16 Jul Feeding back to your creative agency
Creative people are sensitive souls. They’ve often poured everything into a piece of creative work, they’ve explored lots of angles, and it’s very personal presenting a piece of work, often for everyone in a room to then to critique it.
So, what’s the best way to feedback to your creative agency on a piece of work, without offending anyone but keeping the everything and everyone on track of the overall marketing campaign communication objectives?
The following tips will help ensure you and your colleagues are feeding back effectively, so that the whole team (client and agency) end up with a marketing campaign that everyone is bought into and proud of.
1. Refer to the creative brief
When reviewing a piece of creative work, it’s important to always have a copy of the brief in front of you. It goes without saying that this brief should have been signed off by all those reviewing the work. You don’t want to start questioning the brief after creative development has begun. Using the framework of the creative brief means you can access the work and check whether it’s on strategy and if it’s answering problems in brief.
2. Be positive
Creative feedback should always begin with a positive, rather than what you didn’t like or what you want to change. Telling someone what you like about the creative ideas presented will start things on a positive note, it shows respect and shows you’re behind the work. This will make the person much more receptive to other feedback.
3. Ask questions
A lot of thinking will have been done by the creative team on the work, and they will have tried several different options before presenting a final piece of work. Asking why something has been designed a certain way will start a dialogue rather than a one-sided critique. There will be a good rationale, and you may find that it solves issues that hadn’t occurred to you. Equally, your questions may help them see a hole in the work and could be explored further.
4. Remove personal opinion
Just because you don’t particularly like the selected colours or image or headline doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. Rather than saying ‘I don’t like that’ think about whether it’s right for the brand, will it resonate and persuade your target audience. If you really don’t like something, explain why you don’t feel it’s right and what it’s lacking in communication.
5. Explain the problem, don’t provide solution
It’s very common to start to be prescriptive about changes; move that up, make that 10% bigger etc. Rather than providing the solution, say what you think the problem is with the creative work. What didn’t you understand straight away or what distracted you? If you do this it can be addressed through art direction, copywriting and design. Remember, you are the expert on your product. The creatives are the experts on layout, tone of voice and design. This way the creative process will feel more natural, and you’ll likely get a better solution as the problem can be addressed head on.
6. Try not to merge concepts
Often when a number of different creative ideas are presented, it’s natural to like different things in different ideas. It’s not unusual to be asked to take a bit of that from one and a bit of that from the other. The problem with doing this is you start to water down the idea, complicate the message from being single minded or create something new which moves the work off strategy. Select the idea which works best for the brand.
7. Be specific and honest
General feedback is hard to address, the more specific and logical you can be, the easier it will be to address and move towards a final product that everyone is happy with. If you’re uncomfortable with something be honest and say so. Provide context as to why you don’t like something. Say it tactfully and be kind but remember at the end of the day you are dealing with marketing professionals so they will take it on board and address things.
8. Don’t make changes for the sake of it
If you’re working with the right creative agency, the creative work you’ll receive should be in good shape. Amends take time and therefore cost money, so don’t feel compelled to make lots of changes to the work. If it doesn’t need ‘tweaking’, then don’t. This happens when new people are introduced to the process later down the line. By making sure the right people are involved in reviewing the work collectively you can avoid unnecessary amends.
9. Give it the overnight test
There’s a lot to take in when creative work is being presented and reviewed. It’s very exciting seeing a strategy come to life in a piece of work and excitement can sometimes take over. The creative work didn’t come together in an hour so there is no need to feedback straight away. Provide initial feedback on the creative, but don’t make any final decisions. Sit with it overnight and go back fresh to it in the morning, then provide your final feedback.
10. Consolidate your feedback
When feeding back try to ensure that all feedback is gathered from those that need to approve the final product. Gather the thoughts, then list in writing making sure that there is nothing that contradicts the comments, remove opinions and make sure the feedback is clear and concise. Remember the points earlier, provide any problems with the work, not a list of prescriptive changes.