There I’ve said it. In a competitive age and industry, where it’s all about being the best, beating off the competition and having the edge, I realise this statement somewhat goes against the grain. But there’s more to it than this: we aren’t perfect, but we are human and we work as hard as we possibly can to ensure everything is as close to perfect as it can be. If we were perfect, there would be nothing left to learn, and we are constantly learning and adapting: from feedback, from our clients, our competitors and, when it happens, from our mistakes.
Each year we conduct our client perception survey, an independent survey that asks our clients honestly what they think of us. The results are published in a ‘warts and all’ format and are available on our website for anyone to view. However it’s not just about completing the survey and talking about the fact that we do this. For us, it’s much more. A real insight and education into how our clients perceive us: what we are good at, what we do wrong, where we could improve and what they really like. These insightful statements are taken back into the office and incorporated into our everyday lives. For us, this exercise is a real opportunity to take off any rose-tinted glasses we may wear when we think about our services, to see what it’s really like on the outside looking in, and make steps and changes to improve for the following year’s survey.
We do appreciate this is not the easiest industry to be objective about. It’s very difficult to measure creativity; it’s subjective and everyone has their own opinion about good and bad creative. However, we like to look for the more measurable aspects of what our designs do: have they increased footfall to a particular event or encouraged more registrations for a particular client’s service, for example. It’s the tangible facts and figures that we like to look for when measuring how good we are at what we do.
This approach helps us when we occasionally (yes, it happens) fall under criticism. We know that there are different opinions of what looks like good or bad design, that’s understandable. But did that design work, did it achieve the results it was supposed to? That’s the part that is key. Results matter to us, and more importantly they matter to our clients. While we want you to like what we do to look at, sometimes it’s as much about campaigns that make a difference. That’s what the judges look for in our award entries, not whether the pink colour would have worked better in the top left hand corner of the front page.
But this is only the half of it. Accepting that we are not perfect is fine, but that doesn’t stop the drive for the end goal. I am the first to admit, I can be kind of obsessive (I don’t think I’d be the only one in my team). It’s kind of necessary to do what we do. If we are not particular about the details, fanatical about timings and deadlines, and fussy about the facts, then the projects we manage have the capacity to fall apart, and for us that is not an option.
This obsessiveness in us is what drives us forward to continue to apply the same perseverance and determination to make everything we do as perfect as it can possibly be. Whether it’s something we are working on for the first time for a new client, or a process we have been going through for years for one of our established clients. Each one is considered as important as the other, and our learned principles are put in place to ensure that every T is crossed and every i is dotted (quite literally in a lot of cases).
As we are human, the odd mistake can and does happen from time to time but, even then, it’s about the practices we put in place to ensure that there are no repeat occurrences. It’s really important for us that every one of us takes responsibility for whatever we are working for to ensure it’s as close to perfect as it can be. Look out for the results of this year’s client perception survey but, in the meantime, take a look at our previous one, for 2011.
Client perception survey 2011.
We may not be perfect, but we’ll keep trying to get there.