Six Creative Client Experiences

July 3, 2023

Six Creative Client Experiences

This article was originally published on July 3, 2023; it was updated on July 10 and July 17, 2023.

One quick note on the WHY of creating memorable client experiences:
The point here is to make sure you are connecting the dots for your clients. What you do to stay on brand and create memories must make sense to who you are. Otherwise, there will be a disconnect. When you do this:
• You stay on brand
• You make your client feel like you know them
• You are seen as authentic and real
• You create a wow – either a WOW! or a Whispered Wow (both matter)
• You create a talking point
I could go on and on about why this is so important, but for now, scroll down to get ideas and see marketing creativity at work! Then, go do it yourself!

1 | Flower Arrangement Welcome
I was working for a large, resort hotel and we had a huge company coming in that was spending zillions of dollars on a meeting. The CEO of this company was also coming in and was staying in the presidential suite. As is the norm, we planned a welcome amenity with a bottle of wine, personal note from the general manager, a robe with his initials, etc.

All of this was beautiful and well-done, but here was the special part – the Whispered Wow. Even though the CEO lived in California at the time, he was originally from North Carolina – and very proud of it. He made this very clear in his bio, his social media, etc. So, instead of the standard (and over-the-top) floral welcome amenity, we ordered HUGE branches of blooming dogwoods and put them atop the grand piano. Why?

The dogwood is the NC state tree.
The note read, “Welcome to Ventana – we hope you feel as home here as in North Carolina. We thought we would bring a bit of it to you for your stay.”

2 | Perfect Pairings

client experience cookies and milk

Mini but memorable perfect pairings: Cookies & milk, grilled cheese & tomato soup

Imagine an engagement party, a company event to announce a new partnership, or a new line that you will carry, etc. Serve hors do’oeuvres that are “the perfect pairings.” See descriptions below the images.

miniature margaritas

Tiny Coke with fried chicken & waffles, pretzels & beer, tequila & tacos

3 | Welcome With a Flair

client welcome packet
For those of you who don’t always meet your clients until they pay you (stylist, photographer, designer, consultant, etc.), please, please create a simple welcome packet.

It’s always a good idea to do something special when emotions are high, and when they pay that deposit, emotions are high! Even if you aren’t expected to get to work immediately, they have paid you and want to see something. Send a packet that says, “I am so glad you are here – here’s what you can expect, etc.”

4 | Which Cocktail Napkin?

monogrammed cocktail napkin client experience
Okay – this one may sound so small, but it can matter. I still remember having a martini at The Four Seasons Hotel in New York about ten years ago and the exquisite linen napkin they used. It can be printed or cloth, just make sure it is on-brand. This is especially important if you are hosting a meeting, a presentation, a party, etc. One of my favorite things is to order white linen napkins (or your color) and have various initials in the corner. If you have multiple guests and you can give them each a napkin with their initial (Janice gets a napkin with a J, Ashley an A, etc.), it is such a Whispered Wow. You don’t have that initial? Make sure to have some backups monogrammed with your logo icon (discreet placed in the corner).

Bonus: Form a relationship with the person who monograms. And order these same napkins as part of a gift for your client later.

5 | More Creative Than Business Cards

tish mills bathroom
At a showhouse I attended a few years ago, most of the designers would leave their business cards or perhaps a postcard with an image of the room for the visitors to take – Marketing 101. One of the most creative (and still-remembered ways) was Tish Mills’ Master Bath where she put a huge container of small guest soaps, wrapped and labeled with her name and contact information. It was a design moment that fulfilled the marketing need. Brilliant.

soap business cards

6 | Donors Are Clients, Too!

orchestra players
Don’t skip over this example just because you don’t have donors. Actually, if you look at some of the best donor programs, you can find some wonderful ideas for your own clients.

It was a Tucson Symphony Orchestra dress rehearsal and about 12 of our major donors were invited to cocktails before the final rehearsal of a huge opening night. However, this time they didn’t sit in the theatre and watch (which was still pretty special since they were the only ones there). Instead, we seated them within the orchestra itself – beside the 2nd flute, etc. They were all scattered about and had a brand new perspective on the where and why of their donations.

—By Kimberly Sundt, a brand experience specialist who helps interior designers and small lifestyle businesses get out of their marketing rut and instead, create elevated, on-brand client experiences that do the marketing for them