Posted on May 26, 2014
When I first became aware of how transparency would impact and change the way the industry – of which I had been a part of for almost three decades – works and will work in the future, I was excited, very curious and a little bit scared.
With the availability of a search engine to the world’s knowledge (Google Search) and a video library to the how-to on anything (YouTube), we must assume that business professionals are perfectly aware what services are available, their average hourly cost of compensation, and the local, national and international resources that provide these services.
To my opinion, binding a client to your company via retainer is neither feasible nor fair, as it just restates a premise that should already be a given: To warrant access to your services in a realistic time frame and an agreed-upon cost or fee structure. A respectful client and a trusted-advisor relationship do not need exit clauses nor the half-hearted promise of performance and delivery. They rely on courtesy, ability and transparency.
I had a conversation with Dr. Thomas Frey of the DaVinci Institute last Fall, and he confirmed the downfall of the brick & mortar establishments of my trade. The focus on skill-based project work, with documented time- and value-based billing, online access to invoices and estimates, and convenient pay options that make compensation a great experience rather than a tedious chore – all this is part of a new, flexible and transparent way to do business.
The direction is set, the business license has just been renewed, the first anniversary of Made in Germany is approaching – and I invite my past, current and future clients to experience transparency as the direct measure of accountability in marketing and creative strategy.