And we’re not just talking about our team (though of course, that’s a large part of it). It may sound strange from a business that undoubtedly relies on sales, but we don’t value income over the type of work that we produce – and the type of client that we produce it for.
In fact, taking on a new client or project is typically a reasoned and balanced decision, which only happens when we truly believe that we’re a good fit. To get to the bottom of this, we use Martin Nixon’s much-loved five-question guide to qualifying the ideal client.
1. Do they believe in what we do?
If a client doesn’t believe in our work, our processes, and (fundamentally) in us, they’re never going to value the end result. And if they don’t see the value of creativity, and have faith in the creative process, they’ll always be underwhelmed; which definitely isn’t our desired outcome. On the other hand, when a client truly “gets” creativity, and trusts us as an agency, the whole process becomes a rewarding journey.
2. Do we believe in what they do?
For us, this is almost as important as the first point. If we as a team don’t believe in your business or brand, we’ll never be able to put our all into the creative process. We work with clients that interest, excite and inspire us; people who are doing something great. In that way, we’re always happy to shout about our work (and theirs), and can support a client 100% in what they do.
3. Are they great people to work with?
Who doesn’t want to work with lovely people? Team culture is hugely important within Nixon itself, and we also extend this to the clients we work with. It’s a mark of respect to our talented staff, and it means that we can create collaborative partnerships with our clients, based on mutual understanding and a shared outlook.
4. Do they have the resources to invest in our work?
Budget certainly isn’t everything, but there’s no denying that it’s important if you’re looking for a meaningful outcome. We’ll never shy away from having conversations about money, because we know that what you’re able to invest in the creative process makes a big difference to what you’re able to get out of it. We’re a specialist agency with a team of diverse skillsets, which means that our overheads and rates are higher than a solo operation – but the benefits are commensurately greater.
5. Is there the potential to build a long-term relationship?
We flatter ourselves that we’re keenly able to interrogate a new brief, and can ask the right questions to get to the heart of a company and its people. However, there’s a deep and almost intuitive level of understanding that comes from building a long-term relationship with a client.
Over years together, we get to know, live and breathe a brand, with a strong sense of what works, what fits, and when (and how) we can push creative boundaries to achieve even better results. It’s for this reason that we’re so proud of our history with clients such as Tresco Island, Latitude50, Luxury Family Hotels and The Lost Gardens of Heligan (to name just a few). For us, long-term relationships are often the key to long-term success.
What are your criteria?
These are ours, but how about yours? This principle could (and arguably should) apply to all businesses; so it’s worth taking some time to consider what your own criteria looks like, when it comes to building great working relationships.