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If you’re lucky, your company has an in-house creative team. Those folks may work magic with visuals, but they aren’t actually magicians; there are some very practical things you can do that will make their lives easier and enable better work on your projects.
1. Know what you want! Don’t be vague.
-Make sure you understand the request. Before you even start on your engagement, ensure you have a very clear understanding of what you and your client want. If you can’t explain it clearly, Creative won’t be able to read your mind.
-Write a really detailed creative brief, if the creative warrants it. If you are requesting new creative concepts or designs, take a few extra minutes to pull the brief together. At a minimum, ensure you’ve included: a project description, target audience, and competitor detail.
-Include all end deliverables required. What is the client expecting to receive? What format(s) do you need? If you are expecting a certain number of concepts, tell us!
-Be as specific as possible. While giving the Creative team free rein sounds good, it’s often a recipe for disaster. We won’t know what you want and will invariably get it wrong, which will lead to more creative cycles and more time required of all parties.
2. Give us everything up front.
-Provide us with your style guide or brand guidelines, logos, etc.
-If you would like to use — or are thinking about using — and specific images, include them.
-If we need to source imagery, provide details.
-Send any existing assets from current or past campaigns; landing pages, etc.
3. Give thoughtful feedback.
-Just telling us ‘it looks good’ isn’t useful (unless you really think the design can’t be improved on). Constructive feedback before you send concepts to the client is really useful. We would rather iterate and send our best version to the client and possibly eliminate cycles. That said, don’t go crazy – being nit-picky isn’t helpful, either. While we all want to get it right, but at some point, you need to leave well enough alone.
-Client feedback is crucial, but a) curate the feedback so it makes sense to the creative team; b) consolidate the comments and send feedback once. Providing piecemeal feedback will add cycles and time.
-Don’t be afraid to push back on your client. While we definitely want their feedback, remember the end goal. Is their feedback relevant, and does it make sense to you? Vet it before you communicate it with your Creative team.
4. Remember the project scope.
-Are you/or your client asking for deliverables beyond what was originally scoped?
-Be cognizant of the number of creative rounds offered. While we don’t want to ‘nickel and dime’ the client, creative revisions can get out of control. It’s up to the account owner to keep the client’s expectations in check.
-Are the number of creative rounds putting you off schedule? If you have a hard end date, keep that in mind as you run through creative rounds, wait for feedback, etc. While your creative team will do their best to meet your deadline, remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. It takes time to be creative and to deliver quality work.
5. Consider: is it really urgent?
-Be realistic with your timeline. Is the project really urgent, or can the deadline be flexible?
-Everything can’t be the top priority, so consider the size of your client, the deliverable, the schedule, etc.
-Of course, if it is urgent, treat it as such, and Creative will prioritize accordingly.
-Talk to us. Do we need a kick-off call? Is there any background that might be useful?
-While we love chatting with you, make sure all your feedback is included in the project management tool. It’s key to have everything documented.
-Is the client unhappy? Have we missed the mark? Please let us know. We take pride in our work, and if we aren’t meeting expectations, we need to fix it. We can start again or add in an extra concept, but we always need to know.
-On the flip side, did we do a great job? Has our creative improved performance? We want to know this too! A pat on the back is always nice — and it’ll help us grow, create best practices, etc.
-While your project management system is key to keeping all your feedback consolidated, come chat (either in person or online). Looking at the concepts together can bring fresh ideas, help streamline the feedback, and keep the project moving along.
7. Be patient — and remember, we’re partners.
-Be mindful that it takes time to produce original, quality work.
-Remember that it’s a partnership. At the end of the day, we all have the same goals.