HOW Design Live Podcast: Do You Provide Strategy for Free?

HDL-BannerLooking for some creative inspiration and business insight? Listen to all of the podcasts in the 2015 HOW Design Live Speaker Podcast Series.

Last week, a small design firm I work with submitted a proposal to a large corporation for a major initiative they’d been working on for years. The timeframe to do the work was short and included a lot of deliverables. The proposal my client submitted started with a short strategic process before design would begin. The client’s response: “Why is it so expensive? We just need you to do the graphics.”

If you’ve experienced a version of this, you are probably frustrated by clients who just don’t understand what’s involved and how much more you could bring to the table.

But have you communicated it to them? Or have you thrown in the strategic part of your creative process as a value-added frill, without charging for it and, worse, without making it a line item on your proposal or invoice?

0c3f83eThat’s one of the many topics I discussed with Doug Dolan, writer and communications strategist, in Episode 5 of the #HOWLive Speaker Podcast Series.

In fact, Doug told of a similar situation. “A client said to me, ‘You do the words, we’ll look after the structure,’ as if anyone who writes for a living throws in some structure if they have the time. It’s a bit more complicated than that.”

Clients often think they’ve thought it all out and now they need someone to implement it. But what all of us do is a bit more complicated and, as creative professionals, we have to take responsibility for a client’s misperceptions, especially if we haven’t made it clear.

In our podcast, Doug shares how he shakes up the typical proposal model so he can make sure he has an opportunity to get deeply involved early enough to show his strategic thinking. “When they see you bring that kind of framework, they are more amenable to seeing that as a line item on an proposal.”

Listen to the whole conversation here and come see Doug’s presentation, “There Will Be Words: How To Get Designers And Writers On The Same Page” at HOW Design Live on Wednesday, May 6 at 3:00. Details: — use “MENTOR” promo code for $50 off.

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