Tag Archives: content strategy

(SP) Defining the Client in a Mom-and-Pop Shop

4 Dec

One of the benefits of blogging about a project as it happens is that it enables you to talk out the major problems that will end up having a minor place (or none at all) in the final report.  In this case, I need to answer an incredibly stupid-sounding question in order to obviate a cascade of smaller problems later in the rest of the project.  The question is, “Who is the client?”

[Silence as “Is this a trick question?” begins to sink in.]

No, this is not a trick question.

I am given to understand, by real UX designers, that establishing the client as an entity is something that’s done… by the client.  (It’s also, if you’re smart, something you do BEFORE you sign up for the project.)  Good to know.  But when you’ve volunteered to work gratis, essentially unsupervised, it’s the sort of question you have to puzzle out yourself.

“Small Packages” is the main output of Ninja Camel Productions. Like an increasing number of actors, “Mom” and “Pop” incorporated Ninja Camel years ago so that the pair of them would have the option to write and produce their own content between paid gigs.  The company has produced a couple of small projects, but “Small Packages” is the first major initiative to take off (go Camels!).

As a tiny store, Mom and Pop are not only the main actors and writers of the series, but they’re the producers, business and marketing department, and doing all the major behind-the-scenes part of running a company, with the help of some friends and volunteers.  To the best I can tell, there is no one “running the shop” on a day-to-day basis.  When the series is in production, the production company becomes the series because that’s where the owners is completely involved.

You can see the conundrum, can’t you?  There’s no division between the show, the production company, and the owners as entities.  As the legally-inclined know, no matter how similar their interests, every entity in a court case needs a different advocate to represent them.  In this case, what’s best for the series or the production company is not necessarily what’s best for Mom and Pop.  It’s a Russian doll or a collapsible cup scenario.

Collapsible Cup

No, it’s not an onion.

To complicate things further, “Small Packages” was created by Ninja Camel, which was essentially designed to enhance the acting careers of Mom and Pop.  How do you differentiate between the different entities when they’re all represented by the same people?

Given the time and human resources available for this project, I decided to focus on the widest ring of that cup, the webseries itself.  But if this project leads to future work for the client, doing that preliminary groundwork will put me in a better position to discuss overall content strategy.