In this episode Don and Rob explore the topic of how marketers and creatives can adapt their style and focus to meet client needs.
Don Mock 0:21
All right, Episode 33. We’re back. Rob.
Rob Broadfoot 0:23
We’re back, like a bad habit.
Don Mock 0:25
I feels like the two of us haven’t done this in a while.
Rob Broadfoot 0:28
It’s been a few days.
Don Mock 0:28
It’s been a few days. Yeah, time is a flat circle. I don’t even know what that means. All right, Episode 33 thought, as we’re rockin and rollin, and we have talked in the past about how we’re very fond of saying we do a lot of things for a lot of different people, right? And variety is the spice and we do all sorts of fun projects, different tactics, different clients, different verticals, that we work in all sorts of fun stuff, right. So thought an interesting topic for us today might be adapting our style to client needs, right? Or adapting, you know, the workflow to specific client needs. Like, if we’re working on a packaged goods, like a food packaged goods client, right? That’s a very different need than a medical client, right? You know, we obviously talked about b2b versus b2c, you know, that type of things, right? So, you know, how do we sort of integrate into those client worlds? And do you know, extremely stellar, creative work for them? Be it either design, advertising, writing, messaging, whatever the case may be? In all these different places? How do we do it? It’s a mystery.
Rob Broadfoot 1:37
It’s the Dr. Seuss machine (laughter).
Don Mock 1:40
Rob Broadfoot 1:40
You just drop it in the top and outcomes magical.
Don Mock 1:43
I’m reminded of the star bellied sneetches.
Rob Broadfoot 1:46
Don Mock 1:46
Yeah, that’s a great Dr. Seuss cartoon, and and book, of course.
Rob Broadfoot 1:51
When I think about the broad question of how do we adapt our style to client needs? To me I think about it in a few different avenues. Meaning, first of all defining a client need, right? So a client need to me can be anything from I need this tomorrow.
Don Mock 2:12
Rob Broadfoot 2:12
So it can be a timing perspective.
Don Mock 2:14
Rob Broadfoot 2:16
I need this to say x, or I need this to communicate X. Yeah. So then it becomes a creative perspective. Or I need something to help deliver this message. And then it becomes what type of project is it? Well, so I think about it from a creative perspective. But then I also think about it from a business perspective.
Don Mock 2:37
Fascinating. I don’t even consider it that way at all. I didn’t even think of timing, but that absolutely is a client need.
Rob Broadfoot 2:42
Oh, yeah. So we say at the speed of business. And that’s something that we come up against all the time, which is, you know, wouldn’t it be nice to have three weeks to work on whatever project and some times we do, but other times it’s fire drill the phone rings? Oh, my gosh, and I’m thinking of some of our good friends who we were working on today.
Don Mock 2:59
Yeah, it’s very topical.
Rob Broadfoot 3:00
Don Mock 3:01
Who’s got the time to do podcasts, Rob, when we’ve got client work to do.
Rob Broadfoot 3:02
Hey we’ve got to do this really great super fun project, great creative, but we need it like by I don’t know, say 36 hours.
Don Mock 3:03
Rob Broadfoot 3:03
So how do you adapt to those needs? Well, I think if you start to answer the question, A from like, let’s just pick on timing. Okay, I need this tomorrow. That goes back to what we’ve talked about earlier, which is this idea that when you get into this business, you start to train your brain and learn to work under deadlines. You learn be creative from nine to five or whatever it is, you’ve got to produce, X amount of ideas and they have to be good ones in 36 hours. So it becomes that sort of fire drill. And that’s just a practice of habit and being in the business. So you sort of expect those things to happen. And I think also that as an aside, that keeps your brain fresh. Fire drills are amazing. For helping you go, okay, and kind of realign and recognize that you can do things really, you can do it that fast. And you can do that. So I think it’s good. It’s a good exercise for the brain.
Don Mock 4:03
I mean, stagnation does not promote efficiency, or necessarily stellar work.
Rob Broadfoot 4:05
Don Mock 4:10
Sometimes if you have six weeks to do something, it’ll take you six weeks to do it.
