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The DBA’s Board of Directors is fundamental to the work we do. Elected from the membership, our Directors possess diverse experience of bringing design to the strategy-setting c-suite of business. They work closely with the DBA’s management team to develop the strategy and frameworks by which we support the sector to drive design ever further up the agenda in business and government, and together as an industry can build universal confidence in design investment.

Tim Duncan, Founder & Managing Director, TDC PR

“Having been a member of the DBA Experts Register for some years now, as well a close friend of the organisation for over a decade, I’m delighted to be joining the Board to assist with the macro communications strategy for the DBA.

The cumulative value and/or output of what I do day-in-day-out with the team at TDC is to underscore the significance of design as a sector, as well as helping to inspire younger generations to understand they can have a wholly viable career path in the field given the pantheon of specialisms across the industry.

The DBA represents a sector lynchpin and it is an honour to join the Board. I relish the opportunity to apply and share my knowledge, working in partnership with the DBA team to further develop the communications strategy.”

John Gleason, Founder & President, A Better View Strategic Consulting

“Design – as a strategic business practice – has so much potential to create value, for brand and businesses – as well as for the humans in these ecosystems. I see much greater potential than is presently being delivered. I believe that design is, presently, under-leveraged and under-appreciated by too many companies, brands, and business leaders.

The DBA is uniquely positioned to continue to be a catalyst, a beacon, and an enabler for these challenges. I believe that I would add value to the amazing credibility and standing that the DBA already enjoys, and positively contribute to challenges and opportunities facing the design industry.”

Nicola Tiffany, Managing Director, HMA

“Having been a DBA member for over 20 years, we have always valued the contribution of the association to the design industry and the knowledge and insight it provides to its members. More specifically, I’d like to see a focus on digital and tech higher on the agenda and promote diversity in this area (particularly women in tech).

During the pandemic, we’ve seen a significant rise in the importance of design within the healthtech space we operate in. For us, this has led to a significant increase in demand at a time where we are facing a creative and digital skills shortage. This skills shortage is something we’re keen to help tackle through the DBA.

Aside from the skills agenda, my interest in joining the DBA Board of Directors lies in giving something back in return for the support the association has provided to us and many others over the years.”

The DBA Board of Directors is Chaired by Warren Hutchinson, Chief Experience Officer & Founder at Else.  

After many years of service, the Board Directors stepping down this year are The Engine Room’s Lesley Gulliver and Spring’s Erika Clegg. The DBA would like to offer our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Lesley and Erika for their commitment to, and support of the DBA over the years.

Further details about DBA Directors, other members of the Board and its role, can be found here.

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  • We discussed how the issue of sustainability will change the positioning of our businesses over the coming years as markets, consumers and our clients demand that we live, work and design sustainably. Matt talked us through the journey his own business has been on as it has worked to embed sustainability into every decision they make and signposted us to the Business Impact Assessment as a great tool to use.
  • Sigrid and Matt took us through the importance of seeing this as a journey and not being afraid to share what you’re doing, reflecting the journey you’re on and communicating with clients and consumers with honesty, as well as the need to avoid green-washing. Starting somewhere, assessing where you are already and acknowledging that you have more to do over time is a great approach. There are a range of resources and organisations to consider aligning with on your journey, from B Corp to the UK Business Climate Hub and the UN Global Compact.

Our Members’ Forum takes place on the first Monday of each month, at 4 – 5pm. If you would like to attend, get in touch here.

Due to bank holidays our next members forum will be on Tuesday 3 May.

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Main Content

1. Clarity

Your website is your shop window. Even if most of your new business comes through word-of-mouth, clients will still take a look at your website before making contact.

Their greatest frustration is not being able to quickly understand what the agency’s strengths are – what is the main thing you are good at and can add the most value in?

You need to clearly and concisely, without resorting to industry jargon, explain what you do and your point of difference from the thousands of other design agencies.

Here’s one way you can make your website work harder.

2. Lack of time

Clients are extremely time pressured.

  • 76% of clients complain of being extremely time pressured.
  • 89% say their market is moving faster than ever before.
  • 79% say they are unable to give as much consideration to longer term brand building as they would have liked.
  • 66% of clients stressed the need for short, sharp, and concise communications.
  • 44% of clients believe that there is less time for consideration and reflection.

But there are opportunities for agencies armed with this knowledge. Those with concise, clear communications illustrating how they can solve specific problems, can cut through.

Those who understand the client’s market and specific issues can help build longer term strategy into their solutions. By helping the client, rather than adding to the noise, the agency can become a valued partner.

3. Getting a foot in the door

Clients do not have time for speculative new business meetings. They want to feel like they have ‘discovered an agency’ rather than being sold to. Which begs the question – how does an agency make sure they are the one that is discovered? Content marketing is the key – to draw clients towards you. But it needs to be relevant, insightful, authentic and real.

The top 3 new business door openers are:

  • Primary research
  • Understanding of a strategic issue
  • Definitive case study

And through all of this remember that 90% of clients believe that the best agency new business approaches are like an ‘informed discussion’.

4. Client servicing will usually be the reason for the relationship breaking down

87% of clients with a weak relationship with their agency cited client service issues as the reason. Agencies which work hard on developing clear and concise reporting methods to keep their clients informed on progress have an advantage.

5. There are always ways to improve

The report asked clients which area of their business they wished their agency knew more about. The results give agencies an idea of the questions they need to ask and the skills they need to develop to really become valued partners with their clients.

  • Commercial realities – understanding the client’s priorities and pressures.
  • Operations – how does the business work and what are their challenges.
  • Internal – stakeholders, approval process and how decisions get made.

Download the Report and watch the webinar recording

DBA members can watch a recording of the What Clients Think Report launch, delving into the report’s findings.

Access the DBA webinar recording here

 

Download your copy of the 2022 What Clients Think Report produced by Up to the Light in association with the DBA. 

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