Building a Manifesto (part 2 of 6)

December 8, 2009 | by Becka Bates

When we started BatesMeron, we created a Manifesto.

This set of six defining characteristics has become our moral compass, helped to shape who we are as a brand—and generally kept us honest for nearly five years. We believe this is one of the most valuable steps we took when starting out, and we often reference our Manifesto when making hard decisions.

This is part 2 of 6 of our rules to live by: Be honest. Candor shows respect, and saves everyone a lot of time.

This rule is sometimes the hardest to live by. We often have clients that LOVE some aspect of their brand or marketing that is, frankly, detrimental to their image. In these cases, diplomacy and delicacy are paramount. The truth is, sometimes it’s extremely hard to deliver the bad review. And sometimes it doesn’t matter how much honey you mix in, the medicine doesn’t go down smoothly.

In each of these cases, we’re all too aware that tempers could flare, people could become irrational and it could mean the end of business with that client. But at the end of the day, we have to remind ourselves that we don’t want to put our name on something if it isn’t our best work. And how irresponsible is it to NOT share—even aggressively—our expertise? Isn’t that why we were hired?

Of course, it’s not always this precarious. Sometimes it’s just a nudge in the right direction. Sometimes it means NOT taking the easy way out, wrapping up the job and turning a quick profit. We often work with consultants who bring in work to share with us, and because of the extended lines of communication, we have to really dig down and encourage all parties to resist shortcuts. Don’t give in—you’ll be so much more proud if you fight the good fight!

I could have filled this blog post with really amusing stories that would blow you away. Some of the things we’ve been asked to produce, and the motivations and concepts behind them are mind-boggling. But I won’t tell you those stories. Because everyone’s concepts deserve respect. I certainly couldn’t do the job my clients do, and I’m glad they trust me to do mine.

It’s not easy. It’s not safe. And sometimes you have to draw on reserves of patience and energy you didn’t know you had in you. Sometimes you have to walk away from a client you really enjoy working with, because they don’t trust you with their baby. Sometimes you lie awake at night wondering if the client hates you, even though you showed all due respect. But hey, at least you’re not laying awake at night fearful that you SOLD OUT and gave a project less than it deserved.


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