Rob Broadfoot 4:15
Well, that’s because you for five weeks, you don’t do anything until the last week.
Don Mock 4:19
Well, I guess that’s a conceivable possible outcome as well, right? But if you’ve only got 36 hours to do it, you know, you’ll use the 36 hours,.
Rob Broadfoot 4:28
Don Mock 4:30
So yeah, interesting approach. I hadn’t even really considered timing as part of this topic, but I love it. I absolutely love
Rob Broadfoot 4:35
That’s one, but then when we talk about creativity, again it comes with experience I think, but it’s this idea that, to your point, we do lots of things for a lot of different people and a lot of different verticals.
Don Mock 4:49
Rob Broadfoot 4:49
Whether that’s working on, you know, cannabis projects in states where it’s legal. Versus a bank client. I mean, there’s all different kinds of voices and businesses and things that you have to be able to adapt to. So I think about styles. And a lot of times too, adapting to a style means quite literally adapting to a client’s taste. Right? So it’s not just the need that they have from a project or communication standpoint. But part of that is to their taste and sort of as we get to know clients, the tone of voice that they like. The things that they end up learning to sort of speak their own personal language, I think as a client, in a way I think is important to be able to do too.
Don Mock 5:33
Well it’s funny, over the course of our careers, when we thought about this topic, my I immediately went to brand guidelines and the graphic visual representation of a lot of clients, right? So adapting our style to client needs, right? Well, we need to learn the graphic universe that clients play with them, right? Whether we develop that for the client, right? Or whether it’s a campaign based initiative that we inherited from a client, or it’s a longevity brand, right, where it’s, hey, we always use this specific typeface, or these certain colors or these, whatever the case may be right. But I’m kind of reminded of the old boxing quote,you know, styles, make fights, sometimes it’s not necessarily the two biggest heavyweight names. It’s the approach, right? That makes the boxing match interesting. And brand guidelines can only take you so far right?
Rob Broadfoot 6:26
Don Mock 6:27
It’s here’s, you know, 26 pages of rules of how to treat our logo, how to treat our brand, how to do things, right. But a lot of clients won’t want to push those brand guidelines.
Rob Broadfoot 6:38
It’s like a bike lane versus a six lane freeway.
Don Mock 6:40
Yeah, exactly. So, you know, a lot of times when we approach projects, we will kind of do that walk, crawl run, right? Especially if it’s like a if it’s a first engagement or an early project with a client, right? Trying to define the style and their client needs will be like, Okay, here’s kind of the safe approach. I don’t want to say safe, but here’s, like, straight out of the brand guidelines, right? I mean, this is kind of what’s happening right? Then we push it a little further, and it’s Ooh, we’re still on that. We’re still in that, you know, we’re still in the city here, but we’re having a little fun graphically and and potentially tonally, right? With headlines, messaging, things like that, and then ooh, we start go even further.
We crossed the double yellow line.
Yeah, exactly, right. We’re heading on incoming traffic is what’s happening, right.
Rob Broadfoot 7:22
Don Mock 7:29
And part of that is, is the fun factor. But part of it’s a little bit to test and scare and find out how far we can go with this particular initiative. And sort of how different you can be, you know, ‘m thinking of Moat, you know, the Moat add.
Rob Broadfoot 7:45
Don Mock 7:45
That was one of our classic old ones in the past. Yeah, that’s an old one old.
Rob Broadfoot 7:50
The concept, real quick was, we were working for a company and they were selling off some properties. And they had a really high end property.
Don Mock 7:58
Yeah. It was high end residential homes.
Rob Broadfoot 8:03
High end residential homes, and the ad that we came up with was, hey, three simple steps to building your moat.
Don Mock 8:11
Rob Broadfoot 8:12
And so we never said in the ad anywhere about hey, buy this great new house. The implication was, you’re going to need a moat, you’re buying a castle. This place is awesome.
Don Mock 8:22
Rob Broadfoot 8:23
Which was kind of a fun idea. And that was an example I think of, we’re crossing way over. And they loved it. And somebody that we didn’t think would love it.
