Who is this for? Business owners with questions
What is it About? Being approachable
Reading Time 3-4 minutes

I’m sure you’ve come across these types of article titles before, being passed between design agencies or on design & marketing blogs on social media.

Believe me, we get it! Creative jobs are open to a huge amount of influence from a number of people involved in the process of deconstructing your ideas/work.

Being a creative, it takes heart and passion to come up with a range of ideas for a range of industries and that can take its toll if the client is an unbeliever.

Having said that, here at Blue Strawberry Elephant we believe that design should be accessible to all business owners whatever their level of understanding because it’s essential to their business growth.

We want to make it clear; in our studio, there are no stupid questions.

When I ask clients to explain their products to me I see nothing but excitement and passion – and you should expect nothing less from us. We are as passionate about what we do today as we were when we were established back in 1993 and know our industry inside out, that’s why you come to us to collaborate – so you can have one less metaphorical hat to wear.

So let’s answer some of these questions rather than mocking them – people wouldn’t be asking if they didn’t need to know, right?

“Can’t we just tell them what we offer?”

This is one for the marketing team usually. Believe me, when campaigns get complicated and you’re trying to plan week’s worth of marketing its tiring and I completely understand. Sometimes you feel like you’re going in circles looking for answers and I have even been known to utter this sentence under my breath on days when my creative juices have decided they just will not flow.

If you think about your own screen time behaviour and how many adverts are flashed in front of you every day … you’d probably struggle to recall any of them, right?

That’s because we’ve had years of advertising this way and the bad news for advertisers is that we’ve learnt to tune it out. You can promote your company this way if you really want to and you always have the final say. But if I only did this straight off the bat with no product knowledge, no campaign planning and no market analysis…I may as well pack up and go home because I’m not doing the job you’re paying me for.

“Our target market is everybody.”

I feel for small businesses because customer personas, market research; SMART targets etc. are not what you signed up for when you went into business. But simply saying your market “is everyone” won’t help inform your marketing, advertising and design choices- it will cost you a lot more time and money in the long run.

Look at it this way – Tesco sell food and everyone needs to eat, correct?

But Tesco also knows that Doris down the road has probably eaten the same things for the last twenty or thirty years, she’s living off a pension and so her spending habits rarely differ.

They may do smaller campaigns for the Doris generation but the majority of their campaigns are aimed at students or young families, why? Because that’s multiple people under one roof and a wider range of products to upsell.

Think about how often kids change their mind about the foods they like- whimsical choices lead to whimsical purchases swayed by offers and deals. How often do students want to do a big cheap meal together as a house? Need to buy pre-drinks and mixers for nights out? How many of them take up smoking on said nights out? Again, whimsical carefree purchases that appear to be saving money which then gets spent on sociable activities. Target markets are not saying you cannot sell to the rest, it just identifying the main groups of customers you can profit from, so to speak.

“But it’s nothing like what we’ve done before / what we usually do / how we do things.”

This is true, and I’m sorry to be blunt…but that’s why you decided it was time to consult someone, isn’t it? We’re not suggesting you throw the baby out with the bathwater – we’re big advocates of collaboration, we want to get a feel for you as individuals and your vision, so we can build this into the company image and ‘voice’ we put out there. But something wasn’t working, so logically something needs to change. Final decisions are always yours, it’s your company after all but rather like a bad relationship – some of the things you like maybe the things that are holding you back. Are you ready to try to let them go?

“Is this your best price?”

You’re a business, all businesses need to keep costs and overheads low and profits high…otherwise, what is it all for? But as we’ve all heard a million times, you get what you pay for. We’re not here to rip you off (in fact we are still below the national average for our pricing structure as an agency according to the DBA) we just want to get out what we put into it, seems fair right? You might find out that your friend’s son studied graphic design and he has a mac at home, and he can certainly put a logo together for you and yes- it will be cheaper. But if you want us to do the market research, craft the typography so it’s unique to your business, if you want a selection of carefully thought out designs to discuss and deliberate on with our team and for the final decision to be a culmination of all parties thoughts, research and experience- then you came to the right place.

“Make it look exactly like…”

We’ve all seen something and wished we thought of it first, but plagiarism is not cool. I’m sorry, I know you really like the way that logo/website/campaign looks as a finished product but it was wrong to copy in tests at school and it’s still wrong to copy things now. We can, however, draw influence from it. If you like a design you’ve seen, sit down and take a minute to work out what you like about it. Is there anything else similar to it you like? What do they have in common? If you can tell us it’s the colours, the style of font, how simple the page looks, the team photos…THAT we can definitely build into the project for you and that is the kind of collaboration we live for!

“Can you ‘throw this together quickly’ for me?”

We can answer this with a simple problem- three options, you can only pick two. Good work, Fast work or cheap work. Pushing your work through and devoting the time and skill it deserves to the project – means another project must wait. If you are willing to pay for that, then we will find a way to make the time for you. We are not in the habit of offering sub-par work and we don’t intend to start now.

“Can’t you find a stock image that doesn’t look like a stock image?”

Believe me, I’ve found myself trying to do this once or twice because I’ve wanted the same things, and it’s rather like falling down a rabbit hole. You could be there for hours. Unfortunately, stock images tend to look like stock images because…well…they are. Everyone has used them, it’s not going to ruin everything if you use one once in a while so don’t worry too much! If you have a really visual website and it could make the difference to the feel of the entire finished project, we do however highly suggest you consider hiring a photographer to get what you need. If you don’t have anyone that springs to mind we are more than happy to recommend people we’ve worked with previously and show you their finished work.

The most important thing you can take away from this – is we are here to help. If you think you could be doing a better job of showing your customers who you are then reviewing the visual aspects of your business and the voice you put out to the world could just be the ticket and we want to show you how to bridge that gap. There’s no business too big or small, no industry too specific and most importantly.

There are no stupid questions, only the ones you are too scared to ask.

Give us a call and we’ll help you find the answers – 0114 255 99933

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