Every company knows what problems they want to solve and goals they wish to achieve. Whether it’s providing great services or products that change business and cultural landscapes, improving humanity, enriching the world’s environment, or simply being known for great customer service…or a combination of these areas. And, if a company is really honest, they’d like to make money and be profitable pursuing one of these directions. Realizing such goals is solely dependent on each company’s path, or as we call it in our industry; the process. Without a process, (to use an Olympic metaphor), you are simply sledding down a hill without a track. You will probably loose control, go to fast, go to slow, not see the curves, and simply be moving in an undetermined direction without a clear finish line in mind. Working this way is inefficient, which equals loss of time and money. It can also be dangerous as it puts organizations at risk of not being able to steer its teams and objectives in one unified direction.
Why is process important and what does it do from a design and marketing standpoint? For starters, it acts as roadmap for how people within an organization approach a problem. As all communication problems are different in one sense or another, it is very helpful to have a charted course, or set of steps that an organization can follow. This consistency in approach yields consistent (and quality based) results from a controlled environment that also adapts and nurtures as it is used. What this means is, we can engage every client partnership the same way to establish a foundation and understanding in order to solve their business communication needs.
Our process is made up of four steps that contain areas of focus in a particular order that we feel is a natural approach to building a strong client relationship and gaining insight on how we can assist. They are as follows:
We enjoy our work because all of our clients are different, from varying industries and locations, to servicing different customer demographics and markets. So we need to learn about them and their organization first. We do this by asking many questions. We listen intently to the answers and ask more questions, until we have a solid foundation and sense of who they are and what they do, as well as why they feel they are different from their competitors. Not necessarily better, but different. Just like some people like Coca-Cola and some people like Pepsi, it’s arguable which is “better”, however both are very successful beverage companies who have huge market share within the soft drink market. By sharing this aspect of why companies are unique, we then can say we understand and feel that a true partnership foundation has been built, because we now are “on the same page” as our clients.
Taking what we have learned in the Discovery phase, different design and marketing activities and options are proposed and discussed along with the pros and cons for each. Talking through these different approaches and tactics, we can then narrow down what can be done to work towards achieving client goals. What we plan on doing to reach these goals is now defined and clarified. This plan is then used to create a schedule in which the course of action will be followed to implement all components of this plan, so it is clear to all parties, what we are going to do, how we are going to do it, and how long it will take to complete. Two use another Olympic metaphor, we now have a time to beat.
With our plan and options known (these are the agreed upon deliverable assets), building begins. We design and try out iterations for each deliverable, test concepts, refine and improve and retest and explore every facet of these assets, with client review and buy-in (aka approval) until we get the green light to implement and “lock-in” these designs and tactics. This is now like knowing what equipment we will need and how we can improve upon its build.
Once the development and design have been approved, we move forward with formatting each asset. This means making files ready for any and all necessary uses needed for various platforms. The power switch is now turned on and activated for all design, branding and marketing activities. This is the step in which the term “we are now live” is used. Once live, the oversight and monitoring begins – otherwise know as management, we train our clients to do this for themselves or assist in this ongoing function for them should they desire. This is where we hear the starting buzzer and the “race” begins. How we “place” is now up to us and how hard we have trained.