How Much Difference Will It Make?

How many times have clients asked us to change fonts, change colour shades, change layouts.  Small adjustments that get deemed important.  And in conversation become more and more important.

It is often hard for anyone to step back and look objectively at how minor such comments are.  Advertising agencies tend to roll over on these requests because it isn’t worth the fight.  The client has bought a dog and decided to bark themselves.  They want to show they are in charge and this is one way of expressing it.  It is also a way for the client to feel they are a creative force.

And at the end of the day, these changes, more often than not, make absolutely no impact on the effectiveness of the advertising.

That is not to say that some small changes can totally change the impact of a piece of communication.  But we are talking here about the minor changes that create self importance in the change request.  As an agent for the client, we will honour such requests, especially if we are being paid by the hour and don’t think the change matters at all creatively.

These kinds of change requests are what Freud called “the narcissism of small differences.”  Tiny things that get magnified in the minds of the participants.  Why Americans think Canadians say “eh” or can’t understand why there is a “u” in colour.  There is no “u” in color in the US as they strove to differentiate themselves from British spelling after their independence.  Small difference and no impact on meaning, but it creates a sense of self that might otherwise have been fragile.

We all see things slightly differently.  Which is no surprise because we all have slightly different makeups.  But it is counter productive to invest too much in your personal small changes for no good reason other than you can ask it.  Trust in your creative team.

think about a set of twins you may have known.  To almost everyone they were virtually the identical.  But to them, the differences were huge.  The point being that differences seem larger the more invested you are.  But to the outside world, it often makes no difference at all.

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