Some people like to throw a lot of ideas at a client, while others like to hone their ideas down to one or two -- presenting only the best. But how often do we ask "when are too many ideas too much for a client"?
Russell Davies points out that perhaps we should be happy with our strategies, show faith in our approaches and show only the gold. This is based on a simple question -- are you obtaining maximum value or are you hitting on a good approach and then committing to it? The former tends to show many options, yet always leaving clients unsatisfied, whereas the latter tends to generate stronger support with higher levels of commitment. Personally I like the settle on a good strategy approach (ie go for strategy happiness rather than strategy genius) and then go for it in implementation.
The challenge, of course, is client expectations -- and we all know how difficult they can be to manage. What happens if your client expects to see 100 ideas? How do you talk them down? Can you put forward your two favourite ideas and a third weaker one -- and if so, what happens when the client chooses "badly"?
Russell in turn points us to this great post by the Noisy Decent Graphics guy. I like the way he sums it up:
We have an internal rule to never present more than 3 ideas to a client. Any more than that is confusing. Any more than that and you haven't read the brief properly. You certainly haven't answered the brief properly. So, we say never present more than 3. But I can't remember the last time we showed a client 3 ideas. Usually it's 2 and more often than not it's just 1.
It makes me think ... the problem is not in creativity or ideation, but in implementation. We have plenty of ideas but how often do we get caught up in that world, rather than rapidly implementing, learning and improving?
Title: With thanks to the Spell with Flickr words folks.