How do you persuade your client to use research in the most effective fashion?

01.31.2010 / Question submitted by: Ruth Galloway & Glenn Kiernan

Author: Ruth Galloway & Glenn Kiernan 2 replies. Share yours.

Creative Process Discussion


Clients are often the best sources of information about their own organizations—they know their products, mission, and offerings inside and out. But with that familiarity often comes a kind of tunnel vision that limits their perspective. We try to combine the best of our clients’ expertise with our own fresh, “informed outsider” viewpoints. To help build a foundation for good concepts, we can provide clients with customer profiles and schema, trend forecasts, and basic field observations. These are a far cry from the traditional focus group methods, and aren’t used to support already-existing design directions, but to provide a transparent framework clients can see—why we want to focus their communication in certain areas. Usually the biggest barrier to good basic design research isn’t budgets—many of these methods can be done inexpensively. Short, rigid timelines and a “have it done yesterday” mentality are more likely to keep clients from seeing the value in this sort of analysis.

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  1. Steve Zelle

    The key is to get my clients to see the value in research (some just want me to start drawing) and then have trust me to use it to shape the solution.
    How to do this varies between clients but there is usually a moment during the discovery phase where something about the clients company comes to light. Not for me, but for themselves. Gaps in thinking and issues they have brushed under the rug are uncovered. My clients begin to see value in the research. The process builds trust by proving its value and ensures I gain the influence necessary to guide the project.

How do you persuade your client to use research in the most effective fashion?