Friday, October 18, 2013

4 Times The Customer Isn't Always Right

We've all heard the saying "The Customer Is Always Right..." and in most cases, we really do try to follow that at RHD. After all, we are consumers too, and we like to be treated with respect and courtesy just as much as the next person. But sometimes, admit it, we've all be in the situations where sometimes, the customer isn't always right.

Face it, graphic designers, advertising professionals, and many marketing experts are snobs. We know what works and what doesn't. We know how things are usually done yet we are always looking for ways to do something differently or better. So when a customer goes against what we recommend, it's hard.

Now let me back up by saying, never once in my entire career have I ever had like a knock down drag out with a client over something that they wanted, and we didn't recommend. Most of the time, if there is something we disagree on, we respectfully tell them what we don't recommend, and why, and then go from there. If it comes to be a big issue, we usually go with what the customer wants and simply don't put our logo on the ad or project, or don't really advertise that we did that project.

(Any of our customers who are thinking right now...wait...there's no RHD logo at the bottom of my print ad...don't get worried!. Honestly we have done so many print ads sometimes we just simply forget to put it on there. Don't freak out.)

So here are some of the top things we tend to have to disagree with our "customer is always right" rule, and why.

1. USE OF ALL CAPS. Unless you are Cindy Cagwin. Then you can all-caps it all day long, because you're Cindy Cagwin and you're the bomb. The reason we tend to avoid ALL CAPS is because that is viewed as YELLING AT THE READER. It's also kinda viewed as spammy. So avoid all caps. And we get pretty firm about this.

2. Use of Crappy or Over-Used Fonts. It never fails, one designer finds a really cool new font, then within 3 months every other designer on the planet is using it. In 2007 it was Bleeding Cowboys. Honestly I'm pretty sure Stephanie Steck first found this, and used it in the August Show Circuit for one of her clients. By the Fall Sires edition, every ad in there was using Bleeding Cowboys. Then it was Myriad Pro, a simple but totally awesome font. Now it's the LHF fonts. Everyone has them. So, we just tend to avoid those at all. Or wait 5 years til people are over that font, then re-introduce it again. And our cardinal rule. We will NEVER, ABSOLUTELY NEVER, use Comic Sans :)

3. Copyright infringement or other ethical concerns. This is another one we are really firm on, and through the years, has cost us some clients. Usually this occurs during bull promotion season when someone has a bull named after a popular brand, entertainer, or movie. They come to us and say...I named by bull after (INSERT CURRENT BLOCKBUSTER MOVIE NAME HERE) and I want his bull banner to look just like the movie poster. Yeah, not gonna happen with us. Unless things are done above the board and done correctly. For example, years ago we did a promotion for a bull named Bazooka Joe. We had to go through that firm's legal department to get clearance. Same for when we originally promoted Monopoly. We had to get a written sign-off from Hasbro, and if you notice in some of the early ads there was a disclaimer that Monopoly was a registered trademark of Hasbro.

4. Unrealistic Demands. On a few rare occassions, we have clients who are so creative that they are actually more creative than what we are. And in these cases, we just have to honesty say "We can't do that". For example, one time I had a client tell me that they wanted to use an ad background that had a father and son walking in a pasture, with a barn with a Texas flag painted on the side, with the father pointing to a black baldy calf, and the son looking up at the dad wearing a (RANCH NAME) baseball cap, and the daughter doing a cartwheel in the grassy bluebonnets next to the calf. Okay the cartwheel part I made up. But I was like...."Okay are we going to stage this photo shoot?" and the client said..."No, can't you find a stock photo like that?" Ummmm, sure. There are tons of stock photos out there of little kids wearing baseball caps with your ranch name on it that I can find online. And no I'm not that good at Photoshop. So, sometimes, we just have to say...that's beyond our capabilities.

Of course, other than these 4 areas I mentioned above....we definitely feel that the customer is always right :) And we work our tails off to do everything possible to make sure that each and every customer knows that at the end of the day...we work for you, and thus, you're always right! 

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