Today, we received yet another of the increasingly prevalent solicitations offering overseas support for our branding and graphic design services.

“We’d like to be your back-end support for logo design projects. We offer designs with unlimited revisions for $69.00.”

“If you’re looking for development support, we’re building websites and mobile apps for other agencies like yours. We offer pricing at a small percentage of stateside rates, giving you greater margins.”

These firms are commoditizing our industry, as well as many others. They are shepherding a race to the bottom that productizes what has always been a relationship-based service.

We cannot serve our client’s best interests unless we truly understand them, their product or service, their audience, their industry and their competition. Furthermore, involving them in the development process is the only way to reflect their attitude, personality and style in our work. It is not only vital, it brings to them real ownership of the end result.

All of that requires a relationship of proximity.

This is not about isolationism. We fully support free enterprise and understand how a collaborative world economy can foster innovation and raise all ships. But, to segregate the provider from the client does both parties a disservice. In the long run, we all lose. Our market rates get slashed, our industries suffer and our clients end up with “plain-vanilla” sameness that comes from canned solutions and the geographic, and sometimes cultural, disconnect.

But, what about our competitive edge? Will our business suffer if our competitors choose to employ these sources and drop their rates to steal our business? Perhaps. But, perhaps not. If we all avoid the shortsighted allure of quicker, bigger margins and keep our eyes focused on building relationships and delivering high-quality products and services, we can reverse these trends and secure the futures of each of our industries.

So, we have chosen principle over profits and politics.

We have chosen to decline short-term gains over long-term relationships.

We have chosen to do whatever we can to reverse the commoditization of our industry.

We’re taking a stand. Are you with us?

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