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Brand Answers

Education, ideas, tips and random thoughts to help business owners and brand managers produce more effective brand and communications campaigns.


We spend a lot of time at Barthelmes Brand thinking of ways to make brand mangers happy. After all, they are one of our most important client segments. To that end, we’ve compiled a quick list that any creative practitioner can adopt to make their client’s job a little easier.

1. Anticipate problems

This is all about stepping back and looking out across the life of the project. How will the end project be used? Is it for a printed application? Digital? Both? Are you producing trade-show displays but have photos too low in resolution to look good? Taking a moment to look beyond the first presentation can uncover some gaps in the plan and help avert trouble down the line. Show your value and experience by going beyond verbatim directions and take the extra steps to do the job right. Problem averted—client happy.

2. Deliver on time

The best work in the world will get failing marks if it doesn’t come in on schedule. Whoever said “Ninety percent of success is just showing up” had it right. Do what you say you’re going to do. But remember, you’re doing no one any favors by agreeing to an impossible deadline. Use your experience to know how long something will take (to do it right) and if it can’t be done in the allotted time…say so. Reset your client’s expectations and avoid setting yourself up for failure.

3. Provide good records of hours and billings

Accountability is very  important in the world of managing projects and people. It’s a brand manager’s pleasure when they can sleep easy knowing that their projects will be well documented and on-budget. And that any overages are well documented and discussed beforehand.

4. Provide flawless execution of graphic

There are creative minds that provide wonderful ideas but can’t execute the technical details required for vendor production. And, there are designers who provide technically perfect files that are — quite simply — boring. Brand Managers require both creativity and technical know-how in order for them to “feel-the-love.” If your files crash and burn when they hit the printer or publication—that will be the last thing your client remembers about you.

5. Think big

Brand managers are busy people and sometimes (OK—often) bigger thinking gets short-changed. Give them more. Make it better. Throw out a couple what ifs? Lend them your big brain to offer some outside the box thinking. Most times these new ideas will not survive, but your thinking WILL be appreciated and may lead to other opportunities down the road.

These are all simple actions, but the big takeaway is that you can increase your value simply by looking at your assignment from your client’s point-of-view. Now go and make’em smile.


Chip Barthelmes is Principal and Creative Director at Barthelmes Brand; a Columbus, Ohio based brand and design micro agency.


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Barthelmes Brand

A Branding + Design Micro Agency

Columbus, Ohio

Phone: 614-354-8340



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