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Cognition

Client Relations

The precision recipe of surprises, thrills, and fulfillment we provide. For clients.

We’ve written 16 blog posts about Client Relations. View all topics »

  1. Frequently Asked Questions on FAQs

    No matter the client, FAQs are often a topic of conversation during many site redesigns. Maybe they are legacy content and deemed a new requirement for the get-go. Maybe stakeholders raise them as a potential solution during the course of the engagement. Sometimes, they even creep up on us (unplanned) after launch.

  2. Cognition Roundtable

    We’re bringing you this special edition of Cognition Roundtable, where Assistant PM Mica McPheeters speaks with our VP of Design Chris Cashdollar about the client’s role in design projects. Spend the next half hour with Chris, as he pulls inspiration from his upcoming presentation at HOW Interactive Design Conference in Washington, DC—“Reevaluating the Role of Your Client in the Design Process.” Specifically, he’ll cover:

  3. Plan for the Unplanned

    Leading up to the design phase of a project, we devote a lot of thinking to setting the project’s core goals and requirements, as well as establishing a basic plan for how the project will flow. During this time, on my team, we ask as many questions as possible and learn as much as we can before we present a strategy to the client. In the end, everyone agrees on what the goals are, but how those goals will be realized is yet to be determined.

  4. ’Tis but thy name that is my (fr)enemy

    “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet; / So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d” (Shakespeare, Romeo & Juliet, 2.2).

    In the world of project management, naming conventions are often the source of miscommunication. You have to call your work something, but if you assume everyone interprets a name the way you intended, you’re likely to stub your toe during the course of the project. As managers, minimizing risk and setting expectations is an everyday task, yet something as simple as a name or label can fly under our radar. We live and breathe our work, and we are passionate about it. It’s a good practice to never assume labels are understood out of the gate. Here’s a few tactics to help you make naming conventions work for you.

  5. Overwriting Less

    I am an overwriter.

    I could stop this post right here, but you wouldn’t believe me.

    There is relief and guilt to overwriting—like you’ve just finished off a large bag of potato chips by yourself. You find comfort in there being no more chips to eat but also discomfort, because, well, you just ate an entire bag of chips.

    Or, you’ve just written countless words to a client team explaining the intricacies of a deliverable. You exhale and cross the to-do off your list, but you secretly doubt whether the post overcomplicated the work or confused your client.

  6. One Hand Washes the Other

    I once believed that great design was created inside of a secret creativity chamber. Armed with a knapsack full of snacks, I’d lock myself inside, and work long, hard, tedious hours until I emerged with a “masterpiece.”

  7. Vendor Selection Advice From The Front Lines…

    Recently, I offered my suggestions regarding the RFP construction and management process, but I left my dear readers with a cliffhanger… Now that your RFP is complete and you’re evaluating responses and pitches, how do you select the right proposal?

  8. On-Site Anthropology

    At Happy Cog, we try to use the latest web technologies to bring our virtual teams (and families) together. But sometimes, a virtual meetup just won’t do—most notably, the kickoff meeting to start a new client project. Few things can impact a project’s success like the team building that takes place during the workshop sessions, lunches, and post-meeting drinks of a client on-site visit—after all, raising a virtual toast isn’t nearly as satisfying as clinking two glasses together.

  9. Please Put Down the Device & Let’s Just Talk

    Warning, if you are reading this in a meeting STOP! Put down your mobile device or laptop and slowly lift your head and eyes upward until you see (and hear) the person speaking!

  10. Stepping Out of Line

    Years ago, I was presenting comps on a scheduled call to a key stakeholder of my then-agency’s flagship account. It was my first call with him in months. He was unfortunately on vacation and without his laptop. That should have been the end of it.

    Instead, he asked me to paint him a picture.

  11. Escape the Fear Factory

    With my Pittsburgh roots comes a 30+ year fandom of the NHL hockey team the Pittsburgh Penguins. But one of my favorite Pens memories didn’t happen during a game; it was actually a text message. A message sent by owner and legendary player, Mario Lemieux, to the team and coaches before decisive game 7 of the 2009 Stanley Cup finals.

  12. Illustration by Yesenia Perez-Cruz

    What’s the ROI on Cool?

    Industry creative folks I’m friends with personally and respect professionally have uttered the following to me on multiple occasions:

    “I want to make cool shit.”

    I’ll be honest, I just don’t get it. To be fair, it’s safe to say I don’t get “cool” in general. I routinely dress like I’m headed to a corporate team-building ropes course, and I’m still waiting for Firefly to be picked up for season 2. So maybe it’s no surprise that the quest for cool escapes me. I don’t get the allure of making something cool for the sake of it being cool. Further, I don’t understand how you sell that to clients, or more importantly, why they would pay for it.

  13. (Someday You’ll Find It) The Client Connection

    Every successful project needs an Awesome Blossom moment: when your relationship with a client enables the project to transcend deadlines and goals to more acutely capture the spirit of creating something great.

    It all starts with finding the humanity in the project and sharing a sense of excitement with your client team members. As they have chosen your company to help build their web experience, the client has placed a great amount of trust in you. Your job, over the length of the engagement, is to solidify: a sound strategy based on the goals of the project; a transparent, trusted, and respectful working relationship with your client contacts; an agile, yet progressive, project process; and an open line of communication that can extend beyond the project.

  14. Sustainable design

    Sustainable, Not Pixel Perfect

    Last week, Happy Cog was nominated for two Webby awards for our work with Zappos.com. I know some people don’t like awards, but as someone who didn’t grow up in an era when “everyone gets a trophy,” I still think they’re pretty rad. Seriously though, I think of a nomination like this as a recognition of doing great collaborative work with our clients. When I heard about the nominations, I was chatting with one of my coworkers who wondered, “can we really take the credit for this work?” As I typed the words, “shut your stupid face hole,” and considered whether to press enter, I thought about his question for a moment and the life of our work after we hand it over to our clients.

  15. Will you be mine?

    The Beginning of a Relationship

    At Happy Cog, I am responsible for the bulk of our sales efforts along with ensuring that our ongoing client relationships are positive. The early days of the professional relationship are not unlike the very early stages of courtship and dating. If there’s a connection to be made, its foundation is built on listening and sharing, which are sincere efforts for us to understand and help each other.

  16. Internal Memo: #415-09W

    re: Not Red Dawn but Almost

    All: It’s 4:00 AM and I am both wide awake and completely exhausted at the same time.

    First, I want to say that last week’s Halo game was inspiring, informative, and productive.