Who is the hero?

Now I know how a good actor feels about his/her make-up artist – wouldn’t go on stage without seeing them first. I wouldn’t submit a proposal of any weight without you making me sound good. Nice job, thank you.

That's from a client email I got last night. Talk about an unsolicited endorsement... wow. But the most encouraging part of the compliment is the way it articulates one of my core beliefs. Unfortunately, many designers, marketers and creative types are bent on talking about how great they are. You know the type — every conversation turns into a recounting of their latest unbelievable success. In their minds, they are the heroes. Bogus.

The client is always the hero. Designers, marketers and creative types belong behind the scenes, bringing out our clients' best features and building their confidence. If we go hoarse, it should be from cheering while they're in the spotlight, not from singing our own praises. (It's probably okay, on rare occasion, to write a blog post quoting a happy client. Just as long as it illustrates a larger point.)