10 Things We Love Hate About You

April Forbes
July 12, 2021

In Agency Land we spend countless eye twitching hours trying to interpret subjective comments, requests and feedback from clients. And that’s no complaint. It’s part of the gig and we love it. After years and years of running an agency, I thought it was about time we talked about the 10 most common things we hear from our clients. Or as we call it; The 10 Things We Love Hate About You.

1. I want something out of the box! - Use your creative flair – you have an open license.

Whilst this incredible notion of trust and faith is appreciated unless there’s an incredibly detailed brief supporting the comment this is the first step towards chaos. I’m no designer however there’s one thing we know for sure and that is true creativity comes from working within limitations so if you’re going to egg an agency on to be wild, creative, fun and adventurous just make sure they have some boundaries both financially and objectively.

What we find is almost every client has an opinion, idea or concept before they’ve engaged an agency however, they hold back from expressing it. If this sounds familiar, share, overshare in fact. The more we know the better. The more detailed the brief, the better. True creativity comes from exploring the potential within realistic constraints.

2. I don't use social media.

Well then you better tell the person with 241 friends on Facebook that has the same name, went to the same school and is apparently into the same things as you and married to the same spouse, to stop living your life.

Admitting you use social media is not something to be embarrassed about. We all have vices. Most of our client’s use it for what it was meant for. Keeping in touch with friends, family and funny cat videos.

We encourage you to get on board, accept the future and reconnect with your customers. There are wonderful and scary things being said in the world. If you want to get the brutal truth about your brand and business, scroll the comments on your social media pages for an hour. It’ll be well worth the time invested.

3. I want to sound just like Gary Vaynerchuk or Go-To Skin

Short answer is you can’t. It’s great you draw inspiration from certain personalities, brands and products, however, being authentic to your own tone of voice is the only option.

For those wondering what the hell a Vaynerchuk is, that’s a loud American bloke who yells into a camera about social media, entrepreneurship and marketing. Go-To Skin or more importantly, Zoe Foster Blake the owner, is the best friend every woman wish they had. The reality is both people are simply being authentic and that’s probably why you love them. So instead of imitating them, imitate what they’re doing and be authentically you. That’s unless you’re highly offensive in which case we’ll polish that into a more palatable version of you.

After all, why be them when you get to be you?

4. Why can't I see my Google or Facebook Ads?

If only I had a dollar for every time a client said this to me. There’s several reasons why and here’s the most common ones:

  1. The campaign objective does not match your engagement habits of that medium therefore we won’t waste your money by serving ads to the wrong audience.
  2. Your demographics aren't in the demographics we are targeting therefore we won’t waste your money by serving ads to the wrong audience.
  3. Your budget has run out for the day which means you need to either spend more money or chill out and be happy with what you have.
  4. You have a history of not engaging in the ads previously, so may be deemed not relevant. Don’t blame us, that’s a Facebook or Google rule however it comes back to not wasting your money by serving ads to the wrong audience.

If you want to see your own ads, just ask and we can show you.

5. I did marketing at Uni

So did I however I’ll be honest, it doesn’t provide any tangible benefit in today’s real world of marketing and advertising. We love engaging with clients about their marketing and advertising however there’s no need to try to posture up against your agency.

Holding on to your 93’ semester about Behaviour Science won’t help when Google decides to phase out Broad Match Modified keywords at 11.52am on the 5th of July. The good news is you don’t have to. All the modern marketing know how is right here in your agency. What we need from you is to know more about your business, products or services and most importantly, your objectives.

We’re dropping this truth bomb because many of us hold onto the past but unfortunately things have changed. The best way forward is to look and talk about the future.

6. Why does it take that long? / It’s urgent

Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your urgent brochure or website. We love your enthusiasm and motivation but let’s be real. Good agencies are booked in advance, if they’re not then it’s a warning sign and you should be thinking twice.

To give you an idea on a typical website build you have an Art Director, Production Manager, Lead Developer, Senior Designer, Copywriter, Strategist and Account Executive working together. This means millions of line of codes, weeks of design, days and days of copywriting and that’s just to get the first proof out to you. Then after revisions, testing and client changing scopes of work mid-way through, a good website takes months to build.

Everything takes time and needs to be booked in so team members aren't overloaded which impacts the quality of work delivered. And, to add to that, if multiple people in varying disciplines are involved, more time is needed.

What to say instead? 'How much time do you need to do this? I need it by X, is that possible?' And... 'What do you need from me to help this process along?'

7. Can you reduce the white space, add a red slash and make the logo bigger?

No. And for good reason.

White space, otherwise known as negative space, is used to give space to design elements. It gives us as humans the space we need to read, to decode and to understand the key message a design is putting forward.

The mistake most people make is using some sort of a red star, slash, banner, etc. to get their message across. Stop it. Only Coles can do this and that's only because it's their primary brand colour.

A bigger logo won’t make your brand stand out; it’ll make it look weird.

If you want to make something stand out more, ask how that can be achieved, less space, red slashes and bigger logos aren’t the solution.

8. Is the website mobile-first?

This is a website development question that we are asked regularly because it was a buzzword a few years ago. What you should ask is will the website work well on mobile. And yes, all our websites are mobile-responsive. Meaning that after the desktop version designed and developed, the mobile version is adjusted to suit. This does not mean that mobile is neglected, it just means that we consider all devices and screen sizes. Without diving into more development and code differences, mobile-first and mobile-responsive are just different approaches to the same thing, and our developer uses both and all practices.

9. We want to look like Apple.

We are all inspired by Apple. But unless you have a sneaky $500 million laying around and 30 years to throw at your project, you won’t be able to look like Apple.

I know this firsthand. I purchase a lot from Apple, 25-iMacs-and-counting, a lot. From their campaigns around new products to their product descriptions and check-out process using Apple Pay. Apple is defined by its customer experience. It's seamlessness, it's functional, it's inimitable. Be inspired by it, but don't aspire to it unless you have the budget to reflect.

Instead, try to find the deeper elements you love about their brand. It’s often the minimalism of their design. The simplicity of everything they do and the values they stand for.

Think about what inspires you. Really think about it. What drew you to it, how did it make you feel, what was so memorable about it? Generally being inspired by Apple is as clique as an advertising agency with sparkling water on tap (yes we have that in our office). Inspiration is important, but so is budget and the platform you are using for your website.

10. I will provide the copy

This is one of those nice in theory ideas but terrible in practice outcomes. Whilst you might be an incredible copywriter, this usually means you don’t trust the agency’s copywriter to produce copy that will accurately reflect your brand and tone of voice. If this is the case, then you haven’t got the right agency.

I have never had a client, ever... be able to provide their copy in full and on time.

Instead, embrace the help, and work with the copywriter. You would be surprised what can be achieved.

11. How will I know to scroll?

Ok so technically this is the 11th not 10th but nevertheless, it’s a common query. The answer is instinctual. It’s a bit like knowing how to breathe, you just do it. We’ve all spent enough time on websites now to know how a mouse or keyboard works therefore have faith in your customers that they will be able to navigate your site.

 Some habits can be changed but unless you have a big budget and are willing to potentially compromise user experience, we suggest you embrace human nature and enhance it.

In summary. Interpreting what you say and what you mean is a full-time job in running an agency. Creating incredible advertising and marketing is never easy however we ask one favour. If you’ve engaged an agency and want to get the best of out of them. Be objective. Be clear and set boundaries. We love when you do, and it will always lead to the best outcomes. Embrace the love hate and never stop dreaming of a bigger future for your brand. We won’t.