Art of Client Service by Solomon C. Robert

By Solomon C. Robert

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19 Listen carefully for client concerns, even when they are not stated overtly. Especially when they are not stated overtly. Ask questions. Probe for answers. Draw the client out. I missed a subtle signal that, in retrospect, was quite clear. If you observe and listen to your client, you can do better than I did. 20 C H A P T E R 6 Ta k e t h e Wo r d Brief Seriously I once worked at an agency where we wrote briefs that were as fat as the Manhattan Yellow Pages (well, maybe not quite that big, but you get the picture).

The client laughed when we showed the idea to her. She got it, she knew the target would get it. In the end, she didn’t love it enough to take a risk on it. The very thing that made the work great—the humor— is the thing that worried her. So she went with a safer choice. The fault was ours, not hers. We knew the idea was right. We did our best to be persuasive, without applying undue pressure. We wanted her to own the idea with us. We didn’t succeed. We wound up executing a different concept, which made perfectly good advertising.

It’s a much happier task to stand up for work you believe in than it is to speak out against work you know is wrong. But your colleagues will listen to you if you’ve established yourself as a credible source of input, if you speak with conviction, and if your assessment is well reasoned. ” You 43 need to explain why the work doesn’t deliver on the strategy, why it will fail to engage viewers, why it doesn’t deliver the message clearly, or whatever else might be wrong with it. ” If there’s no idea in what you’re seeing, then there isn’t anything for the client to buy, and the agency shouldn’t be trying to sell it.

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