30 March 2009

The Actor Within

What does graphic design and marketing have to do with acting? Not a whole lot, but there is one parallel between the two that I'd like to explain.

Whether you are sitting down to design a logo or develop a marketing plan you have to put yourself into the customers shoes. You have to think like a customer and become that customer, even for just a brief moment in time so that you can understand their motivation. Just as an actor must do to perform a role.

This takes some understanding of who the customer really is or could be. At an ad agency, design firm or a creative house like ours, you really have two customers: The client, and their customer.

Believe me when I tell you - our efforts have to be on the clients customer, not the client in order for any advertising or marketing to succeed. Unfortunately, there are times when things get changed to the point where it only satisfies the client. This makes for a happy client, but this is short lived and when the campaign hits the streets and the results come back to kick them in the ass... we get the blame.

If your designer or creative team does their job, does the research and makes an effort to truly understand who could be using your product, they will do some 'acting' and become the customer for a short period of time. In this time, they will create something truly special, something that will motivate, interest and compel this customer to be separated from their wallet long enough to purchase your product or service.

Just as there are great actors, there are great designers. A great designer can quickly understand the motivation of the end customer and create something unique and compelling.

When reading this it doesn't sound that difficult, does it? But when you take into consideration that the designer must also keep the clients' branding elements familiar and consistent, that it must stand out and be better than their competitions' ads and that it must resonate with the customer it really becomes complex.

In the creative business there are many revisions and changes, that's the nature of the beast, but when you are getting strong push back from your designer on a change to the creative, ask yourself; is the requested change for you or your customer?

The answer to that question isn't always in favour of the designer, they can be wrong... they can be bad actors, or have bad directors or just have a crappy script. The point is to illustrate how important it is to look at changes to ensure they are to better the creative to better target the customer.

Targeting the customer is always right.

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