Businesses are Essentially Problem Solvers for their Clients


The Story:

A client that we are building a marketing campaign for sends an email to me and my director that says:


Please call me right away. The entire rebranding is way off track and every printed piece is different than what I had in mind!

Sorry for the bad news-
The Client
This kind of email kicks up the adrenaline, a little fight or flight. After 2 or 3 re-reads I start to wonder where things went so wrong. I thought we were doing great. How could I be so clueless to their feelings?

During the dreaded 7 digit dial, I quickly brainstormed what could have caused the meltdown. I had absolutely no clue.

It can’t be lack of their expectations. They had approved everything that we printed!

Did we hit their previous deadlines? They sent us emails complimenting us on our timeliness.

Were they happy with the artwork? They were telling others how great everything looked.

I covered all potential issues with the client and after a 20 minute conversation, it all came down to one problem.

Wrong paper.

That’s right. We printed on the wrong paper. Not on thin cheap paper when it was supposed to be thick expensive paper, but the wrong white. The client asked for ivory snow white paper and we printed on tusk snow white paper.

Now granted, the mistake seems small and the client’s email seems extreme. But that’s missing the point.

In the clients mind, all the printed pieces were “different than expected.” If they feel like they can’t use their new stationary then everything is “way off track.” I was just relieved it was an easy fix.

The Take Away:

If we own or work in a business, we are problem solvers. We might perform like artists, engineers, bricklayers, etc. But ultimately, if we consistently try to find our clients problems and solve them, everyone will succeed more. Often times the client won’t even be able to vocalize the true problem and it’s our job to drill down, figure it out, and then solve it.

  • No one wants a gallon of paint; they want a colorful room that feels good.
  • No one wants a motorcycle; they want memories of cool October air on a Saturday afternoon.
  • No one wants boards from the lumber store; they want to grill-out on the deck.
  • No one wants “ivory” white, they want a vision fulfilled.