There are two schools of thought about designing product and service offerings.

One camp says: The customer is always right. We design what they want and deliver it to them.

The other camp says: This is who we are. If you don’t like it, that’s okay; we’re looking for the people who do.

Neither camp is entirely right, of course; extremists rarely are. The answer is somewhere in between. I see it as a seesaw, with who you are on one side and what the client wants on the other. We all lean toward our clients a bit. But how much? How do you strike that balance? How do you decide where to give in, and where to drive a stake into the ground?

I recommend starting from the this-is-who-we-are end of the seesaw. Outline who you are and what you stand for a a company first; find clients who love you for it; then if those clients suggest ways you can change for the better, consider it. 

Starting with yourself (your company’s self) means the work you do or the products you make come from a place of authenticity and truth within, rather than from doing what someone tells you to do.

None of us got into business for ourselves so we could do what other people tell us to do.

Furthermore, people value a strong sense of self in the companies they do business with. People want to know what you stand for, they demand transparency from companies in a way they never have before.

Having a written brand platform that outlines your core values, your core offerings, and your core customers is valuable; that’s your touchstone. When you get feedback from a client about changing your offering or the way you do business, compare it back to that brand platform. How far can you lean before the seesaw tips too far? Does it feel right?

When you start to feel like what you’re doing is a little bit hollow, when you start to feel under-appreciated, when you wonder why your clients aren’t taking full advantage of your abilities, when you just feel lackluster about your business — then you may have leaned too far. It’s time to go back to your brand platform and review who you are and what you stand for. Have you tipped too far on the seesaw?

If you want help finding that balance on the seesaw, Tinfish can help. Give us a call and we’ll talk about it. Click here to schedule a phone call.