Cincinnati design

A fairy tale approach: How to romance your clients through the design journey

Sarah Eisenman

Associate Design Director

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

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As a young girl, who may or may not have watched Cinderella to the point of the VHS permanently jamming in the VCR, I was very familiar with the fairy tale story. Although, the world of fairy tales quickly dissipated as I realized my adoring fan club of mice refused to complete my daily chores, the birds outside my window never made it inside to craft my couture gown, and there were no available princes in Northern Kentucky. With utter disappointment, I left behind the stories that once captivated my imagination and hope for the future. Little do I think about fairy tales today or how they could possibly apply in my daily work life, but maybe, just maybe, a little romancing fairy tale is exactly what design doctor ordered.

When revealing a design to the client, there comes that moment after you’ve given the world’s best presentation…when the crowd either breaks out in thunderous applause or your office grows quiet enough to hear the crickets. So what leads to joyous rejoicing over cold blank stares? Rarely, does the reaction have to do with the final design that lies in front of them, but whether or not you took them on a complete journey that made them swoon. You have to ask yourself:

Did I position myself to be the knight in shining armor that carried them through the fiery depths or the crazy magician who waved a wand, creating a quick fix only for it to later backfire in chapter two?

For me, following the short story formula allows me to ensure I am taking clients on a journey that leaves them weak in the knees and all of their dreams come true. Below are the short story plot steps and the questions I answer when presenting design to clients:

  1. Exposition: What information did you gather from the client in the beginning of the project? What were some of the key nuggets of information that helped frame the project? Did you hear their cries for help?

  2. Motivating Force: What motivated you to help them? What was different about them and their design project that ignited your passion? What made you chose them to be your one and only?

  3. Rising Action: What where some of the project conflicts? What industry challenges were you facing? What internal challenges did the brand need to overcome? What were the heroic battles that were fought?

  4. Climax: What were the key insights and points of difference that led them to beat out the competition? How did you win the battle and whisk them off to safety?

  5. Falling Action: How did your collaboration with the client help you come to those award-winning design solutions? How did you roll out those solutions? How did you help their new and improved self find their way back home?

  6. Resolution: What were some of the final outcomes? How did you make their design dreams reality? How did you help them to live happily ever after?

By romancing your clients and walking them through the steps of the short story, it will leave them feeling all warm and fuzzy. With butterflies in their stomachs and stars in their eyes, your final design will be received as the showstopper that it is, leaving the client to sing your praises as the hero of the show.

What fairy tale journeys have you taken with your clients lately? Share your thoughts with us via @IntrinzicSays on Twitter.