Subject: Reference rights
I’m happy to see that your service that we worked on together seems to be such a success! Please let us know, if there are any tweaks that you’d still need us to do.
I’m coming back to our discussion last time about the reference rights to the project. When I asked for this, and you asked in return, what is the benefit for you, I couldn’t yet answer properly. Now after giving it a careful consideration, I think it would be a good idea. Let me explain.
First, the verb “giving”, as in “giving reference rights”, is slightly misleading in that sense, that it sounds like you’d give something to us (for free) and then you wouldn’t have it any more. Giving reference rights is not taking anything away from you. We simply share something: you have it, and we have it, too. And it doesn’t cost you anything.
Here are some benefits directly to you for giving the reference rights:
1. You get relevant publicity. Our web site has only some 1000 visits per week, but the people there are interested in good design. They are decision makers and influential, trend-setting people.
2. Being an open, networking organization is regarded as quite a positive thing. In the past, conglomerates and corporations were protective, impenetrable fortresses. Mostly, companies don’t want to be seen that way anymore.
3. References are our best marketing and sales tools. Good case descriptions help us a lot! Now, I think that if our design consultancy is commercially strong, can develop new skills and provide you the best talent, we will be a better partner for you. Our success is your success.
4. With a reference you mark your territory. If you are ever worried that we might work for your competitors, a public reference on our site is a good repellent for your competitors to approach us.
5. Getting reference rights motivates us to do our best. If we agree on reference rights before we do the design, we want to present something that we are proud of. When we strive towards brilliant results and achieve this, we’ll both be happy.
I can think of two things that could be somewhat negative for you. I’m sure you’re worried about the dilution of your brand. And you’re right, if your logo is on any crappy web site, it doesn’t look good. So you still need to be picky to which companies you give the reference rights. The other thing might be that your highly skilled in-house design team might not be happy if any credit is given to someone outside. But just perhaps the best remedy to that would be to actually give some visibility and public credit to the internal designers, too.
All in all, I think giving reference rights to a selected, trusted partner whose work you are happy with (like us, I hope), would be beneficial also for you.
So, please consider this, and let me know what you think.