Lead with Strategy, Excel with Design Like a good tailor, our goal is to provide clients with the perfect fit for their brand—one that meets their practical needs while expressing their personality. By taking the time to understand our clients’ needs and goals from the beginning, we’re able to glean important insights about where they are, and where they want to be. More importantly, it gives us the opportunity to discover and scrutinize what the client doesn’t know, whether it’s something they haven’t told us, or where they haven’t been consciously looking. Once we identify the blind spots, this is where collaboration truly begins, as we can start to work with the client to select the appropriate strategic tools. This is fairly common throughout the industry (and many others, as Mr. Salerno shows us). The key, though, is to strike a balance between undertaking our own research, and honoring the client’s input as the expert in their field. Likewise, we also need to make sure both sides of the table are speaking the same language. For example, if we’ve determined that a brand should “feel modern,” then everyone involved should understand what that means within the context of the brand, since “modern” can be interpreted in many different ways. Once we’re able to get on the same page, the strategy we’ve developed together will inform the design. Having a closely integrated partnership is fundamental to how we work at Mucca. Our clients’ vision for their brand is a valuable foundation from which we can build, using our expertise to tailor solutions that goes beyond their expectations. As we like to say, the most brilliant strategy is nothing without an impeccable design to implement it. At the end of the day, it’s the craftsmanship, creative intuition and unexpected details that bring a brand to life. We want our clients to be the best advocates of our work, so we involve them at every stage in our process—just as the best tailors do.
As the Managing Partner at Mucca, I’m often asked by new clients to elucidate our creative process. A few years ago, I used a story drawn from my childhood as an analogy to explain to a prospective client how we work. It proved to be such a valuable tool for fostering the kind of relationships we seek—those based on trust, respect and creative collaboration—that I’d like to share it with you. When I was younger my mother would bring me along on her regular visits to our local tailor, Mr. Salerno. Mr. Salerno had a sterling professional reputation, but he was most known for his friendliness and warmth. Our visits always began with passionate conversations about the latest fashion trends—and that was even before he reached for the measuring tape. Every question he asked was geared towards understanding my mother’s personality and taste, including her strong opinions on certain styles, fits and fabrics. My mother was always amazed by what Mr. Salerno was able to recall later in the process, and how seamlessly he could weave her sense of style into every dress. Between his expertise and ideas, and her constant feedback, each piece was truly a work of collaboration. Perhaps more than anything, it was this feeling of mutual ownership that kept us coming back to Mr. Salerno. Over the years, I realized that Mr. Salerno’s approach was about building a rapport with his client. His talent and skill were topnotch, yes, but he was more than just an expert craftsman. He succeeded because he was a master of client service.