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  • Last month’s blog I asked the question: What if we had no labels?  I discussed how in life, business, and everything is based on a labels.  Because of labels, it causes division and separation instead of inclusion.  For business, it creates an advantage for some and disadvantage for others.  Meaning, a local entrepreneur can produce a top quality product, but struggles to stay afloat, because they do not have brand recognition.  However, a mediocre product will sell millions of a particular item, because a celebrity has endorsed it, or a well-known brand has put its name behind it.  

    This month I am going to discuss a situation I recently encountered.  Names and places have been changed, but it is an issue I am sure will happen to me again and I am sure has happened to many other marketing designers.  I am writing about it help businesses realize how this can be detrimental to their business and more importantly how they need to stick to their vision, unless of course it is not the right vision.

    Recently, I met with a couple of entrepreneur’s to discuss doing their logo and website for a new business they wanted to start.  They already had two, or three, other businesses that related to this particular business, but they wanted to take it to the next level. We had a preliminary meeting to see what they wanted and to see if it was something On The Level Marketing would be able take on.  They had a very clear, specific vision for what they wanted, with a specific clientele they wanted to target.  This particular industry is geared more for another type of clientele and has a particular image, or feel.  They wanted to break that ceiling.  They wanted specific colors and look.  In talking with them, I was very impressed at their clear vision for this business.

    They had already paid someone to do a logo, but it was not at all what they wanted.  They also had a friend who did marketing and design work, but that friend did not want to tackle this project; therefore, they had contacted me.  We left the meeting with them feeling like I could capture what they wanted. I was to come up with a proposal, and in turn, they were going to let me know if they needed me to do the logo and website, or just the website.  The next day they excitedly told me they wanted me to do it all.  They paid for my initial payment and I began designing the logo, per our conversation we had had the day before.  

    As I always do, I gave my client 5 different versions of the logo.  I let them know we could mix and match, or start from scratch.  There was one logo that they loved and only had a small change, which I told them that would be no problem.  I was psyched and looking forward to helping them get their new concept off the ground.  

    Within a half hour, texts started flying.  They had shown it to “friends” and those friends did not like any of the logos.  They started making drastic changes and criticizing the logos I provided.  I didn’t have a problem with the criticism.  It comes with the territory.  My goal is to provide a product the client wants.  After a flurry of text, they decided they wanted me to talk their friend.  This friend was the designer who had passed up the job, because they felt they didn’t have the expertise to do it.  I agreed to talk with them the next day.

    The next day, I spoke with their friend and by the end of the conversation I was confused and irritated.  Confused, because what this person described was a completely different look and feel from the discussion I had had with the owners of the business.  This new vision was not unique or different. It was a vision that would not attract the clientele they intended to attract and it certainly would not differentiate them from other similar businesses out there.  I was irritated, because by the end of this conversation I did not know who I was working for, my client, or their friend. In the end, they decided to go with person who initially designed the logo they hated.  

    I truly felt bad for these business owners, because as I mentioned, they had a clear vision for this unique spin on an existing industry.  One that I think, and feel, would set them apart from the competition and attract the clientele they were wanting to attract.  I felt that they let an individual, or a group of individuals, talk them out of their unique vision. Additionally, this friend was invoking their creative vision on them.  Even after this person had declined to do the job, and then they tried to invoke their designing vision on me.   

    Part of my services, and a good marketing firm, is to let my clients know if I feel something is not going to work.  If I feel the clients idea is not going to look good, I will let my client know.  I’m not here just to be an order taker and make money.  I am here to help my client’s visions and dreams become a reality.  That said, when you hire me, or any marketing firm, you are hiring them to create and brand your business; however, when you start asking others for their opinions you start opening an assortment of problems.  

    It is good to get other’s opinions to tweak, or adjust, the vision you have.  That is fine, but you ask 5 people for their opinions and very rarely are you going to get any of them to have the same opinion.  You will get 5 varying, or completely different, opinions.  Have you ever been in a meeting with more than a couple of people and you all have to agree on something?  I don’t care what that something is the meeting drags on and on.  Everyone gives their opinion for, or against, and by the end of the meeting you are not any further in making a decision then when you started.  However, you ask one or two people and a decision will be made and it will probably be better than the original.  

    Too many cooks in the kitchen will result in a messy kitchen and the end result will not be what you set out to cook.  Trust who you hire.  That is what you paid them for.

    Geoff Cummings is President|Founder of On The Level Marketing & Consulting, LLC.  Successfully helping businesses with all their marketing needs by branding their businesses and keeping marketing simple and straightforward.  

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