Don Mock 8:32
Absolutely loved it.
Rob Broadfoot 8:33
Absolutely loved it.
Don Mock 8:33
Absolutely. That’s what makes it fun. So I think it was step one, you know, you had to get a shovel.
Rob Broadfoot 8:39
It was dig.
Don Mock 8:39
Dig the moat, you know, Step two was fill the moat with water from your garden hose. And it was fun illustrated thing. And then step three was filled them out with alligators.
Rob Broadfoot 8:48
Yeah, get the alligators.
Don Mock 8:50
So I mean, that’s definitely not in anybody’s brand guidelines, you know, but you never know where those clients want to engage and what the ask is, and what the initiative is of a tactic is how far we can push out.
Rob Broadfoot 9:06
Generally speaking, I feel like the sweet spot for clients, and this is a generalization, of course, but the sweet spot is, I’m a little uncomfortable. I love it. Yeah, I love it. But it makes me a little uncomfortable.
Don Mock 9:21
Rob Broadfoot 9:21
That to me is a really, really good place to be.
Don Mock 9:24
Yes, I totally agree. Because that, to me, means it’s a little left or right of center. It’s what other people are not doing, which is what we want to do, right? Which is, draw attention to ourselves. But it’s not crazy, just for being crazy, you know.
Rob Broadfoot 9:40
Don Mock 9:40
It’s, still categorically relevant. It’s just ooh, just a little bit different than what everybody else is doing, which I think is fun, and a little bit uncomfortable is a good thing, because that means it’s potentially something you haven’t seen before. You know, it’s not just boring run of the mill, if that makes sense.
Rob Broadfoot 9:54
Yeah, so I mean I think it is. I’m gonna go back to the analogy that I’ve been drawing, but it’s kind of knowing your lane, right? Learning where that lane is and where clients are comfortable and where they’re not comfortable in certain lanes.
Don Mock 10:08
Rob Broadfoot 10:08
And we do out of the gate we present a nice range of, hey, super comfortable here you are in your comfy PJs under the blankets nice and warm. To oh, here we are out in spandex like in the middle of the freeway and I’m very uncomfortable. To try and figure out those personalities and a lot of times too, it literally is. We’re working on a logo project the other day, and a lot of times we will say to clients, are there any colors that you hate? Once we get to the color phase. And it’s ya, I don’t want to see brown or yellow. And it’s okay. Well, let’s take that off.
Don Mock 10:44
Yeah, take it off the table.
Rob Broadfoot 10:45
Take it off the table. So sometimes there’s simple little cues like that, yeah, that actually tell us a lot and create those efficiencies for time. So and then I think also, too, it’s you got to be able to, both from from a graphic design standpoint and a writing standpoint, a language standpoint, you have to be able to create a lot and speak in a lot of different visual tone, and voices and things.
Don Mock 10:45
Rob Broadfoot 10:45
I mean, if you’re coming up with a, you know, I don’t know, a logo for an energy drink or something that’s very different than coming up with a logo for a bank total. Generally speaking, but you have to be able to do both of those things.
Don Mock 11:24
Yeah, I think one of the things we provide is that versatility, right?
Rob Broadfoot 11:27
Don Mock 11:27
Having multiple designers, multiple art directors approach similar projects, everybody here kind of works on everything. Because I think that gives a lot of variety to clients. But then that’s also a variety from the shop promoting to working in a lot of different industries.
Rob Broadfoot 11:42
Don Mock 11:42
So it isn’t, one of the things I love about us is that we’re not homogenized into one industry and everything kind of looks the same, right? I mean versatility is really the key to adapting our style to client needs, right? Because each client is unique. And then with the experience we have of being able to work with XYZ brand that has a certain rules, like I said, energy drink versus, you know, banks and whatnot, and financial matters, so.
Rob Broadfoot 12:07
I think also another client need that just popped into my brain is the idea of how we work with clients. Because it differs sometimes, and sometimes it’s okay, guys, here’s the brief.
