When we're working with clients, as much as we possibly can, we actually try and become an extension of their team.
How we try and operate is something that we call the 'inside-outside' model so we'll come and spend time with you, understand the problem as best we can, work together to get all of your insight, build upon your thinking, and then go away to another destination; might be a different room, might be a different city, might be back to our studio, and just actually sit down and, not quite pull the 'cynical hat' back on, but be realists with one another. Get out of the 'four walls' of the the brand, and actually sit down together and go, 'right, out of all those things we heard, what's actually the most relevant?' Let's test that against our consumer mindset, and thinking about how this problem is actually going to be dealt with.
I actually think that's how you break down the barriers of 'us and them' and agency, and all of that sort of stuff, and co-collaboration. Actually investing human time with one another, and you become more familiar. I think as an agency, at times you have to hold your tongue, or there's a broader narrative, you don't really know what the agenda is. And I think, the more time you spend with someone, maybe even virtually this works as well, those barriers come down, and you have the ability to be a little bit more honest.
I think that's it for me, if we can't be open and honest about the problems that your business is having, and what we're trying to overcome with this branding solution, what we're trying to achieve, then it's a pointless exercise. For us, building those relationships very early on allows us to be more frank, more honest, more open, more collaborative later on, because you have that footing, that grounding.
It stops it becoming 'who's that person who I've never met, telling me about my brand, and what I should do?' to 'oh yeah, that's Dave from Koto' or 'that's Michelle from Koto, and they're gonna help me on my journey. We've got rapport together, and I'm actually really interested in what they've got to say.'