When we set up Frank! Communication Solutions we called it Frank! because we wanted to be an agency where we were honest and upfront with our clients. Five years on I still get asked to work on projects that I don't really believe are 'right' for the client. The dilema is whether to work with the client on the project or to refuse the project and assume that it will still go ahead with the client working with an alternative agency.
If we refuse the project then we are missing out on a business opportunity but if we accept the project and don't highlight our issues then we are not being true to our values.
The route that I prefer is to provide the client with alternative suggestions/recommendations that address their communication needs and objectives. This is straightforward in an established relationship when the client understands that you have their business interests at heart but harder when you have not developed a trusting relationship.
So what to do? My client wants to develop their website in the belief that this will bring customers through their doors. I think that they need to freshen up the design and make the text more relevant and search engine friendly. They think that the site needs to dance, to sing and speak at least four different languages. I am sure that I could find statistics to prove that both of us are right. But in this case I think that I will have to gently say 'no' and walk away.
After all, if I can't be true to Frank!'s values then what kind of an agency is it?