Don Mock 12:20
Rob Broadfoot 12:21
You know, I’ve got the brief. And here it is, I’d like to set up a call and we’re gonna go over it and we are gonna walkthrough it.
Don Mock 12:25
We’re gonna have meetings, there’s gonna be a Zoom.
Rob Broadfoot 12:27
A lot of times you get the, you know, the cell phone from the car, okay, I’m driving down the road, I get bad coverage, hey, I need this. I need it like tomorrow. Here’s the thing. So we work in a lot of different ways. And we’re very flexible with how we engage with clients. In other words, we don’t…
Don Mock 12:41
We don’t force clients to work through our specific methodology.
Rob Broadfoot 12:45
Never. We don’t like process because there’s not… There is a there’s a method to the madness.
Don Mock 12:50
I was about to say. We gotta…
Rob Broadfoot 12:51
I gotta tread carefully here. There’s not, we don’t have our branded agency process that we’re going to take the client, drop them in the top of the funnel, and that this is what they’re going to get and how they’re going to get it.
Don Mock 13:04
Yeah, yeah, agreed, agreed.
Rob Broadfoot 13:05
We’re more flexible.
Don Mock 13:07
Well, not every client and not every request requires the same steps to get a stellar product at the end of that cycle.
Rob Broadfoot 13:14
Don Mock 13:15
So it seems kind of counterintuitive to force everyone through the same matrix, right? When everybody’s different and has different needs, and is on different timelines. I mean, you did mention, and we spent a lot of time about timing, which I hadn’t even considered, but some clients are incredibly quick and nimble and some, you know, larger corporations. I mean, it’s like, great, we’ll talk to you in two weeks with feedback. You know, what I mean? It’s like, two weeks you know, but that, you know, that’s another case of adapting to what their needs are. I mean, sometimes it’s, they gotta turn the battleship in the bathtub, and it’s gonna take a long time for decisions to be made. So yeah, interesting. I mean, we do have we do have a process, but I think, the goal is to get clients work off of their desk and onto our are desk and make it painless for them to send it over the ship bow.
Rob Broadfoot 14:05
Don Mock 14:05
Get the ship analogy going so right?
Rob Broadfoot 14:07
Don Mock 14:08
Which I think works really, really well for us.
Rob Broadfoot 14:10
The ship analogy or our methodology?
Don Mock 14:13
No, our methodology.Yeah, yeah. And it works for clients as well. So yeah, it’s an interesting, I mean, we could probably talk for another 20 minutes about different styles and the different industries and things we work in. But I think this is good, I think it’s, given a good kind of overview of what this sort of topic means on multiple levels.
Rob Broadfoot 14:29
Yeah, I think the the summary is, to me creativity is flexibility. And you’ve got to be able to be flexible, and you’ve got to be able to adapt and to your immediate client needs and whatever else. And I think we do a pretty good job of that.
Don Mock 14:44
Yeah. Awesome. All right. I think I think we’ve talked it out.
Rob Broadfoot 14:48
I think we got it. All right.
Don Mock 14:50
We’re gonna people find us.
Rob Broadfoot 14:51
Oh, man, we’re everywhere. We are everywhere.
Don Mock 14:54
We’re on Apple.
Rob Broadfoot 14:54
We’re Apple, we’re on Spotify. I Heart Radio!
Don Mock 14:58
Are we on? Are we on Audible? We might be audible.
Rob Broadfoot 15:00
I don’t know I have to look it up.
Don Mock 15:02
Rob Broadfoot 15:02
Don Mock 15:03
Rob Broadfoot 15:04
Twitch are we on Twitch?
Don Mock 15:05
No, not yet, cuz we don’t have a video component yet.
Rob Broadfoot 15:07
I’m not a gamer. Alright, no, you can find us of course on the interwebs at mocktheagency.com and on all the socials @mocktheagency. And we we always appreciate feedback. So drop us a line drop us a note drop us ideas that you’d like for us to talk about and happy to do so.
Don Mock 15:25
Yeah, we’ll catch you next time.
Rob Broadfoot 15:26
Visit you next time.
Don Mock 15:27
All right, thanks everybody.