Establishing Meaningful Client Relationships


The last Action Research panel focused on client relationships in the business and art world. Professor Matt Bailey presented a perspective on clients from a career in information systems and Professor Tulu Bayar presented a perspective on clients from a career as an artist. These two panelists provided very different viewpoints to business relationships than I had previously thought about, as I am not pursuing a career in either area; however, a combination of their perspectives provided an interesting comparison.

While Bailey’s work concentrated on pleasing the clients throughout a project and providing a valuable service to them, Bayar’s work is more self-focused and meant to provide meaning on a larger scale to society. The most interesting difference in their presentations was the purpose behind the work they presented, but at the same time, both career viewpoints have the objective of providing a significant resource to their clients.

Bailey does this by bettering the business of his clients by making their operations more efficient and productive. Through this, he is focused on giving his clients the potential to perform their services better than they would have without him, and so, he is focused on the long run results of his work. However, in the end, Bailey’s services must meet his clients’ expectations, needs, and preferences. His work is client driven in every step of a project.

Although Bayar said that in her work, she is always thinking about her audience, she never changes her product (art) in response to client wishes. Art is not meant to accommodate the audiences’ wishes, it is meant to provoke an emotional response, of any level, in the audience. Bayar first creates her work and then she pursues venues and curators who are interested in her style of art. In her presentation, Bayar said her goal is to leave room for the audience to use their own imaginations by making it an interactive experience with visuals and sounds. The purpose behind her work is to create a powerful piece that provides some larger meaning to the audience; it isn’t about the subjects, it’s about the larger commonality between each piece and subjects. Rather than her work being client driven in every step of the process like Bailey, Bayar’s work is client driven in the long run since she creates her art to provoke a public conscience about some societal issue.

By the end, both Bailey and Bayar integrated their perspectives to explain the importance of comprising between your own goals for a project and the larger significance of the project to the clients. In addition, they discussed the obstacles of completing a project to their own satisfaction while meeting constraints such as time and money. Overall, when dealing with client relationships, it is important to maintain those relationships by establishing a larger meaning in your work for your client or audience while also thinking in the long run about the next project.

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