Co creation: Why You Should Work Closer with Your Client
We don't have to tell you that every client is different. While one might prefer to outsource the entire project from ideation to completion, another might want to be far more involved. One client might be tech savvy and have lots of suggestions, while another might deliver the content and let you do the rest. In the end, you both have the same goal: A successful end product.
Understand what your clients really want
When a client comes to you for help, they often expect you to know exactly what it is they want — even if they're not clear on it themselves. Perhaps that's why Steve Jobs said, "Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it." And he's right. You need to get inside your customer's head and figure out what they really want, even if they can't quite express it.
Keep your clients engaged with their projects
Don't be reluctant to give some clients a bit more influence over the creation process. Let them access your tool(s) so they can think along with you and tweak things. A client that participates in the creation process will be happier with the end result… And it's the end result that determines the success of a project. Keep in mind that a satisfied customer is more likely to come back for more.
Co-creation has many advantages. I'll mention four of the most important:
By giving your client access to the tool(s) you're working with, they will be able to see exactly what's being worked on and what the status is. You will literally be on the same page, making it easier for you to exceed expectations and avoid potential misunderstandings.
Being on the same page means co-creation removes the need for repetitive rounds of editing and revision. In other words, co-creation speeds up the pace. Does your client want a small textual change or a different image. Why not just have them do it?
If you can keep your focus on the creative design work while your customer does the minor revisions, you'll likely be a happier and generally more agreeable person. Spending time on minor corrections tends not to be the most exciting job for a designer.
#3 Together you know more
Even though you know your client well, you'll never have as in-depth of an understanding regarding all the ins and outs of their business. That's why it is always important to keep the right people on the client side in the loop during the creation process. Two minds are better than one!
#4 Repeat business
I already mentioned that a satisfied customer is more likely to come back and work with you again. Content like web publications are often periodic and recurring. Newsletters, staff magazines or customer magazines will almost always have next editions. And that's good for you because it means recurring opportunity for work.
Of course, the design and layout of the magazine is not the only service you can offer. You might think about content creation, photography and video as well. Many customers also need help with the distribution and analysis of publications. So keep the the bigger picture in mind: a long-term relationship with many more opportunities down the road!
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