We’re not going to lie to you: we love presenting new work for the first time. It’s so often a Christmas morning experience for our clients, because they realize that we have actually heard them, and solved the problem in a way that is remarkably true to the brand, but hopefully in a way that the client would never—in a million years—have thought of on their own. That feels really good.
And then to show how a mark or design can extend beyond the project at hand, and give a glimpse into the future, this is usually the highlight of our clients’ day/week/month/career. If there are issues and concerns or questions, we deal with them at this point in time. But, in our experience, this is usually a pretty positive meeting. We will undoubtedly learn something more in this meeting that may inform parts or pieces of what we have presented. The biggest single problem we have in these presentations is when we have presented more than one direction, the client contingent trying to decide which one they love most.
Invariably, at some point in every meeting like this, we are asked, “What do you guys think.” Most of the time, we have a definite opinion, but we have a policy of never showing something we can’t stand behind. So, we will point out the potential pros and cons of each direction. If a decision is not made in that meeting, we will always ask if we can be involved in any other presentations of the work through the channels. Not because we don’t have confidence in our direct client contacts, but simply because we were so deep into the process, we are able to often answer a question or quell a concern quickly and simply—where a marketing manager may have to default to, “I don’t know. I’ll ask the agency.”
The manifantra and the creative brief should always be the primary documents used to determine a new identity, packaging or advertising system. Otherwise, it becomes a bit of an amateur TV reality show and in our experience, brand managers and sales types tend to be more like Simon than Randy or Paula. They might have good input, but we should probably be there. That said, we do like gut reactions, especially gut reactions from the founders or current resident dreamer. Even if it challenges them a bit—and it should. We’ll take tough, fearful and decisive, as long as there is fairness, courage and logic. Every time.