I know, it's a title you don't want to say too quickly. But maybe so? I'll let you decide once you read this story about how some agencies can take advantage of their "clients" and in turn...make life tough for many of us.
Sherie came to me from Twitter (Yes we do that too!). She is a horse person who married an Iowan, moved from the glitz of LA to an acreage near Des Moines. She was perfect for our radio show Highway 6 - Your Road to the Country. So, we had her on to share that urban to rural story.
Over the next couple of weeks she learned about our advertising agency. (She had thought we just did the radio gig.) I called her early one Friday. I needed to do a quick photo shoot for a client. Needed horses, people...etc. I asked her for a favor. After the shoot she told me her advertising agency nightmare. Sherie creates a line of equine products with the brand name of Equi-Spa (above) She, knowing little to nothing about advertising made contact with an advertising agency asking for help re-designing her product labels. She wanted to remove the "glitz" and go for a more look more in tune with her "holistic" care.
So the agency gave her a look. She rejected it. "I told them it was just too 'blah'." said Sherie. "I wanted something that said caring, holistic...maybe even love?" They tried again (image left)...same decision.
Then Sherie took charge. "They were not listening to me. I wanted something more personal so I gave them a photo, the text, font and direction. They took it...added a green leaf to the "Q" and sent me a bill for nearly $3,000!"
Was she "difficult"? Was she "demanding"? Sure...most clients are. That is their job. Our job is to listen...first. Something that may have been absent in her relationship. But...$3K for a leaf? Yikes!
Some of you might think it's a "cheap shot" to even talk about this. That's not our goal. What we think is important is the lesson of listening. We may think we are the "Gods of Advertising" but if we don't take the time to listen to what our clients say and then fail to deliver within the message...nobody wins." That's bad for everybody. Our clients lose faith and when we send a bill for work they have done...because we were not listening...we lose our creditability factor.
One more tiny thing. It's tough if not impossible to listen if we don't speak the language. Our agency wouldn't take on a client selling high end fashion. We just don't speak the language. However we wish we had met Sherie sooner...cause we get rural lifestyle and know how to say Equi...
Thanks for reading...
Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications