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Video Business to Business: How to Work With Designers

Creative vision
and technical know-how are a given for any good video producer, but client
management skills are also important for success. In this series, you’ll learn
about the three main types of clients who hire for video services—The Outsourcer, The Doer, and The Designer—and how to best help them
achieve their goals. In our final installment, we profile The Designer.

Who is The
Designer?

The Designer typically works in the creative industry—often as part of a team—and has sophisticated design and technical skills. They may be an art director, website designer, or marketing strategist.

Man sitting at laptop that says web design
Photo by Rawpixel/Photodune

Designers have a
finely tuned creative vision and know exactly what they’re looking for—much more so than The Doer. However, they lack the specific skills, equipment, and
time to shoot and edit quality video themselves. Like The Outsourcer, they
understand the value of hiring a professional to do the job for them.

The Designer may or may not know what’s involved in video production, but they can communicate exactly
what they want stylistically. They tend to be detail oriented and have high standards for themselves
and others. Designers are willing to pay for top-notch quality and service, and
usually have a corporate budget to match.

What is The Designer Looking For?

The Designer is
looking for a video expert to execute their vision. You are, in very simple
terms, a tool for getting the job done.

Whereas The
Outsourcer wants you to take the lead creatively on their video project, The
Designer doesn’t need your creative input (that’s not to say you can’t offer
it—more on that in a moment). Instead, they want to know that you can deliver
excellent quality and service, on time and on budget.

The Designer will
often have specific requests in terms of equipment. For example, they may want their video to have that “infinite white” background that’s so popular these days, which requires a white backdrop and lots of extra lights.

Two models with white screen background
Infinite white background (Photo by Cindy Burgess)

The Designer is
usually looking for a fast turnaround. Your video may be part of a larger project
they’re working on, and they have deadlines to meet.

For example, one
of my clients is a marketing strategist. She’s creating a website and
promotional materials for a golf pro, and hired me to create video content. She
knew exactly what kind of video she wanted—she just needed my skills and camera equipment to make it happen. The video is part of a larger project with a specific
launch date, so the turnaround time is fairly tight.

How to Land a Job with The Designer

The Designer is
looking for someone with the skills and experience to bring their concept to
life. Your creative ability isn’t so much a factor—they just want to know that
you can deliver a fantastic end product that’s in keeping with their vision.

Your Video
Portfolio is Key

A solid portfolio
is key to landing work with The Designer. Display examples of your best video work
online, either on your own website or on a YouTube or Vimeo channel. If you’re
meeting The Designer in person, bring a laptop or tablet so you can show them
relevant videos that you’ve created.

Man and woman viewing something together
Photo by adam121/Photodune

Emphasize your
experience and any similar projects you may have worked on. Unlike The
Outsourcer, The Designer speaks your language and will feel reassured when they
hear you using the same terminology.

Demonstrate
Customer Satisfaction

The Designer also
expects excellent customer service. You can demonstrate your ability to follow
directions, pay attention to detail, and meet deadlines through customer
testimonials. If you don’t have any, you need to start collecting them now!
Recommendations from past customers play a valuable role in convincing future
clients of your abilities as a video producer.

How to Deliver for
The Designer

In some ways, The
Designer is the easiest client to work with. They know what to tell a creative
provider, and how and where their video will be used. The tradeoff is a lack of
creative freedom on your part.

Follow the Leader

With The
Outsourcer, you’re expected to take the lead and develop a creative vision for
their video. Designers, on the other hand, know exactly what they want. They
will likely give you a creative brief and expect you to follow it. This doesn’t
mean you can’t make suggestions—after all, you know your craft better than they
do. But don’t be surprised if they stick to their guns on how they want the
video to look. Unless The
Designer’s request is technically impossible or compromises your standards or
ethics in some way, don’t push it. It’s their video, after all.

Man editing on desktop computer
Photo by philipimage/Photodune

While communicating with The Designer should be simple and straightforward, there’s always the risk that one or both of you will make assumptions about the other’s knowledge. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if there’s some aspect of the project or terminology they’re using that you don’t understand. It’s easy to get lulled into a false sense of security when you both speak the same language creatively.

Finally, The Designer expects your work to be good—so the key to impressing them is to deliver something unexpected. Maybe you can help them set up a YouTube channel, or offer tips on how and where to share their video online. Designers tend to be repeat hirers, so it pays to go the extra mile to become their go-to video expert!