In the final lecture for professional studies, Richard Wallis came into to give us a talk about the importance of the client. Richard Wallis is the senior producer for the TwoFour Group, working with many leading global brands so as a result has a lot of experience with the client process. The main aim of this lecture was to understand the significance of the client, as I have very little experience of dealing with clients I found listening to Wallis’ experience extremely useful. He covered three main topics; the client in a changing media landscape, identifying and winning the client and lastly, keeping the client.
Wallis spoke about the development of technology and how it affects the client. New technologies such as the Apple Newton were set to “change the world” (Wallis, 2012) only for them to not catch on as intended. He said to avoid technological determinism and to try to understand trends so you can try and see where technology is going and to try to second-guess them. I learnt that having an understanding of technology is crucial, especially with the rate of how quickly this industry develops as I can then use this knowledge to think what the technology can do for the audience and in turn, help the client reach their target audience.
Wallis discussed how in todays changing media landscape media agencies have to converge with other sectors in order to stand out to clients, a concept that was mentioned in the talk by Evan Grant. More and more media agencies now also produce work in many practices such as installations, experimental art and games rather than focusing on one area of interactive media such as web design. In my own professional development, I can take this idea and ensure that I broaden my skillset in order to stand out against the vast competition of other interactive media designers to potential clients and employers.
Later in the lecture, Wallis spoke about pitches. I have only done pitches for university projects, many of which I were part of a group where we each took turns to explain different slides and showed any work that we had done. In professional situations with a live client, there are two different kids of pitch: where you pitch an idea of your own or where you respond to formal tenders. Wallis gave an insight into the key elements that make a good pitch which I have taken onboard for reference in future projects, both in my studies and the professional world.
Lastly, Wallis went on to discuss the principal causes of mistrust and breakdown within the producer – client relationship and how these causes can easily be avoided. The most common reasons for this breakdown in trust are: missed deadlines, spiraling costs, failed expectations and product disappointment and poor communication, which can easily be solved through managing the client with an account manager and project manager. In my studies I have often worked in groups to produce a media artifact and in each of these groups there has always been a nominated product manager to ensure that the project matches the brief and is running smoothly as we have never had a live client to deal with.
Wallis went on to mention production methods such as the waterfall method that have been mentioned previously in a lecture for Production 2 and the first professional studies lecture by Jo Lush. He went on to briefly mention other methods such as the PRINCE2 process model, SCRUM process and the Agile Software Development and the pros and cons of each of them. Hearing how these methods could potentially result in causing a breakdown in the relationship between the producer and the client demonstrated the importance of having a good level of communication with the client in my own production work. I learnt that although iterative methods such as the SCRUM process keep the client more in the loop than the waterfall method, many clients do not want to accept responsibility if it does not end up how the envisioned as they were more involved in the process.