Turning client visions into reality

Turning client visions into reality

Co-Founder ‘Malc’ on Turning client visions into reality.

We finally got the opportunity to have a sit down with one of our Co-Founders, Malcolm Coombes, to pick his brains and get a little insight into turning client visions into reality. We were amazed by some of the great points that came from it, so thought it was worth sharing with our fellow creatives and all of you with an interest.

So, what made you choose a career in Design?

It’s funny really, but it’s not something I ever had as a specific goal. I always loved everything creative, art, music, architecture and, especially, the design found in the natural world around us. I found that, symmetry and total chaos, both had their own beauty and drive emotion. That’s what a good creative is all about, driving the emotions of the observer.

How did you get into digital design?

I remember my folks buying an Amiga 500 in the early 90’s and it had a very basic paint programme on there. I designed a logo for my dad’s plumbing business, and,  low and behold it ended up being used as his actual business logo. I don’t think I would have been as supportive as a parent, but he obviously had an unfounded, if not biased belief in my design abilities. Back then, I literally had to zoom right in and draw it pixel by pixel, there was no masking, layers, effects etc. I would have been about 11 years old I think. I didn’t do much with digital design for a few years after that really, but carried on with sketching, painting and drawing etc. When I was in Comprehensive School, we had a couple of close family friends to visit. They had a small start-up web design business. I overheard them talking about a client who kept turning down their concepts. An idea sparked, so I sketched out an idea for them on paper. A couple of weeks later, they approached me and offered me a job when I left school. As it turns out, they took my idea, based a concept on it and the client signed it off. And that was that. When I left school, I joined the world of Coreldraw and Frontpage 97 lol. A couple of years later, we were expanding and the owners took on Steve (FAs other Co-Founder).

How did you go from there to running your own agency?

Steve and I hit it off and had pretty fruitful careers at our previous agency, which happened to grow to be one of the largest at the time in the Bristol area.

When we broke away to go it alone, word got around that me and Steve were still working together so we were approached by clients that we had previously worked with. It was great timing as it gave us the ability to continue to work with some large clients, even though we were a ‘two man band’. By this point, we were doing lots of interactive flash stuff, and, of course, focussed all of our efforts into making everything look awesome. And we’ve just been growing from there really.

Why the name change from Fluid2 to Fluid Agency?

It’s quite simple really. There were 2 of us but now there are more. We wanted to keep the term ‘Fluid’ firstly, because that’s what our clients call us, but also because of what it’s always meant to us. ‘Fluid’ has a way of overcoming obstacles. It navigates through and around, over and under until it reaches its destination. For us, good, creative marketing does just that. It navigates in such a way that it overcomes objects and reaches the ocean or relevant customers. Nothing can stop our results lol.

After all of these years, how has your role changed?

Quite a lot now actually. I work in a much more Consultative manner now. I work with businesses to turn their vision into reality, help them set budgets and map out a plan of action.

How exactly do you turn a client’s vision into a reality?

Obviously, that can depend on the client’s vision, industry, budget etc but I’ll try to explain as best I can for you.

A client will have a business idea, it could be a product or a service for example. They have their reasons to think that there is a place for ‘said product’ or service within a marketplace. Of course, after all these years I get a pretty good idea if its a viable idea or not, but even with that I try not to let it guide my opinion too much at this stage.  Market research always come first. This way we can get a better understanding of the market itself, and, the potential for the clients project to succeed. The last thing we would want is to throw a large amount of money at something that is already out there, or into an oversaturated market. We also hold workshops with the client themselves to really pick apart their USPs and, of course, their overall objectives as a business.

Once we have established where the route to market is, we can start getting an idea of costs to make the clients vision a reality. Do they need a brand? website? online store? UI/UX requirements? social media campaigns?automation campaigns? videos? animation explainers etc. Understanding this then gives us a project scope for launch.

After gathering all of this information and mapping out the costs and timeframes, we are able to start the cool stuff like the brand design etc.

All this leads to my favorite part. The bit where you can see the results of a conversation that’s led to a complete product range or business. It’s a great feeling.

It’s not done there though…. Then the analysis and constant adjustment come in once we start gathering our clients customer data, but that’s another topic all together.

After all these years and what you’ve learned along the way, do you have any advice?

I could waffle about this stuff all day, you’d think I’d be bored of it by now, but creating brands and being part of business growth is how I get my fix lol.  In all seriousness though, there are a few things I have learned. I’ve learned to never assume you know it all. Even a young blood can have insight or an idea that presents a new perspective which could be really valuable. I’ve also learned to do your research. This industry is results-driven, and though we pride ourselves on awesome creativity, the bottom line always has to be results. Show your method and back it up with evidence that your methods have worked. Become an essential ally to your clients. Understand them. Take the success of their business personally and revel in the delight of it when it’s achieved. Finally, I would say that main thing that I have learned is not to focus on the value of a specific project but focus on getting it right… If you are adding value to your clients, then their business will be hitting its objectives and they will be confident to reinvest their budgets with you time over. This is what has given us a solid, long-lasting relationships with businesses from startup to stock market.

Ok, last question. Would you like a cup of coffee?

Lol, I think we all need one after that. Cheers guys.

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