Trying to get clients to use interesting and innovative solutions is often like pulling teeth. Tried and tested methods always push in front of new ideas.
In a recent Cannes UnCanned session, Andre Ash, head of motion and design agency Colour Andre, discussed his methodology for solving problems through innovation, and how to get clients on board with innovative ideas.
“We’ve all got stories where we’ve presented something amazing to a client, only to have them go for the tried and tested and standard safe option that we probably always knew they would from the start, which is disappointing,” said Ash.
“But the good news is that in our new COVID world, everything’s on the table now. The really good thing is that everyone’s really embracing these new sorts of innovative solutions which is excellent. And it’s a great time to be able to do it.”
While Ash said innovation in the marketing and tech space isn’t new, the problem is clients shy away from it. Why?
“Because it’s scary,” said Ash. “It’s untested. It can be expensive. No one knows if you can really pull it off or not, especially on a limited time frame or budget. This is kind of where a lot of innovative ideas die.”
Ash said, however, if you can convince just one client to “take a leap of faith with you”, then others will follow.
“And then you’ll be able to do much more exciting work during your days and be more entertained,” he said.
How to get clients on board
Ash said one way of getting clients on board is to not simply “put another still mock-up” on a concept board.
“No one gets excited about a still mockup. Don’t expect your client to go, ‘oh that’s the most amazing thing’ if that’s how you present it.
“Be bold if you’ve got an amazing idea, be bold about how you present it. If you believe in your idea, invest in the time that it takes to make your idea look like the most amazing idea. As they say, if you build it, they will come.”
Can innovation work for the small players?
Innovation might work for big companies who have a bigger budget, but how do you make smaller companies with smaller budget seems like one of the big players?
Ash said this is another sticking point where innovation dies because of the practicalities of time and budget. He said: “It can be a bit depressing, if you let it be.”
“But if you search hard, and dig a bit deeper just in your first page on Google, you’ll often find that there actually are some really great ideas out there that aren’t as expensive as you thought, and that have a really good return on investment compared to some of the traditional ideas.”
Ash said, however, to not just rely on Google: “If you want real ideas, get out there and check it all out. In our case, we decided to go on a little bit of a world tour of some amazing trade shows.”
Learn from other’s mistakes
Ash said it’s important to remember that with existing, well road-tested solutions that are out there, others have already worked out all the pitfalls.
“There are best practices out there. There’s YouTube videos out there, to see how he’s supposed to do things. And with new technologies, a lot of the time, the problems and techniques that you have to work out, you have to work out as you go along.”
However, it’s also important to remember that there will still be a lot of problems that come up as you go along, with Ash advising when writing a project timeline, factor those failures in.
“It will not go smoothly, and it may not even work at all. And it’s important to remember that because you need to manage the expectations of your client, and make sure that you have a great backup plan, because you’ll need to develop that backup plan in parallel to your super cool amazing idea, just in case it doesn’t work.”
“You need to make sure that that backup plan is still pretty good because you can’t promise someone an amazing hologram display and then only give them a static PDF, because you’ll just get left with a really pissed off client.
“But if you can keep everyone’s eyes on the prize, getting something up that’s new, will not only set your client apart from the rest but it’ll also set you apart from the rest. And above all, it’s about adventure and discovery and doing something that’s different, rather than just doing the same solutions over and over and all of us being bored by that.
“You only have to get one great idea to get people going.”
You can watch the full session HERE.
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