The Vulcan argument and how to counter it

Through the years, I've run into clients who give me the Vulcan argument.  It goes like this, "This is a totally rational and logical decision for our prospects. We don't need a concept, we just need to give them the facts."

They usually explain that it's because we're talking to technically oriented people such as veterinarians, engineers, or financial analysts. As if being technically oriented makes you less human.

The fact is that a smart, relevant idea will get shared and talked about – resulting in more exposure and more value for the money spent. So what can you do when you get the Vulcan argument?

Point to a research expert

University of Southern California Professor of Neuroscience Antonio Damasio has said, “We are not thinking machines that feel, we are feeling machines that think.” Point your challenging clients to Dr. Damasio's work.

Point to intelligent work

We need to reassure clients that we can create effective work without resorting to juvenile humor. Unfortunately, we have those in this industry who are more interested in doing something eyebrow raising than doing the thoughtful work to create something smart and interesting. When you're working with the Vulcan argument crowd you get grouped in with the sophmore humor guys.  It makes it tough to ease their concerns that you're going to try and push off something irresponsible on them. Highlight smart ideas you have created for your other clients. Or, at the very least, point to interesting conceptual work in your client's industry.

Stay unemotional about your emotional approach

Clients like to see that you believe in your recommendation.  But they can also sense when creatives are fighting for an idea that's creative for creative's sake. You need to be able to defend the business reasons for the approach. Be passionate about your work, but keep it about business.

If you put yourself in the Vulcan's mindset, you can find a way to win over these tough clients. And you'll find yourself doing more than creating great work – you'll be creating great work with depth and meaning.