Creative Agency Issues: What to Do When You Disagree With a Client

Being in the creative industry, it is quite common for an agency creative to disagree with their clients’ creative direction on a project or job. Design and the criteria of what constitutes good aesthetics can be subjective and not everyone will see eye-to-eye with you on the angle you may be taking – and that’s fine.

How many times have you worked on a client’s creative brief, or submitted an estimate or proposal, only to have your client go against your direction or advice? If this has occurred at least once, then read on.

Start Off on the Right Foot

It’s not an easy thing to disagree with a client. However, it is in fact healthy to disagree with a client provided you have valid reasons as to why your ideas may benefit their goals; versus the direction they have chosen.

By reviewing the requirements of a Project or Job, together with the client, this should lead to any concerns being addressed, along with an action plan that will see your work headed in the right direction. It’s important to ask your client the right questions at the beginning in order to obtain the answers you need to ensure a successful outcome, to understand their logic and address any underlying disparities.

In most cases, clients can be very appreciative when you share your experience and speak up about a problem to which you may have the right solution. Providing your client with multiple options or drafts can often validate your point of view and entice them to consider your approach. After all, your client has come to you for your services, so it’s up to you and your team to deliver the goods. Being assertive and confident in you delivery and expertise will only enhance your credibility.

Take the Right Approach to Communication

Ultimately, what it comes down to is how situations such as these, are handled. Always remember to be respectful of your client, their needs and concerns when tackling any resistance or roadblocks. If approached in the right manner, situations such as these can be diffused via the means of effective communication and being transparent about your direction. It is often constructive to engage in meaningful discussions about the end objective and the steps required to get to arrive to your mutually desired outcome.

The important message here is: confidence and communication is key.

Chris Wilson

Founder & CEO

Chris started Function Point over 20 years ago in his basement as a way to help professional service agencies run their businesses more efficiently. Since then he’s grown FP into an international success, working with over 600 agencies from around the world and continues to run the company from the head office in Vancouver, Canada.

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