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When we start from within: the sky’s the limit when it comes to cleverness

The most exciting, spectacular, and suffering-laden area of business development programmes is brand-building, product concept development, and, most of all, the closely related design work that represents the strategic work in operational terms. This is the area where the client usually becomes a self-aware and self-appointed marketing, brand, and conceptual expert. A logo, a slogan, a message, a colour scheme, and a shape are all elements of business development that business developers are reluctant to execute, but must do so in order to succeed.

The “smart” decision-maker

The best business developers are reluctant to do this, and in some ways, this is the luck of the creative agency, because it lands them with the very rare exception, and then they start to develop the creative background to meet the client’s needs. After all, it’s important that the client is satisfied, isn’t it? Well, business development thinks otherwise. It’s often said that if the company is doing well, generating a lot of revenue and not struggling profitably, then the marketing activity can’t be that bad. And, of course, the opposite is also true. If the company’s indicators are bad, it cannot be said that there has been serious and good marketing work. Well, that is why there is a serious responsibility in business development for the professionals to hit the customer at this point. Although a customer relationship can be blamed for this, the responsibility is still there. If, in marketing materials, the customer’s will and expectations prevail over those of the product’s target group, then the product is doomed to fail in the long run. And it may be possible to pretend for years that things are going well, but the end result is inevitable. It is also observed that the smaller the organisation, the more serious and personal this struggle becomes. You could say it becomes personal, which does not bode well for a partnership. If, for example, the owner is the decision-maker in the company, a well-designed logo can interfere with his or her dream world. Moreover, the owner is alone, so he always calls on the help of another person who is not so well versed in the business, and in this case, it is up to the character of the ‘expert’ to be clever. But experience shows that the sky is the limit in this respect. A partner who is not working, or a child who has been studying marketing for at least two years, or in many cases a group of friends who are “one and the same”. And there you have it, full proof of the typeface, colours, name and shape you need to come up with to make your product successful.

The price of selfishness

There will be some readers who, reading these lines, will say that it is pointless to talk about this, because once you have entrusted a professional with this task, you only have to make sure that there is a logical explanation behind the work done. Even if it is a marketing piece. After all, if it is really consciously and fully planned, then there is a clear answer to everything. Although in many cases – and unfortunately still in most places – creative work is designed to be beautiful. At least by the standards of the person who is designing it. And since it is his own creation, any comment is a personal attack. The principle, which I take from myself, has serious parallels with a very important and not necessarily sympathetic human trait, selfishness. It is clear that the more selfish someone is, the more he or she tends to imagine marketing as he or she likes it. In addition, selfish characters are usually very creative, so they believe themselves to be marketing as a career at home. And this is where they can be very wrong. Creativity, while an essential quality for building a good business, is more damaging than it is useful if it is self-serving. Real business requires systematic, conscious research. Even at the start-up stage, this is the recommended approach to the market – if this segment did this, at least 9 out of every 10 attempts would not die – but for an existing company, it is essential not just to be creative, but to develop aesthetic marketing materials based on sound facts and market information, and especially target group analysis. We have to accept that the target group of our product and ourselves are far apart in our thinking. We have to decide whether we have developed our product for its own sake or whether we want to sell it. How big a business do we want to build from it? And if we have decided to make as big a business as we can, then our thoughts must take a back seat, and the reins must be taken over by the potential customers of our product, their emotions, their decision-making mechanisms. It’s very instructive, by the way, that if you have to develop the business of a selfish character, there is always a change of company name, a change of logo, a change of message, and I could list the elements where reinterpretation is necessary for success. And it can also be said that in successful business development, the business developer is able to convince the partner that, however painful and however near and dear the company name or logo might be, they are impeding the company’s success the sake of themselves. Of course, these are always difficult and painful processes.