Team Meeting

We’ve been practicing what we preach by investing in our own marketing recently. As a first step to analysing the alignment of our internal and external brand, we conducted an internal survey in order to generate real insights to feed into our SWOT analysis. The team’s responses make for interesting reading...


What do James Good do well?

James: Identity design
Tori: We work hard to gain a thorough understanding of our clients.
Benjy: Strong corporate brands rolled out across print and web.
Andy: We create fit-for-purpose design concepts that help our clients’ businesses develop.
Kathy: Creating relevant brands from the ground up.
Will: We take pride in our work.

If you had an unlimited budget, what would you do to promote James Good?

Andy: I’d buy a fleet of Aston Martins in the James Good white and orange - people couldn’t fail to notice our incredible class and style!
Kathy: I’d invest some serious time in our own website design - this is in the pipeline for 2012.
Benjy: Use our branding skills to further a good cause; they would benefit from our work, and we would get the good publicity!
Tori: I’d pack James off to London for six months of networking with the high-flyers. Once we get the opportunity to explain the benefits of our work, we usually get the job; the challenge is gaining access to the right people - this would be made easier by being in the right place.
James: I’d invest time in producing a branded report on... [James refuses to publish his idea here!]. I’d place a series of adverts in The Director magazine; we need to shout louder about how amazing we are, and this is the most targeted publication for our intended audience. I’d put a constant flow of workshops and seminars in place to demonstrate our brilliance and offer real value to local businesses. We could also really benefit from having a dedicated business development manager to help us reach our goals.

How do you see our service offering developing?

Tori: Over the coming year I expect to see an increase in the consultancy side of our work, fewer small, one-off graphic design projects and a more integrated approach.
Benjy: We need to become more focused and offer a single, more cohesive service, trying not to pigeon-hole our work into ‘web’, ‘design’ or ‘marketing’.
James: Simplifying what we sell, broadening our offer, and narrowing our sector-specific expertise.

What should we do better?

Ed, Benjy: Estimating timeframes and sticking to them. We have a tendency to spend far more time on projects than we charge for.
Will: Socialise!
James: Communicating the full range of services we offer to our existing clients.

What do you think our clients would say about us?

Andy: We’re personable and full of ideas.
Ed: Great final product, delivered on time, but we had to chase for communication.

Benjy: We’re a highly skilled team, but can be disorganised.
Tori: I’ve never met anyone quite like James!!
Kathy: Down to earth, friendly, frank, honest, attention to detail, great design.

How do we perform as a team?

Ed: I think we work pretty well as a team, the connection between the web and design departments in particular has helped make both of our jobs easier.
Benjy: Ok, but communication could be improved.
Tori: Very well, we all have similar attitudes and aspirations, and this helps us to work collaboratively.
James: I don’t think we have enough team reviews. I’d like our meeting room to function as a team collaboration space... somewhere away from our desks to be critical of each other and to focus all of our experience on a single task at a time.
Will: I think we could benefit from knowing what each other are working on. [We’ve now put weekly meetings in place to enable this.]

How do we perform in comparison to our competitors?

Tori: Locally we outperform almost all. Our work is of a national standard, but our clients are generally smaller.
Kathy: We differentiate ourselves through our professionalism and corporate focus.
Benjy: We’re professional and old school.
James: One of our biggest weaknesses is... we just don’t know.
Andy: Our identity design work is more conceptual.

What do you think of our pricing strategy?

Ed: I think the pricing itself is about right. However, I think our quoting process has some fairly big issues; we constantly underquote or overrun on projects, and James Good always takes the hit.
Benjy: We’re right to position ourselves at the top end of the local market.
Tori: We’re beginning to price ourselves out of Swansea, but this befits our aspirations.
Kathy: We don’t charge enough. If our work is on a level with London agencies, perhaps our pricing should reflect this.
James: We need to develop a fixed pricing structure by reviewing how long projects end up taking.

What aspect of your job do you enjoy most?

Kathy: Networking, I love meeting new people and telling them what James Good has to offer.
Tori: Defining a tone of voice to apply across a client’s communications - challenging but satisfying.
Ed: Discussing website requirements with clients and coming up with new features and functionality for their site.
Will: Starting on a brand new website project.
Benjy: Developing my skills and dedicating time to research to make sure our solution is relevant.
Andy: Identity design.
James: Getting out visiting clients and presenting our work - seeing the positive responses makes it all worthwhile.

What aspect of your job do you dread?

Benjy: The invoicing process!
Ed: Quoting for web projects, knowing that I’ll be responsible for losing the company money if I misquote.
Tori: It’s frustrating when I spend weeks on a proposal just for it to be tossed aside.
Kathy: Cold calling.
James: When members of the team under-perform, and our occasional server issues.

What makes a good client?

Ed: Clients who are pleasant, organised and know what they want.
Benjy: Professionalism, good organisation and a clear expression of ideas. One of our current clients is working on some cutting edge products - that’s really interesting work.
Tori: Clients who trust our decisions and value our work.
James: Any client we can work for and respect. Clients who are responsive to what we’ve done. Clients who continue to feed us work. We’ve watched one of our oldest clients develop in parallel to us - that’s been a very interesting and revealing relationship. Relationships that add value to our business are great. One of our clients is a change management consultancy, and their project management skills are certainly rubbing off on us; if our clients can teach us something it certainly earns our respect.

What makes a difficult client?

Andy: It’s frustrating when clients give a very ambiguous brief because they can’t decide what they really want. If a client lets us, we’ll help them decide on the best way forward.
Tori: Clients who don’t trust our professional opinion.
Benjy: Clients who don’t value us.
Ed: Poor communication of ideas, failing to listen, a very demanding and demoralising style of communication.
James: I find it difficult to work with clients who lack ambition. Working with clients who don’t respect us or take our ideas on board is demoralising.

If you could tell the world one thing about James Good, what would you say?

Ed: Our identity design work is exceptional.
Benjy: We’re a great group of passionate people.
Andy: We are going to become the experts in strategic identity design.
Kathy: We are one of the best design businesses in the UK, you just don’t know it yet.
James: We genuinely care about the details... a lot.
Tori: The fact that we’re based in Swansea is not a reflection of the level of our work - our standards are exceptionally high.

What’s your most common work-related gripe to your / from your WAG?

All: I work too much!

Are there any obstacles getting in the way of our growth?

Tori: Our location is stunting our growth - there isn’t enough local demand for the type of service we offer, and nationally, there’s a stigma attached to being in Swansea.
James: Geography, not enough time in London.
Kathy: Cash flow!
Benjy: Our attitude towards Swansea - it has a lot to offer!

What does the company look like five years from now?

James: Admirable and desired!
Benjy: A bigger team, a working environment that allows us to spend more time planning projects and generating ideas, and less time attached to our screens!
Tori: Kathy’s just started on her journey to becoming an expert project manager, we’ll have gained a project assistant to improve efficiencies, there’ll be a couple of well-known corporates in our client list, we’ll be beginning to make a name for ourselves nationally and starting to focus on a niche market. And of course, we’ll be more profitable, and more well off!
Kathy: We’ll be more well known across the UK.