07. June 2010 · Comments Off on Why On A Mission? · Categories: Marion on a Mission, On A Mission

I have attended too many trade fairs without a clear purpose. I would speak to designers as an advisor, work with them as a design management consultant, and give the best advice I could, still…

I once went with a client to a trade fair in the UK and almost had to drag him to meet people at their stands. So clearly there are creatives out there who just don’t enjoy speaking to people at trade fairs and perhaps don’t think it’s their place. Others might enjoy speaking to strangers but may fail to get some crucial points or questions across:

What I do at stands:

  • ask exhibitors about how their company works in terms of production, expertise, commissioning, sales, etc
  • be as clear as possible about how I work (this is the difficult bit!)
  • keep the conversation to the right length
  • make simple promises.

I found that companies were very happy to speak to an intermediary as it means fewer, more informed enquiries.

When I first tested On A Mission with a designer in Milan last year, I asked a lot of questions including how companies want to be approached by designers, how they select designers they work with and when is the best time in the year to contact them.

In India I now have a sense of how people work, alongside an historical overview of the companies I’ve met and their specialities. I have met people face to face – an important aspect of my time here as business in India, much like most other places, is based on human interaction. In Delhi I stopped at a stand and, as the conversation developed, got to hear how the company interacted with large businesses. They often found their relationship with bigger companies was too one-sided. They therefore tend to work with medium sized companies, with whom they are more on a par, or smaller ones that they can help grow.

Such information is crucial to my work. It adds a new flavour to the nature of the information I collect and makes the exchange more personal. Don’t you think that there is a paradox here?  You either play to the big confident guys, speaking like robots or you share failures and learning and engage successfully on a human level?

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