimilar from Sharon’s.
Yet, it doesn’t have to take a long time. It doesn’t have to cost the earth. BUT, if you really believe in your idea, you should be prepared to invest both your time and money into it, as this stage is far more important than your logo, website and other marketing materials. These elements will naturally change over the years. Look at how many logo versions Coca Cola or other big brands have had. But their vision, values, personality and to some extent target audience, tend to be timeless.
This is why we developed Clarity for Creatives. The aim is that after a clarity session you will be clearer on your vision, values, personality and target audience, making it much easier to approach designers, copywriters, web developers, illustrators and the like. As one participant on our Creative Catalyst session said: “We’ve been talking for two hours but I can now describe succinctly what I do in 2 minutes”. Nice words. Being able to quickly and sharply describe your business is key to really understanding what you do and then communicating it with your target audience.
Clarity for Creatives sessions can be taken as a group workshop, Clarity Connect, or as individual sessions, Creative Catalyst. We are also working on an online version.
Clarity Connect is a great way to receive immediate feedback by enabling you to bounce your idea(s) off other creatives. It can give you more confidence in your idea. It’s also a fun practical session with various exercises which help to get your creative juices flowing.
Creative Catalyst is for those that need a more in-depth one on one session, though it can be taken with a colleague at no extra cost. The price also includes follow up calls/communication to help give you a little accountability in taking all the actions you’ve agreed and move your idea to the next stage.
Unlike Sharon, you don’t have to be frustrated with your designers or have a website built before you actually know what your business stands for. Whether you use one of our sessions, or you use another way of discovering you vision, values, personality and target audience, don’t leave things to chance. Make sure you get some clarity.
In the next post in our series on Clarity we will talk about vision and why it’s important.