Are you really being ‘collaborative’?


Most design agencies claim to be collaborative. In fact, it is one of the most used words on agency websites. As an industry we have now grown so familiar with the notion of collaboration that perhaps we’ve ceased to question what it really means in practice. Perhaps the ‘collaborative’ word trips off the tongue a .. >>

What it really takes to be a 'brand custodian'


Many design consultancies like to see themselves as their client’s ‘brand custodian’, ‘brand guardian’ or ‘lead agency’. Such phrases certainly sound impressive but do they always stand up to examination? As one client said to me recently, ‘When you have eight agencies working on the brand, they can’t all b.. >>

What your clients really think of you


A new piece of research has revealed that most clients find it difficult to differentiate between consultancies and would not expect to pay for a creative pitch. Research group Up To The Light has worked with design consultancies, which have in turn conducted 435 interviews with design buyers. It has reveal.. >>

Do you conform to these designer stereotypes?


A survey carried out by business consultancy Up to the Light and supported by the Design Business Association has revealed four of the most common stereotypes clients hold about designers. These are – in no particular order: The consultancy is based in a “London Ivory Tower”. This is a consultancy that never leav.. >>

Five things clients hate about you


New research has revealed the ‘top five client complaints’ about design consultancies. The survey was carried out by business consultancy Up to the Light and supported by the Design Business Association. It is based on 400 interviews conducted throughout 2013 with clients on behalf of design consul.. >>

Five questions to ask your clients


Up to the Light founder Jonathan Kirk looks at five questions consultancies can ask their clients to improve their relationship. Most consultancies ask lots of questions about the client’s business and the particular project they are addressing. However, they tend to ask far fewer questions about how the.. >>

5 questions to ask your clients


To find out what clients really think of your agency, as opposed to what you’d like them to think, requires you to ask some brave and searching questions. Understandably, most of us prefer compliments to criticism but where your business is concerned it is imperative to understand how you are really perce.. >>

How to be proactive with clients


Not content with their consultancy answering the brief, delivering on time and on budget and generally doing a great job, clients seem to want even more. They call it ‘proactivity’. Of course, agencies have to make a judgement about what type of proactivity is a justified investment and when it goes bey.. >>

‘If you could give the consultancy one piece of advice, what would it be?’


Business development expert Jonathan Kirk has conducted hundreds of client interviews on behalf of design consultancies. In this guest blog, he tells us what happens when he asks the question, ‘If you could give the consultancy one piece of advice, what would it be?’ Paul Arden said, ‘Do not.. >>

Dazzle don’t dip


I interview hundreds of clients on behalf of agencies, either to monitor the health of existing relationships or to ascertain why an agency lost a pitch. These interviews are a treasure trove of useful advice so I’ve condensed some of this material into key points. Developing Clients 1. Ask for business .. >>

Looking for long and happy relationships


What to do to stop your hard won clients from straying from you? Jonathan Kirk grapples with the tricky matter of retaining loyalty. Never assume that your best clients are fully appreciative of your efforts and a safe bet for another year. In the current environment your lunch is never safe. The biggest consu.. >>