November 28th, 2012 | Comment
You’ve no doubt heard of the Kübler-Ross model, although you may not know it by name. It’s that five-stages-of-grief idea, meant to describe how people come to grips with illness, death or loss. Turns out, for people in the creative department, it also applies to client comments. Of course, changes to ads, landing pages and scripts aren’t serious life situations. But when you spend countless hours and late nights breathing life into dry strategy statements, crafting witty messages, and generally devising ways to make people care about things they didn’t five minutes before, developing an emotional attachment to your work isn’t that surprising. And a coping strategy can be helpful.
So to enlighten account people, project managers, and (should the feedback be given during a presentation) clients as to what’s going on behind the blank stare that meets the inevitable Change Request, I hereby present:
The Five Stages of Client Comments
Stage 1: Denial – “Changes? The work is f’n amazing. They can’t make changes.”
It’s probably just punctuation. Maybe a word choice, or two. This stuff is pure gold, they wouldn’t dare mess with it.
Stage 2: Anger – “WTF?”
They want to do what?!!? How did these people get jobs in marketing? They don’t understand the concept. This’ll wreck the whole thing. We’re going to have to push the media back and start over.
Stage 3: Bargaining – “Maybe if we make one small change…”
This change. Here. It’s not so bad. Maybe if we make it, the client will see we listened and we won’t have to do the others.
Stage 4: Depression – “This was going in my book. Was.”
Whatever. Let’s just give them exactly what they want. It’s not like it’s going anywhere near my portfolio now. Is there any beer in the fridge?
Stage 5: Acceptance – “Maybe we can find a way to make this work.”
There must be a way to make the spirit of the changes work with the concept. What if we do this… then that? Hmmm. That’s not so bad. In fact, it’s maybe a little better. Why didn’t we do it this way originally? Ok. I’ll give ‘em credit. That’s some pretty sharp feedback… this time.
And that is how an ad gets revised.