Failure is part of the game, a fact of business that’s perfectly acceptable just as long as lessons can be learned from it. Back in 2010 we were approached by a startup cab company that was venturing upmarket into the realm of becoming a chauffeured limo service. Their request was simple, “a few website concepts for a high end Limousine Charter service”. We remember thinking it seemed a little strange when they clammed up as our team began to make standard project inquiries hoping to learn more about their business so the proofs had a higher chance of success. Despite this, the scope and subject matter was straight forward so we didn’t think much of the secrecy and obliged.
A few weeks later we delivered a presentation including the layouts you see here. Their sentiments about the creative direction seemed to be about 50% praise, 50% indifference. The stated problem being that it almost felt too exclusive or out of reach for their target demographic. Well, it would’ve been nice to understand more about your company, namely, who exactly your demographic is, we thought to ourselves as they haphazardly threw out critiques. I had the feeling they didn’t have a crystal clear identity yet but that’s not uncommon to startups and they seemed willing enough to move forward so we obliged yet again when asked to furnish an estimate.
Turns out our quote was too high for their little startup that at the time, had yet to even decide on a name. We ended up sticking to our guns and wouldn’t negotiate much at which point they respectfully declined our proposal. About six months down the line, our CEO reached back out to say hello as we typically do with the clients we didn’t win over only to discover they ended up hiring a rival firm that created the website, branding and marketing for their “little startup” which had since been given the name Uber.