BoA #2 – What makes a client a good collaborator?

Published on 15th January 2021 by Wendy Perring

“The goal of business should not be to do business with anyone who simply wants what you have. It should be to focus on the people who believe what you believe. When we are selective about doing business only with those who believe in our WHY, trust emerges.” Simon Sinek

Recently we have teamed up with Etch UK, a leading digital and brand agency based in Southampton. Etch are assisting us with business development and empowering us with tools to upscale, as well as working on a practical level and managing our accounts. This collaboration between PAD studio and Etch initially began when we commissioned them to work with us to produce our new website. We recently interviewed Steve Hart, Development Lead at Etch, to learn about his experience of working with PAD studio as a client.

What made it a collaboration?

“It’s been my long-held belief that building an online presence for a client should never be a one-way street. Having been development lead at Etch for a number of years, I’ve learnt that a collaborative approach via a close partnership yields a far stronger end result; and I’m really proud of what we achieved with the new PAD studio website.

What really came through for me was a reflection of how PAD studio work with their clients on projects and form a close bond with the team as a whole. We were all pulling together to achieve the same goal of a stunning online presence that is easy to maintain.”

Why did we work well together?

“I think we all knew from the start that we weren’t just making a website, sticking it online and leaving it there. Right from the offset we knew that this was intended to be a living artefact that would help to empower and broadcast the PAD studio ethos through their six commitments to creative architecture.

We were also able to see the value in small changes to the site, and how those contributed to the bigger picture of the finished article. What brought so much enjoyment to the project for me was the feeling of liberation and being allowed by the PAD team to discover the best ways for their past work to truly shine. Although that was pretty easy when the content and imagery I had to work with was just so stunning!”

Were we a good client? And if so, why?

“An abundance of mutual trust and respect for our relative expertise. It’s a real pleasure to have someone give you a rough idea of where they want to take something and then be allowed to run with it. That really came through when working on the projects section of the new site. Given the freedom to have fun with flexible layouts and giving the PAD team the ability to show off the true strength of their past works whilst making sure it’s a pleasure for them to add more content to the site in future.”

Where there any difficulties or what was hardest?

“I’ve managed to not mention the global pandemic… until now. I guess that was probably the main thing that squeezed the brakes on us a little during the development of the new site. Apart from that, it was just a pleasure to be working with Wendy and the team.
Steven Hart, Growth Development Lead, ETCH.”

How to be a collaborative client:

Reflecting on Steven’s words and our experience of acting as a client within this context, some key points emerge:

• Trust underpins the process.
• It is crucial to share a common purpose (and understand what that is).
• You must empower your team with the freedom to use their skills and respect their professional opinion and ability.
• Celebrate the process and realize that the work should be enjoyable

We have learned and seen how valuable these points are in some ten years of collaborative team working. We will give some examples and explore these points in more detail in our next PAD studio Insight post: BOA #3- A collaborative process

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