Cooking With Sauce

7 min read

Sauceblog hero

t Focus Lab, you could say we have a… questionably healthy obsession with SAUCE. No, we’re not talking about ketchup, BBQ, or hot sauce — though our employees and clients alike know we love our hot sauce, too.

We’re talking about SAUCE: Seek to Achieve Unforgettable Customer Experiences.

What Is SAUCE?

SAUCE is our secret ingredient to every client engagement. It means we do everything we can to make our projects the best experience for our customers. And it’s something we’ve put a lot of thought into over the years.

SAUCE means more than just “getting it right.” For us, that’s the baseline. Table stakes. The bare minimum. It means surprising and delighting our customers, truly going above and beyond their expectations.

More than a catchphrase, SAUCE serves as our guiding light — a philosophy that inspires us to do more, to do better for the clients who’ve trusted us with some of the most important aspects of their business, which is so important to them.

In fact, SAUCE is built right into our process here at Focus Lab, and we use it as an internal measure for success for every project we take on.

Why do we care so much about it?

It’s a question that almost answers itself. For one, it’s essential to our core values, particularly Empathy in Action. But it’s more than that. We also love SAUCE because, honestly, it’s fun. Finding opportunities to add a little humanity into our work makes it that much more enjoyable.

What does SAUCE look like?

Every brand is different, every project team unique, and so, SAUCE can show up in a few different ways, like:

  • We deliver an additional, unexpected direction — on top of what was already expected. You were expecting three directions. Surprise! Super secret fourth direction coming in hot.

  • We flex our timeline to accommodate an unexpected shift or life event. Your brand is important, but your well-being is more important.

  • We include a personal touch in a deliverable. Someone on your team mentioned that they’re a diehard baseball fan? Looks like we’re mocking up a baseball jersey with your new logomark. (This actually happened while working with our friends at Voiceflow.)

SAUCE can show up in other ways too, but we’re not going to give away all our secrets here. After all, part of what makes SAUCE so great is how unexpected it can be!

What does SAUCE mean for us and our customers?

It’s nice hearing when a customer’s had a positive experience with us, and sometimes, individual feedback speaks for itself:

  • “Such a smooth process and happy with the deliverables that it’s hard to go back and see what could be done better.” Ryan Masuga, Owner of Masuga

  • “I got nothing bad to say, it’s been amazing. Working with Focus Lab in general has always been a pleasure.“ Frank Valcarcel, Co-Founder of Cuttlesoft

SAUCE goes both ways, of course. Here are a few things our team members have to say about it:

  • “Being encouraged to have a SAUCE mindset pushes me to think outside the box when creating work for our clients. It not only improves the work we’re crafting and helps create something that will delight our partners, but provides inspiration for our team to be innovative and create work that feels truly exciting and original.”

  • “SAUCE shows you really know your client well, because you took the time to listen and understand what would surprise and delight them, and put in the extra effort to make it happen.”

  • "I love learning deep, human things about a client we can tuck into a deliverable to show we care about them and what they have to say."

In short, if we’re cooking with SAUCE — and we usually are — it’s a win-win for both us and our customers.

What happens if a customer isn’t feeling the SAUCE?

SAUCE shows us what happens when we leverage moments of surprise and delight to create unforgettable experiences for our customers. And over the years, we’ve refined our process to ensure that we’re delivering maximum SAUCE on every project.

Sometimes, SAUCE shows up in how we handle challenges during a project. If we aren’t delivering SAUCE — in other words, there’s a misalignment in expectations — we’ll usually catch on fairly early in the project, address it, and figure out what we need to do to provide a better experience.

This is all built into our process. We listen with an open mind as the customer shares their feedback. We dig in to find out what went wrong and how we could’ve done better. We iterate on ways to continue refining our process and seek feedback on those improvements from our clients who come after. And we make sure to take note so we don’t make the same mistakes twice.

At the end of a project, these moments might resurface, with clients expressing their gratitude for how we navigated a delicate situation any agency could have struggled with.

Experiences like this really capture what’s ultimately at the heart of SAUCE: our obsession with tackling a challenge head-on, in an unexpected way, to make our work ultimately more meaningful.

What impact has SAUCE made?

We’ve been in the SAUCE for a while now, and we’ve learned a few things. But lately, we’ve been wanting to dig a little deeper into what it means for us and our customers.

Every project at Focus Lab wraps with a project debrief — a casual chat between our project manager and our client’s driver to understand what went well and what could’ve gone better. Recently, we looked back at 35 project debriefs across 2023 to understand more about the SAUCE we’ve been slinging.

This is a taste of what we found:

  • Clients provided more than 250 distinct positive comments about their experience working with us.

  • The three most common things our clients spoke highly of were the intangibles we offer, our sophisticated process, and the wonderfully curated experience they had.

Folks had positive things to say about everything from the sales process to final asset delivery, but in particular, they noted our working dynamic — how we collaborate and communicate to create a great working relationship — as the single most enjoyable thing about working with us.

Along the way, we’ve also learned that the impact of our SAUCE extends past the projects we complete. For example, our clients love how we use video to present our weekly deliverables, and several told us that they were inspired to implement this way of sharing their work in their own organizations.

SAUCE makes our brand work so much more personal, and almost always, a lot more fun for everyone involved. As much as we love giving it out, we also love hearing about the difference it's made for our clients — both during the project and, sometimes, long after.

But, arguably, what do we love most about SAUCE? Well, it’s dreaming up all the ways we’re going to deliver it next.

A huge thank you to Justin Sims and Sebastian Fryer for your work on this piece.

Photo by on Unsplash

Never miss a post.

Sign up for our occasional newsletter. No spam. Unsubscribe at any time.