I believe the key to a successful business is being willing to learn, refine and develop. Understand that there are always opportunities to learn and get better. No matter how clever you are or how much experience you have, you don’t know everything yet.
The problem is and all of us do it, you get into a pattern—so used to doing what you do, liking what you like that you become blind to the obvious. Sometimes you need to step back and take a look at something from a new angle to really see what’s happening.
“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”
Like always ordering the same meal from a take-away. The wine stain on your carpet that you don’t even notice anymore. Or just because you’re repulsed by the idea of a fig roll, you assume everybody else in the world is too. But here’s a revelation, there are more delicious meals on that take-away menu, other people see the stain on the carpet and some people really do love fig rolls. Occasionally you need to try something new, look at it differently or listen to what others do to actually get the real picture, and get different results.
In business this is more important than ever. Don’t assume your customers behave and think the same as you. Or that you’ll get different results by not changing anything. Listen to what they have to say, see what they do, figure out what they like and dislike. Make changes. Only then can you actually give them what they want.
As a relative newbie to Toward I’ve had the cherished opportunity to do just that here—really look at what we do and how we do it from a new perspective.
Being from a 'client-side' background, and having worked with lots of agencies (some great, some not so great) I can understand the motivations, needs, wants and issues of a client. This has given a new perspective to the Toward team and the opportunity to really look at what we do from a new angle—of the people who actually pay for our services.
The good news is that I really like what I see. I love our strategic approach, our professionalism, the creative work that we produce, the culture and people. However there have been things I’ve spotted that we could improve on; from basics such as how we present our proposals, to fundamentals such as we’re bloody good at what we do—why don’t we shout about ourselves more?! For the loyal long-time Toward team members these were things that had become invisible - it just needed some new eyes to look at us, ask questions and challenge what we currently do. So a few months down the line we’ve got new look proposals, a monthly email newsletter, a revamped website and a flashy ‘About us’ document to give to prospective clients. And that’s just the start.
As a new person into our organisation, I’ll naturally question things that others wouldn’t. But you don’t have to be new to see something differently. Throughout my career (and life) I’ve experienced eureka moments many times just by stepping back and having a good look at something or by really listening to or watching a customer.
“True knowledge is knowing what you don’t know”
Using your own website or reading your brochures like you are an actual customer can highlight some obvious stumbling blocks. Even finding faults in competitors can make you realise these are things that you do too. Sometimes the most simple of things such as menus, wording, colour, style or imagery can determine whether a customer buys or not. They know what they were put off by, but you may never know unless you try it for yourself or actually ask them.
As a creative agency we are here to look at businesses with fresh eyes. We can see what you’ve become used to seeing, we can ask the questions that you’ve never thought to ask and suggest solutions that you’d never have dreamed of. It’s our job. One of the benefits of using external agencies is that they think differently to you and see your business from a whole new viewpoint.
We believe that any creative should be developed with the end user in mind. It shouldn’t be about what you want or what we want, it should be about what your customers want. If you can give your customers what they want, answer their questions or appeal to their needs then you will be far more successful than if you just make assumptions.
"Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."
By starting each project with a 'Discovery Phase' we give ourselves the time to understand your customers, their needs and their motivations. If possible we'll speak directly to them, but we also help clients think like their customers. During this process we dissect what you do, understand your customers, define your objectives, challenge your assumptions and establish a set of messages of success so we can see if our solutions are effective. Design should be more than just nice images. It’s about creating compelling, useful, unique and innovative experience that customers relate to and want to be a part of.
So don’t forget to regularly take a step back and look at your business through the eyes of your customers. You may discover something that was staring you in the face all along. Better still talk to your customers, start a conversation and get to know them, and ask them questions. Don’t be afraid of what they might say, it’s better to be aware of negative comments, than not even realise they are being said. And who says it’ll be negative anyway, they may love what you’re doing.
If you want us to help you give your customers the best experience, speak to one of our team about doing a Discovery Phase. Call us on 029 2049 3819, drop us an email email@example.com or fill in our new project form to get started.