How many of you would know what a 15 projector AV was (I use the past tense because no one makes them anymore)☺
However, for those of you who may not… a 15 projector AV was all about 15 slide projectors, moving in synchrony to a recorded audio track. This projector bank was placed behind a huge screen (invisible to the audience) and worked in a particular sequence, which made the images seem like one was watching a film.
My client at the ad firm was a renowned manufacturer of decorative laminates.
They were launching a new category of ‘textured/ 3D’ laminates, and the highlight of the launch was to be a 15 projector AV, directed by a legend, who alas, is no more now.
The first launch conference for their dealers was in a splendid hotel in South Mumbai.
Our 15 projector AV was ready. The client and our CEO arrived to view it the morning of the launch. Neither had seen it before.
The AV was played.
And then there was silence. Which was broken by the voice of our CEO speaking about the changes that needed to be made by the AV producer.
But where was the time? The launch conference was only 3 hours away.
The client stayed silent. I did, too.
Our CEO left. The client spoke with me.
‘Atul, do we really need changes? Do we have time?’
I replied, ‘I can’t say anything about the changes. However, there is no way that we can make them for this evening.’
He nodded, and said, ‘That AV was the most beautiful thing that I have seen in my entire career. Don’t worry. We will run with it without changes. I have no issues, because I trust you, and your firm.’
For the record, the evening event was a smash hit, and the audience asked for an encore, so the AV was actually shown twice.
The product as well as the AV, went on to win many accolades in the days ahead.
What stayed in my mind was what the client had said about trust.
I did not know that I was close to breaking that trust reposed in me in a few months.
A glossy calendar had also been planned for the same client.
15000 had to be printed. Each one 12 large pages.
Photography done. Artwork done. Proofreading done.
Signed off by the art director, the studio head, the copy director, the client and me. Processing happened. Positives checked and signed off by the same people.
The final proofs. Again, signatures of all.
Delivery to be on the 18th December, since the calendar had to be couriered all over India.
Delivery came in. Wow! It looked stunning.
I took a few copies to the client who was delighted on seeing it.
I returned to my office feeling very happy.
There were no cellphones those days, but the moment I reached office I was told that the client had called twice and that it was very urgent.
I called back.
‘Atul, December has only 30 days printed. 31st December is missing’!
I panicked, and checked the calendar, a copy of which I had with me. Sure enough, the month of December ended on the 30th December, instead of the 31st.
The printer was asked to stop the deliveries, manually remove each of the spiral binding combs, reprint the last page with 31 days. He said that delivery would be delayed by at least 4-5 working days.
No options. We at the firm lined up people to fly to different destinations instead of couriering them. This was also done. And the calendars reached on time.
The client called me to compliment the entire team for a great job. I was at a loss for words, when he added, ‘Atul, once again you and your firm have demonstrated your ownership and commitment to our business. That’s why we trust you so much. Thanks again.’
Trust has to be built over time, and through actions.
It involves taking ownership and adding value to your client’s business.
Most client firm relationships flounder because of a lack of trust.
Be very wary, when anyone says, ‘Trust me’, as a throwaway phrase.
The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.