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I frequently find myself buying things because of the awesome packaging. I often buy Truvia brand Stevia because the Truvia packaging is so great (in comparison to the “generic” options). I love Apple’s product packaging so much that I can’t bring myself to throw away the boxes (I have a closet full of old Apple packaging).

Part of my collection of Apple packaging that I just can’t seem to throw away.

My favorite guitar pedals come from Strymon and their amazing circuits are encased in the most exquisitely colored aluminum with perfectly ridged knobs. They are a work of art before the sound even channels through them. More often than not, better products come from businesses with better visual brands and marketing design.

My beautiful Strymon pedals. Oh man, so pretty! And the sound quality is incredible!

There is a direct correlation between a client with higher design budgets and the quality of the client’s product. Let’s examine that correlation and look at how it can help you vet your clients more effectively.

What Makes Apple Products “Better”

I realize that not everyone in the world is an Apple fanboy, like me. Those of you who are on the anti-Apple side of the coin should take this example and apply it to one of your favorite high quality brands.

What does Mike Janda love about Apple products? Here are a few things on my list. I love…

  • Their creative marketing and engaging visuals create my desire to buy their products.
  • My shopping experience on their clean and intuitive website.
  • Opening the package and that smooth, suctiony, pop sound as the lid comes off the box.
  • The cold, smooth, perfectly poslished aluminum when I first touch the device.
  • The battery comes with most of a charge so I can start using it immediately.
  • When I turn on a new Apple laptop, the digital gong sound after I hit the power button is music to my ears. (You know the one? You are probably hearing it right now.)
  • The buttons are perfect. The tap sensitivity is perfect. The tightness/looseness of each moving part seems to be intentionally designed.
  • The usability and interfaces are intuitive and friendly.

I could go on and on. Whether you like Apple or not, it is undeniable that they are on a quest to deliver the best products with an unrivaled attention to detail for every aspect of their business and products. (And they hit the mark, most of the time.) Apple spends a lot of money to get all of these details “just right.”

Clients Who Care About Their Product Quality Will Spend More on Design

In fact, like Apple, any business that cares about the details of their product enough to spend the necessary time and money to make it superior will almost always be willing to spend more time and money on design services too. Knowing this fact can help you vet your clients and charge higher prices for your work.

Let’s compare how a client conversation might go between two different pizza restaurants during a project discovery meeting. In that meeting you talk about their business challenges and what they are wanting you to create to solve it. One of the telling questions you can ask is what makes their product different from their competitors?

You: “What differentiates your pizza from your competitors?

Pizza Restaurant 01: “We are the only pizza restaurant inside a five mile radius. We are a bit cheaper than our competitors and usually get our pizzas out within 12 minutes.”

Don’t get me wrong, these types of differentiators can help Pizza Restaurant 01 be a successful business, but they are not the kind of differentiators that scream, “We have a big design budget.” For that, let’s look at Pizza Restaurant 02.

You: “What makes your pizza different from your competitors?”

Pizza Restaurant 02: “We only use imported French cheese, our vegetables are cut fresh each day, and we make our own sauces. But the thing that really makes our pizza different is our custom wood fire oven. Our founder developed her own pizza oven that cooks pizzas to perfection in 15 minutes.”

Imported French cheese, fresh veggies, and a custom pizza oven, this type of response will almost always come from a client who is willing to allocate a higher budget for design.

If you are searching for clients with higher design budgets, start asking them about their products. Listen closely to their responses. Clients who take pride in the details of their products will almost always be willing to spend higher budgets to design marketing materials that will make them shine in the eyes of their customers.

Michael Janda

I am Michael Janda, an executive level creative leader with more than 25 years of experience in both in-house creative departments and agencies working with some of the greatest brands in the world including Disney, Google, Fox, ABC and NBC. I create books, courses, workshops, lectures and other training materials to help creative entrepreneurs run successful businesses.