Clients are from Mars…

I am seeing many more design agency owners being asked to supply rate cards or to do a package deal to reduce costs. This has always been an aspect of running a design business but it seems to be more prevalent particularly on large jobs needing a lot of implementation work. Clients are now asking for a breakdown of hourly rates for different levels of staff.

I think it’s because many of these clients are commodity based. They are selling product units, square meters of space, SKUs etc. Even those seeking branding are ultimately selling something. This leads to commodity thinking, unit pricing and hourly rates.

How do you break the cycle?

Join the club. Talk about commodity. Tell the client you understand their industry, their place in it and the issues facing them. Acknowledge that your fees must be interpreted in return on investment. Tell them you know the ‘return’ is selling more stuff; it’s all about commodity.
It’s about giving value to the client.
This means you lead with a design value proposition.
Your design value proposition should link their sales success to your design approach that you take. It should explain the tools/processes you will use:
Market research/insights
Brand strategy development
Brand naming
Tone of voice
Brand identity design
Go-to-market implementation
This is backed up by a one sentence case study that gives hard core results; for example: sales increased 150% above monthly target.
Focus the conversation on an outcome; value for the client. Move the conversation from commodity to value and flow into a fees discussion that focuses on that added value, not the number of hours you will work.
You need to repeat this exercise with each client beacuse you start the conversation by showing you understand their industry.

Want some help writing a design value proposition. Please feel free to email me.

Got a question?

Want to share your point of view? Please feel free to email me.

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