How to face the challenge of a last-minute project
For years, Amity Care has been providing services and licensed group homes for adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and intellectual disabilities (ID) who need 24-hour care. In May, company founder and leader Dennis Dicker was nearly ready to begin offering a new housing option made possible by a proprietary web application.
The option was designed to address a huge unmet need in the population that Amity Care serves: supported housing for higher-functioning adults who want to live independently in a place where they can take classes, find employment, socialize with peers and enjoy local parks, restaurants and community activities.
The new option had a name – Fresh Start – but Amity Care had not yet created the branding, messaging or materials to market it. Then a huge opportunity arose to introduce Fresh Start at a conference for autism service coordinators and providers. But it was three days away.
We had to work fast, but still follow our process to get a result both Amity Care and Hollister Creative would be proud of. The task required close collaboration between the client and a writer-designer team. To compress the timetable, we decided that the branding and high-level messaging would be developed in the course of writing and designing a trifold brochure to distribute at the conference.
As the writer worked out the value proposition and benefits statements that would form the core message, the designer worked on a Fresh Start logo. When the writer supplied draft trifold text, the designer created a draft brochure design.
The client made good on his promise to review proofs quickly, providing feedback that enabled the Hollister team to get the brochure in final form and off to the printer by the end of the second day. During the proofs and changes period, the writer-designer team had already begun work on the next two tasks: to add the Fresh Start program to the existing website and to create a PowerPoint presentation that would tell the Fresh Start story in greater depth and detail.
“Hollister Creative was more than qualified to provide the marketing services needed in such a short period of time and exceeded our standards of quality and professionalism. Our audience was very pleased with the final product.”
– Dennis Dicker, for Amity Care
Three Quick Tips
If you are facing the challenge of a last-minute project, here is some advice that may help:
- Schedule in hours, not days. In a super-fast turnaround situation, it is crucial to start the schedule with what is due, where and exactly when. Then work backward hour by hour to determine the personnel and other resources needed to get the job done on time.
- Compress steps with care. Following your tried-and-true process is the key to quality control. You can compress steps, but you can’t skip any. Make sure the client still weighs in at key decision points along the way. In the final rush to meet a deadline, pause for an editor to proofread the piece. One typo will deflate the joy of a job otherwise well done.
- Get commitment from the client. To make a quick turnaround possible, the client must agree to be readily available to answer questions and review work in progress. While you can’t expect anyone to idly await your calls and emails, you can pre-schedule check-ins during windows when the client is not in meetings.