Whether you print for the opening of a new company or a family reunion, behind every print lies a meticulously crafted design process. Before hitting the press, you need to guide your customer in coming up with ideas - as some might not have the faintest clue of what the end product should look like. Today, we talk to Marian Hinebauch of Logo Droppers, who walks us through some of her instinctively developed best practices in guiding customers through their brainstorming journey.
The first step
When customers only have a vague idea of what they want to print, Marian invites them to discuss their wishes and get a good understanding of their goals. Marian excitingly explains: “We try to meet one-on-one with the client - instead of email and over the phone. Because when I’m in front of the client, I have a bunch of samples at my shop that I can bring out and show them.”
Creating a lasting logo
When there’s no logo established yet, you should spend some time getting to know the customer and help them along the way. Marian: “The biggest thing, and a lot of people don't do it, is to just ask questions!” Once you get to know your customers better, you will find out what elements they find important to see reflected in their logo. To get the most out of this initial brainstorm session, you can ask your customers to bring in some nice examples of certain logos and branding they like. Marian recounts how she recently helped the owner of a team company: “She brought along a couple of slogans she liked that had caught her attention over the years. Not to use in her design, but just to let us know what she liked. Based on those, the graphics department is now putting together different designs for her. The few we’ve done so far she really likes!”
Benefits of a joint brainstorm process
Being part of the brainstorming process comes with various long-term benefits. Marian shares: “Customers look at you for guidance and once you come up with something they really like, it’s hard to lose that customer. The accountability for reorders is huge!” Aside from creating a loyal customer base, Marian has also found success in up-selling. Marian: “There's a small restaurant in Dallas where everyone comments on the logo on their staff shirts. When we suggested to them that they could sell their own t-shirts, they told us they didn’t have any retail space. My brother went in and found a corner in the restaurant and measured what size shelf to get. Now they sell t-shirts and make some good money from it, whilst doing absolutely nothing!”
Staying creatively inspired
If you want to be one step ahead at all times, you have to purposefully push yourself to stay innovative and inspired. Instead of spending time flipping through catalogs, there are a few sharper ways you can tackle this. Marian suggests: “I meet with graphics on a regular basis and ask them for ideas.” Marian also seeks the right outside sources: “I try to get as much information and samples out of my sales reps as I can. I personally feel like you can learn something from everybody 一 they're the experts in apparel. How can I not learn from them?”
Putting the customer first in moderation
Guiding customers through their brainstorming process is a rewarding experience. However, you need to be careful in attaining the right balance in how you manage your time, whilst still delivering the best product and service. Marian has learned to rely on her instincts: “I can get a pretty good feel for people. I know if I’m going to spend five minutes or an hour with someone. I try to qualify them as much as I can upfront, and get as much information as I can to know if there are any opportunities. I’m not going to spend an hour with someone who’s only going to buy 10 t-shirts!” Again, another reason why questions are oh-so-important.
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