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Technological Communication Break-down

Technology allows us to communicate quickly, efficiently and at any time of the day or night.  With the advent of inexpensive or free ftp sites and servers, file delivery services like YouSendIt and sharing services like DropBox and Amazon web services – we can transfer information and large art files in very little time.

This technology saves us time and money – gone are the days where large budgets were spent sending art and disks around overnight or in a matter of days.  Upload, click and send.

However, sometimes technology will give a false sense of completed communication…

Last week a client emailed me a list of products they wanted to debut at the gift show in Atlanta in January.  Well since it is mid-November, we were in a bit of a rush.  I needed to do a few tweaks to the art and get it set up in some templates.  Some of the shapes were different from what I had set up for my overall collection so adjustments would be required to make the art work in the space and for the products.

I was really excited and got right to work.  I set up the art the way I liked it best and emailed jpegs for approval.  Then I waited…

I was surprised not to receive feedback the same day – either a “looks great – send the files” or “can you change this or that?”  This particular client is usually very responsive and we get a lot done once the decision is made.

I knew she was incredibly busy so I didn’t want to be a pest.  I went on to some other work and figured I’d have feedback when I got up in the morning.

Well the next day – nothing.  That seemed very weird especially given the time crunch.  I decided to pick up the phone…

It’s a good thing I called because they were having issues with their server and she had never received my email.  If I hadn’t called, she would have thought I wasn’t working on the project and possibly become upset with me – which would do nothing to keep our working relationship as great as it is.

We got things figured out – were extra communicative through the process because there were a few more blips with their email and we got the art part of the project done.  Phew!

This isn’t the first time this has happened.  Another time I didn’t follow up quickly (because the project wasn’t as time-sensitive) and the person thought I had dropped the ball.  Thankfully I have a good contact management system (Daylite for Mac) so I was able to quickly find the email and date that I had sent the information so they didn’t think I was a flake. :)

Lesson to be learned: Trust your gut over your technology.  If you know how a client normally communicates and it feels off, make sure they have received what you have sent.

Communication, follow-through and building relationships is the key to success in any business and art licensing is no different.  While 99% of the time technology is our best friend, sometimes it goes a bit sideways and we have to make sure we are using our heads as well.

Here’s to your creative success –

Tara Reed

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