How a streamlined briefing process can help you work with premium clients

Working with premium clients is probably the ultimate goal of every designer or agency. But finding and keeping them is easier said than done. Let’s see what you can do to turn your clients into premium clients and how (believe it or not) a creative briefing can help you.

First of all let’s quickly define what is a premium client. A premium client is not only a client that pays you what you deserve. It’s also a client that makes you feel valued and understand that great design doesn’t happen overnight but it’s a process that takes time, understanding and a lot of thinking before execution. 

We know that it sounds like a unicorn client but they exist and they are willing to work with creatives that can meet their expectations. It’s time to find them.

The current situation with design jobs

We could talk for hours about the reality designers are facing every day but that’s not the goal of this article. However it’s important to mention some red flags that will help you identify the type of clients you currently have and the ones you could get if you streamline your process and understand the benefits of creative briefings. 

Low paying jobs

By far the number 1 complaint designers have. There are a lot of reasons for this but probably the biggest one are the marketplaces for design jobs. They encourage fierce competition among designers where the only thing that matters is price. Forcing you to be always on the look for new (and similar) clients. 

Clients don’t trust you 

A clear sign that a client is not trusting you is when they tell you what to do. “Make the logo bigger”, “use a different color”, etc… They just want to get the job done quickly and you end up feeling like an order taker, a totally unmotivated one.

No professional growth

Growing is essential for professionals in every profession. The feeling that you are making progress, learning and gradually reaching your goals is incredibly rewarding and pushes you to keep growing. If you are not feeling that, you need to reconsider things. 

These are some of the red flags we identified throughout our own careers and after talking to many designers and creatives out there. These red flags result in a profession that is deeply devalued, where people (including current and potential clients) see design services as a commodity. A “my cousin has Photoshop so he can do it” situation. But no worries, you can move away from this.

Becoming more valuable for your clients

We mentioned before that having a streamlined briefing process can help you land better, premium clients. On the surface it might seem hard to see the connection between a good briefing and a better client, but you need to know that

the quality of the creative briefing is directly proportional to the quality of the clients you can get.

This is why:

A good briefing is a conversation starter

Every good relationship starts with a conversation. Asking the right questions is the best way to start building a partnership. When a client sees you digging deeper into their business, they start looking at you in a different way. You are not an order taker anymore, you are here to help them.

A good briefing helps you save time in endless feedback loops

You present the work to your client and after a long pause they tell you that this is not what they expected and you need to start over again... Sounds familiar, right? You can avoid this by setting clear goals and defining the project during the briefing phase so you can avoid misunderstandings and unpleasant pivots later on. 

A good briefing solves problems

If you have a problem of any kind, the first thing you should do is invest time in understanding it. Without a brief and by jumping straight into the design phase you will inevitably get stuck in the endless feedback loop we just mentioned. A good creative brief will give you all the information you need to understand the project, the client and the context so that you can come up with solutions that solve that problem, making your work more effective and valuable. 

A good briefing helps build long-lasting relationships

By starting a conversation with a good briefing and solving your client’s problem through deeper understanding, you might just get yourself your first long-lasting relationship. This is a client that is happy with the professional work you deliver and will be comfortable paying higher rates for your work. 

A good briefing saves you time looking for new jobs

After a long-lasting relationship is born, it is going to be way easier to get new clients through existing ones. Referrals are highly effective when it comes to working with new clients. And the fact that you are recommended means that you are in a better position to negotiate your rates. All this is thanks to a solid briefing process. Who would have thought, right?  

We can go on with the list forever. There are so many reasons creative briefings are essential for any design project. But the bottom line is that

as soon as you start implementing a streamlined briefing process, you won’t only be thinking about creative solutions but strategic solutions as well.

And this is the key difference between working with premium clients and… well, the rest. 

We've been struggling and having the same problems for years. That's why we created HolaBrief, because we needed a tool that helps us create briefings that get to the heart of the problem.