[Originally published July 16, 2013.]

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Welcome! We are a creative agency specializing in all your branding needs. To give you a sense of what it’s like to work with us, this is WHAT WE DO: Discovery, Development, and Direction.

Discovery

This is the process through which we get to know you and your business so that we can tell your story in a way that no one has before. You have finally found a creative partner who can help fine-tune your company’s vision!

We’ll start by asking questions like: What’s your business? What do you want to accomplish with it? What customers do you want to reach?

We’ll write down your answers, and we’ll compliment you and your business. We’ll say something like, “Sounds like we have a lot of potential here.”

We’ll ask more Discovery questions, like: Who are your heroes? If you were a zoo animal, which one would you be? What are your dreams?

Depending on how this goes, we might see if you want to get a drink after work, to talk more about your business. After getting a little tipsy, we will ask even more Discovery questions, like: What do you desire out of life? Are you sleeping with anyone? Are you in therapy? Do you want to hear a funny story about our last therapist?

This is how we get to know our clients. If at any time you feel uncomfortable with this Discovery process, we’ll back off, no problem. You’re not the first person to reject this approach. Every Discovery process is different, and every client is unique.

Development

We’ll start the Development process after much procrastination. Really, this is the thing we fear the most—actually having to come up with ideas that win our clients’ fickle hearts. What we really want is to have a client give us the unconditional go-ahead to do anything we want. No. No, that’s not true. That’s probably our greatest fear, actually.

You, however, will just want some ideas, please, by EOD Friday, two weeks after our initial Discovery session, which ended with an awkward hug. And we will give you ideas. We will suggest all sorts of creative things to do with your company!

You will reject each and every one of them.

This will make us bitter, admittedly. Behind your back, after we hang up the phone with you on Monday, we’ll blame it on the fact that you don’t really want to get creative, that this is all just a part of the sad corporate process.

Maybe it’s us? We don’t know. Maybe? Every time we try something new, something honest and human, our clients look at us like we’re crazy. The whole system is lame.

Chin up. We’ll try again with new ideas. And you will again reject us. Something is missing. But hey, we’re professionals. It’s our business to figure out your needs, even if those needs don’t include being good friends with us or apparently even liking us much.

We’ll send even more half-baked ideas. Really, we’re just making wild guesses at this point. What in the hell could you possibly want?

You won’t even respond to these ideas. Instead, you’ll suggest a “fresh start” and a new brainstorming session. In that brainstorming session, you’ll invite a few people we don’t know. And they will suggest “creative” things, too.

Who are these people, anyway? Can we assume that their Discovery process went much better? We will admit to ourselves that jealousy is an ugly, small-minded feeling. But that’s not making it go away.

Maybe you will see the look on our faces—hurt, unsure—and decide to give us a second chance. You’ll ask us to develop the ideas from the other people, the people you like better. We’ll agree to do so, with enthusiasm. But inside, we’ll be weeping. It seems inevitable that we’re going to fail.

We’ll head back to the office. We’ll start drinking, and then we will “work” to “develop” ideas. At 5:59 p.m., now drunk, we’ll send you an email that claims we’ve been busting tail, and here’s what we’ve come up with, attached. You’ll open the document, and at first you won’t recognize the moons. But then they will come into focus, and you will know that you are looking at copy-machine butt moons. Ours!

Let’s go dancing!

Direction

The next day, as we wake filled with regret, you’ll respond with a terse email telling us that you’re going in a different Direction.

We’ll fall into yet another depression. The first few days will be the hardest. In the midst of it all, we’ll consider changing our mission statement to read, “To fail. To fail!”

Might as well. We have no Direction. We get a client, and we chase it like a dog chases a stick. But then we just get lost in the bushes. This is not even an accurate metaphor. Or is it a simile? We can’t get anything right.

Don’t worry. We’ll get over it. We always do. Medication levels will be considered (again), as well as a job in sales.

Ultimately, a new client is bound to call us. After all, it’s really hard to find good creative people.