Monday, April 8, 2019

Moving From Good To Great

It’s an idea and a popular talk-point that has been around for a long while. It’s over discussed, yet under practiced. It’s well known, yet elusive. Easy to understand, yet difficult to achieve.
When we think of moving from Good to Great, we first think of ourselves: how can we enhance our skills, our capabilities, or our knowledge? How can we get so good that suddenly we’ve achieved greatness?

The fact is… this is all very subjective. The meter of greatness is unique to our perspective. What I think is great, you might find terrible. And what is sub-par for me, could be the very best in your opinion. So, the notion of Good to Great is definable from your unique perspective.

But the idea of growth in business is more clearly and universally defined, particularly in terms of capital growth. If your business is making more money each year and your brand is becoming more recognizable in the market…you are moving in the right direction. This also applies to your client relationships and that is the subject we’ll look at here: How can we take our clients from good clients to great clients?

The answer is similar: if you are bringing financial growth to your client… you are moving in the right direction. That means not only providing quality and performance in the solutions you provide, but to also understand that client and their world to the degree that you can now anticipate their needs. To build trust in that relationship to a level that exceeds your list of known capabilities. To have a client say, “I need something that’s never been done before and I know just who to ask.” Even better, to have a client’s trust so strong that a single request organically expands into a fully integrated campaign. In Marketing Communications, that’s moving from Good to Awesome.

Moving a client from Good to Great…or even Awesome, doesn’t mean just delivering something good over and over again. The drive to “Great” means exceeding an expectation and delivering another clichĂ© business phrase... a “wow moment”. That moment doesn’t necessarily have to be a creative genius design. It could be a strategy that connects one need to three other needs. It could be an idea that expands one success into several successes. In our world of Media Communications, this could mean expanding a print piece into a website or video. It could be a small, well executed deliverable like a logo design that grows into a brand story that then blooms into a brand experience.

How do we do it? Some may say it’s a gift. We say, listen to your client. Understand their challenges, their industry, and their audience, then tap into your creative gift and take them… and yourself…from Good to Great.

Bob Pascarella is the Creative Director at Fenway Group and a keen observer of humanity and business strategy.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Design You Can Dance To

Have you ever used the phrase “I meant to do that?” It’s a wonderful expression to convey that you did something on purpose. It wasn’t serendipity. It wasn’t luck. You planned it and carefully executed it according to that plan. It also works particularly well if you do something clumsy at work in front of everyone.

But, today we’re talking about purposeful, meaningful and relevant design, the kind that communicates an idea, tells a story and creates a reaction with the viewer. The kind of design where you can confidently say “I meant to do that”. Design that captures the essence of a message, often without words, but even more powerfully when aligned with a compelling narrative. And the best part is that the effect of a great design can be unique to the viewer’s own experience with it, and each viewer’s reaction will be different from everyone else’s, either slightly or vastly or anything in between.

So when we say “That was done By-Design,” what we are saying is that we did our homework, research and discovery on what we are trying to say and how best to say it. As commercial designers, we often get very abstract input from a client trying to define their brand. We hear things like “we’re smart and nimble” or “our brand story is confident and bold.” You look around the room at the graphics designers and everyone’s eyes are closed, trying to envision “confidence” while thinking about shapes and colors. The video designers are feverishly scratching in notebooks, compiling “confident” words and concepts. The print people are instantly calculating how large they can print before the design is visible from outer space. This is how designers start in their purposeful process.

Design is born from inspiration and delivered through perspiration. It’s not created for itself, it’s created for someone to experience. It’s both subtle and in-your-face. Its main purpose in life is to affect the viewer in some way and if it’s not doing that, then it’s not doing its job.

I often think of design like a song. Actually, songs are constructed using methodology that is similar to what you might use as a designer: identifying your message or story, discovering the way you wish to communicate it, planning your action, and executing that plan. And much like a song, if only you like it, you might be the only one on the dance floor. A design experience is a three-party proposition. There’s the designer, there’s the design, and there’s the people who are experiencing it. These three must come together in harmony to create a successful experience. How do you really know if you’re doing it right and delivering an effective design? Take a look at your audience and see if they’re dancing too.

Bob Pascarella is the Creative Director for The Fenway Group in Boston.