“The client has some feedback”. It’s a phrase that will send chills down the spine of many creative freelancers; triggered by the one bad client that rocked you to your deep insecure artistic core.

The reality...there's two guarantees with any given project: clients and feedback.

Fourteen years ago, I was a young teen with a business name and a fresh copy of Premiere Pro.

What the business name certificate and CD-ROM wouldn't prepare me for was the fact that some people wouldn't like the work I did for them. I built an unhealthy (but common) level of destain for collaboration, feedback and "clients".

Initially, my answer to negative feedback was to hide behind perfectionism. If I laboured over a video edit for long enough, the work would be deemed (by me) to be perfect, and any feedback would be wrong.

Probably a mindset of a cocky, insecure teenager.

I can proudly say that I've moved beyond that time in my life and spent close to fifteen years understanding people, their needs and the toolkit required to successfully collaborate.

The biggest change came when I read Dan Ariely's book, Predictable Irrational. A prolific experimenter and Professor of Psychology and Behavioural Economics, Ariely, through his book, introduced me to what he coined "The Ikea Effect".

"The IKEA effect is a cognitive bias in which consumers place a disproportionately high value on products they partially created."

We value IKEA furniture more, because we help build it. It's why the tacos you made at home taste so good. It has nothing to do with the seasoning and everything to do with the fact you grated the cheese.

I apply this to the client work I do in a number of way:

  1. I don't deliver a "perfect" edit on the first round
  2. I don't preface these imperfections. I let the client be autonomous in the feedback process to understand what they care about.
  3. I will rarely add their logo on version one. "Add our logo at the end and it's perfect" has been said to me more than once.

Ego aside, this is about realising that the creative process is subjective and feedback is inevitable. I see the method of using the IKEA Effect as a way of enhancing a project and using cognitive bias to create successful work that both the client and I are proud of.