You can almost smell it…that new car, fresh pine scent. You can feel the air electrify as the account peps, copywriters, designers and developers huddle to dissect a new project. How can we jazz it up? How can we make is special? How can we make it BETTER? Many questions are asked during the project planning phase, and the team is eager develop the answers.

The ideas start flowing, and the possibilities seem endless. The designers’ visions of the masters’ great works crash into the developers’ analytical user experience sensibilities, while the writers start pouring over their tomes to uncover the perfect prose. All the while, the rep is smiling nervously while attempting to maintain an inkling of order and create a timeline that will assuage the client’s budget. It’s a beautiful madness…at the beginning.

Then comes the devil’s highway. That long stretch of uncertainty, mistakes, quick fixes, client input and internal wrangling. As from a block of clay, the project emerges and begins to take form. And after the missed deadlines, the heartbreak, the cost overrun, you step back to admire what you’ve accomplished. It’s…it’s…

It’s a disaster.

A mess.

An unusable quagmire of half thoughts and guesswork concepts that have revealed a patchwork of “meh.”

What happened? Where did it go sideways? WHERE DID WE GO WRONG?

Let’s roll it back to the beginning. Don’t stop at the project planning phase, go back a little further. To just when the group got together and all those creative juices were flowing. Right where those fantastic possibilities were flying around. That’s it, right there. Ah yes, the ideas were great and the input wonderful, but there was a fundamental building block missing. No one asked the question, “Why?”

Why are we building this? Not the surface “why” (which we usually answer with phrases like, “to sell stuff” or “because they don’t have a site”). The deeper questions of “Why build this thing?”, “Why use this media?” and “Why do they need it in the first place?”

If only the “whys” had been answered, the creativity could have flowed right through them and straight to a concise deliverable. That’s because the “why” will direct every decision made throughout the process and can be as pertinent in the overall vision as it is in the placement of the copyright information.

But the “whys” need answers, not guesses.

The best course of action is to ask the client. It seems an obvious answer, but often it is too intimidating. Just remember that you are the expert. Clients are usually open to suggestions as long as they are communicated clearly and logically, and supported with facts as opposed to opinion. Your customer needs to understand the “whys” just as much as your team does. If they do not, then miscommunication will occur, decisions will be made and chaos will ensue.

Remember no good happens without the “why.” It demands an answer before anything is written, designed or developed. That’s why the “why” should always be first.

At Vela, we know the importance of strategy and use it to create great ideas – that work. Contact us to learn more!