Just Say No

What do you do when the client is wrong? This is an age-old question because it’s subjective. Some say to stand your ground, while others say to just appease them because they’re paying the bills. I honestly don’t have the answer. I wish I did. I think I fall somewhere in the middle. If I know the client really well, I’ll probably have no issue letting them know that I think they’re heading in the wrong direction. But if I don’t know them… I’m embarrassed to admit that I really don’t know how to handle it.

It’s a scary place to be because yes, they do pay the bills. But if we really disagree with the direction or whatever the client is saying, do we risk looking like amateurs when the campaign fails? Is it our job to actually make the client see it our way, or just try to make them see it our way?

Should there be a disclaimer at the beginning of a client contract that states something to the effect of: Our job is to do what you hired us for?

Over the years, I’ve run into a few agencies that have a similar deal, where they allow input, but they make it known upfront pretty clearly that in case of a disagreement, the agency wins or goes home.

I’m not sure what approach I like. I understand that as an agency, we have to have some boundaries. I mean, seriously, what’s the point of hiring us if you’re not going to follow our advice right? But I also see the clients’ side, where they feel like they know the best representation of their brand and want us to follow their lead.

But what happens when you have a client that you just can’t please? Not because you’re doing a bad job, but because they won’t allow you to do your job? Do you cut your losses and walk away, or do you continue to get paid for work you know isn’t going to do diddly for the client? I tend to fall in the cut your losses category based on nothing more than integrity and ego. I mean, I really don’t want to be associated with garbage, and if I feel like if I’m being told to produce it, I should have the ability to say no thanks. I also don’t think it’s fair to the client if we just follow their plan and don’t make it painfully obvious why they hired us to begin with. Was it just to produce their ideas? Ok, that’s a different story. But if the overall goal is to build a brand, increase clients; bring more customers to a store… whatever,
Do we not owe everyone a bit of honesty? If we’re honest and we lose the account, is it really a bad thing?  NOPE...