How Does It Work?
Or rather, "How do we work together?" We understand that working with an organization such as ours for the first time often prompts a few questions. Sometimes more than a few concerns, too. How much will it cost? How successful will we be in interpreting your needs? How can we do it most effectively? How can we do it most efficiently? Here are a few answers.
Like many service organizations, we base our invoices on the time we invest in a project. Currently, we bill our time at $125 per hour, roughly 10–20% under what other firms of our quality and experience charge. Project costs range from a low of around a thousand dollars up to tens of thousands, based on scope and budget. We always provide a detailed proposal and estimate for approval before starting. We always adhere to our estimates unless project specifications change.
Laying the Foundation
After being assigned a project, the first thing we do is to schedule an information-gathering meeting between our creative team and your key staff. We are interested not only in scheduling, budget and job specifications, but we will also be gathering key information about your company and the competitive landscape (see Groundwork). Although this process can be somewhat time-consuming (we don’t like meetings any more than you do), it is also crucially important. It will help you sharpen your focus and objectives, and it will help us ensure that what we produce is not only creatively excellent, but strategically targeted.
Developing the Right Ideas
Despite popular misconceptions, good creative work doesn’t often come in a flash of inspiration; usually it comes from lots of trial and error and even staring out the window. This is why we take the time to consider several approaches (concepts), work them through, and try them out. Then we revise them. This means that we’ll normally ask for up to two weeks, depending on the job’s complexity, before we submit our rough concepts for your review. Of course, if you have a rush project or deadline pressure, we will adjust our workflow and timing accordingly.
In our experience, it’s best if we present our initial rough concepts to your project manager and just one or two others. This ensures that we all stay focused on the challenge and are not distracted by too many personal opinions. These can take place in person or remotely. We try to convey what we believe is the best approach to take, while considering your budget, schedule, objectives, and preferences. Yet, presentation is not so well-developed as to have wasted time and effort if we decide to refine our message or strategy.
After presenting, we’ll ask for comments. The more objective and specific you can be, the better we will be able to respond. Revision normally takes about a week, and we schedule a second remote presentation shortly thereafter. From there, we make any minor teaks and finalize the timetable.
Ensuring Your Satisfaction
We recommend the finished layout be routed to the appropriate decision makers for fact and detail checking only, reserving stylistic and subjective decisions to your project manager. To avoid costly confusion and delay, it is also important that all communication with us comes from the project manager.
During the course of the project, we keep your project manager informed of our progress. Activities that will affect the schedule or budget will be identified in writing. Our goal is to keep your project moving ahead quickly, smoothly, and cost-effectively.
Tips on Branding
- Use a strategic process to develop a name, logo, and image.
- Pick one key message that sets you apart from your competition.
- Consistently use your message at every client touch point.
- Start the process without defining clear business goals.
- Mistake branding with a one-time ad campaign. It's ever evolving.
- Complicate things. Simple is better.