Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Client Leadership Pillar

This post introduces the Client Leadership Pillar.
A client is defined as an individual or organization that is engaging professional services to solve their problem(s). In the 4 Pillars model clients can be both internal and external to ones parent organization. The key to success in this pillar is to earn the trust and approval of the client stakeholder so the best work is fully considered and ultimately implemented.
Every elevator pitch in history has been to a known or prospective client.

Stakeholders defined.
Generally stakeholders are; the client, the client's customers (everyone serves) and the firm or agency hired to solve the agreed problems. Anyone who benefits from the solution is a stakeholder.

The right problem
One of the biggest obstacles to connecting with a client is fully understanding the right problem to solve. Client provided insight to their problems is often lacking in clarity.
A creative professional understands various methods of inquiry to ensure the scope of the problem is well understood in order to create innovative solutions that drive returns to all stakeholders. Creative professionals will research or seek information on the end customers needs and issues in order to fully understand their pain points and issues.
Market and competitive audits also serve to drive insights to potential solutions.
This information is often presented in project, creative and insight briefs, however the agency chooses to summarize and clarify scope and direction.

Persuade or sell, either way the client needs to be convinced.
Salesmanship, presentation and relationship skills are essential in order to build client rapport.
Agencies rarely decide for their client, they recommend.
A recommendations merit is often rationalized in relation to competitive, market and customer conditions, development methods, media strategies and material choices.
All creative professionals seeking to advance their portfolios or reputations face the need to persuade and sell their clients on the right solution.

In my experience the most successful creative professionals vest themselves in the work and see their projects through to completion. These leaders understand project success extends client relationships, sells new clients, builds portfolios and improves customer experiences.

This blog is not about prescribing a master how to, it is about exploring all aspects of a professional problem solvers career with the hope of sharing experiences, methods, successes, failures, results and ideas.

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