What I Learned About Branding When I Visited my Granny
Ok y'all, so let me tell y'all about my recent trip to my granny's house. I try to make a point to visit my granny at least once a week (if not twice) just to check on her, see if she needs anything, wash her hair, stuff like that as she's 82 and her health isn't what it once was. Then she raised me and I feel forever indebted to her (my mom and her "fuss" over whose Jenny I am, LOL). These visits will consist of getting the latest neighborhood "tea", possibly a hearty snack (like rutabagas or turkey necks with rice) and indulging in my granny's daytime routine, watching judge shows on TV. Welp, on this day, I arrived JUST in time to catch a case about a web designer suing a restaurant owner for the unpaid amount for a website. Chile...my ears perked up like they had just announced a new episode of "Power!" The defendant was countersuing the web designer for his deposit paid. My first thought was, "what in the world could have possibly caused the DESIGNER to end up in court over a web design?"
A contract shows that you are a professional and speaks to the overall client experience.
So here's what went down.
The plaintiff said that he met the defendant on Craigslist. Now, I'm not saying you can't find a reputable web designer on Craig's List nor am I saying that you can't bring in good business on Craigslist. What I am saying is that if you are not branding your business WHEREVER you market your services, you are going to attract the wrong clientele. According to the plaintiff, the initial meeting went well. He showed the defendant his past work and told him what the estimated cost would be for the website design as well as the deposit amount. The defendant paid a deposit and the plaintiff went home and worked for 12 hours on the design of the website and later presented it to his client. Let's press pause, shall we? Notice I didn't mention anything about a contract. Not only would a contract have helped the judges understand the scope of the work, the expectations of the client, and the responsibility of the designer, giving the plaintiff a better ground to stand on in his case, those exact same things would have been presented to the defendant, putting him in a better position to understand how the process was supposed to go, therefore making a better client experience WHICH speaks to the designer's brand.
Ok, so the plaintiff didn't have a contract. He presented the design to the defendant and the defendant had changes he wanted to be made, as the website that was presented wasn't the design he had in mind. Y'all...tell me why the designer got mad with the client?! Got all irate and sent some less than professional text messages. Threatened to report the defendant as a bad buyer on Craigslist and cursed the man too! I'm sitting here thinking, "this all could have been avoided if the designer had provided a better client experience by outlining what his responsibility was as the design, what was to be expected of the client, and what was included in the package in a contract. You see, your brand is about the feeling people get when they work with you and Mr. Plaintiff didn't provide a great feeling to Mr. Defendant. Even if the client wasn't pleased with the website design, with good communication (ie, the designer explaining why he chose the layout and how it could benefit the client which would leverage him as an expert and possibly change the mind of the client), the situation could have been resolved. Unfortunately, Mr. Plaintiff spent a lot of hours working on a website he only got paid 1/2 the cost for and Mr. Defendant paid someone else to redesign his website.
Have you ever had a situation with a customer that was less than dreamy OR are you constantly getting clients that make you question why you're even in business? It could be that your brand message is speaking the wrong language. Before you spend your money with a designer of any kind KNOW your brand.