What Savvy Brand Marketers Can Learn From Freelance on Fiverr
30 MARCH 2017
We’ve all seen the commoditization of the advertising and marketing industry. Smaller, hungrier shops chip away at the big dogs and entire agency teams are moving inside brands as in-house teams. Massive consulting firms are signing multi-million dollar innovation deals with global companies and advertising agencies are making swift moves to become hyper-digital, hyper-experiential and more focused on upstream product development work instead of campaign deployment.
At the most cost-effective end of the industry, nimble tools like 99 Designs and Fiverr are offering all kinds of things for as little as $5 to $300 including the development of your logo. In the spirit of curiosity, I dug in to Fiverr to understand how an independent freelancer working from just about anywhere can produce a logo for a brand or company at a fraction of the cost. And what I found blew my mind. Below are five observations from my experience with Fiverr that will inevitably impact our process and the way we build brands — and likely, the way you do too.
#1 Eliminate The Variables | As creatives we tend to think we have a corner on the market when it comes to creativity. This isn’t true. It’s in the mystery and magic of our craft where we think we can hold clients in spellbound suspension. What we do have is the ability to make connections. For what is creativity, if it isn’t being able to see connections where others can’t? By creating a systematic process that takes the known universe of potential solutions and buckets them into varying styles and approaches, it helps the end user understand both the path that their project will take and the certain outcome they are seeking. Fiverr does this exceedingly well. Upon seeking out a logo design, you are immediately asked to identify the style you are seeking: flat, minimalist, 3D, etc. Other variables include delivery time. Likely, you’ll pay a premium for a 2-day turnaround vs. a 5-day turnaround. And so on. This process of identifying, articulating and imagining without actually actually creating anything — is at its core Design Thinking. Just like Einstein said, if he were given an hour to solve a problem he’d spend the first 55 minutes defining the problem and the last five solving it. When we eliminate variables, we can make fast and furious leaps forward toward powerful creative solutions.
#2 Focus The Ask | If you’re an established brand, you more than likely have a solid identity system to work from. But if you’re building an initiative or brand from the ground up, it’s just the opposite. When beginning an assignment — especially an identity assignment — it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of possible pathways forward and the limitless potential outcomes. But we can make quick and decisive leaps forward by putting an immediate stake in the ground. In our industry, we typically rely upon the brief to accomplish this. The Fiverr designer I engaged asked the following questions. *Notice: his ability to deliver a focused product was predicated upon having focused information. Essentially, his information ask was a creative brief with key elements.
A No Nonsense Fiverr Brief
Company name, slogan, tagline, etc.…
Tell me about the company
What would you like people to think when they see your brand?
What colors would you like to see in your logo?
Please send me any logo you like to know the type of design you want / or a rough draft of the concept we have in mind. (optional)
It’s not revelatory. But it does cut to the chase. The better information you’re able to provide to your Fiverr freelancer, the better the outcome. The firmer it was in my mind, the more I was able to easily guide his first steps toward a mutually beneficial creative solution. When you focus the ask and make it unquestionably clear what you think you need, you’ll have a greater abilty to stress test the very first creative output you see and respond to it.
#3 Productize the Offering | We all like to think of our brand and our set of challenges as entirely unique. But that’s not entirely true. If we’re honest with ourselves, we can group up our challenges and recognize that despite the nuances of our industry, we share in similar challenges to industries that often have little to do with ours. What Fiverr does well is break down the options into palatable packages with a repeatable process that will undeniably get you to the result you’re looking for. Within the first page of selecting logo options, Fiverr broke it down into six different logo styles ranging from watercolor to vintage logos and beyond. It also asked for input around the category, whether a service, food and beverage, and so on. This immediate productization helps guide the customer into a more fully-envisioned logo before the project even starts. Let me put it to you this way: if you were given the option to answer a nearly impossible question through multiple choice or blank write-in, what would you choose? Would you feel more or less certain if you knew the answer was being presented to you among others? Just like the multiple choice test, the user finds themselves more confident in their choice because the options were laid out before them. And armed with this confidence — that among these choices is the solution — the value exchange for the logo they’ll receive makes the cost to acquire it virtually a no-brainer. In the same way, we as creatives and marketers must demonstrate to clients what they will get for the dollars they spend with us. And that we’ve done it before for brands with similar challenges.
#4 Clarify The Add-Ons | I saw a quote recently at Jimmy John’s. “Experience: what you get when you don’t get what you want.” As an agency owner, we often encounter brands that have never engaged an agency before. We’ve all experienced sticker shock. In this case, they have no reference point for what creativity really costs. With Fiverr, one of its most powerful attributes is that it allows a satisfied customer to incrementally add on unlimited revisions (theoretically), adjustable file formats or even a $5 tip. These simple add-ons are akin to scope change in the world of advertising and marketing. As brand marketers, it’s our job to help those who engage understand what’s in-scope and what’s out of scope. Or better said: what’s incremental scope. By identifying the add-ons in your creative process, putting them front and center and having the courage to call them out at the onset of the project, this can reduce the potential for a client to be disappointed or feel raked over the coals for upcharges they never saw coming.
#5 Pick Your Sweet Spot | Agencies are often considered borderless blobs of creative talent that, by nature, can and will do anything remotely related to creativity. For savvy brand marketers, they choose their partners carefully — rooted in the agency’s demonstrated experience, methodology and proven track record of successful outcomes.
Fiverr forces freelancers to pick what they are best at. At Manifesto, we call this the Onlyness: the one thing you can lay claim to in the universe that no one else can. Because there are literally hundreds of people on Fiverr offering similar services, it forces freelancers to cut to the chase, curate their unique approach and style and stick with it so that they have both a market advantage as well as a predictable output for their clients.
When choosing an agency partner, consider the same things: 1. What is the agency best at? 2. How well do they know themselves, their ethos, their story? 3. Have they clearly demonstrated their expertise within the category or a similar assignment? 4. Based on their work, how confident are you that you will get the business outcome you are seeking?
If we as brand marketers, creatives, advertisers, storytellers and everything in between can’t prove the value we deliver at the price point we command, our industry is dead. And whether a brand or an agency that helps build them, if we can lift lean principles from an increasingly commoditized market and truly demonstrate our ability to do what no one else can, we’ll not only be able to compete, but to win.
Tim Dyer is Chief Storyteller of Manifesto, a brand declaration agency. Manifesto has offices in Portland, OR and Milwaukee, WI.