Have you ever taken a meeting with a client to discuss strategy for designing their new packaging only to run into a wall of indecision? Did you walk away wondering what just happened? Did you notice that your notepad was filled with doodles and scribbles that made no sense?
Last week I was in one such meeting. I had no idea that I was heading into one but my boss and I were able to turn what could have been a non-productive session into a fruitful experience. As we sensed that things were going into that strange vortex of indecision we simply stopped the meeting and started asking pertinent questions. It was obvious that the client had specific wants and needs and it was our job to pull the information out in order to make sense of it all. Our plan was simple and direct. We asked for the needs of the client, the retailer and the consumer in regards to the packaging. Once this was answered, we found the clearer path to follow in order to get to the solution. Now we also had to ask about product lines, SKU’s, launch dates and budgets, but understanding the wants and needs of those involved made the whole process easier. And as soon as the client explained those needs to us, we saw a visible sign of relief. It was as if an irritating sliver had been removed.
This simple question is something we developed over time and it has become an invaluable tool in our process for achieving both award-winning designs and ones that move the profit line upward for our clients. The hardest part in all of this is understanding what questions to ask and when to ask them. Give me this, give me that and give me the other thing really doesn’t work out so well.