So, the day has come, and the creative agency is finally revealing the new campaign to your team! Everyone is excited to see the results. But when the agency reveals their work, it’s not what you imagined.
A million thoughts go through your mind: Why did they use that color? My boss is going to be so mad if he sees this. What about our brand personality? Should I have been more specific? We’re running out of time! Are changes going to cost more? Someone needs to fix this!
Projects involving creative agencies usually require tight deadlines and strict budgets, and these setbacks can cause relationships between clients and agencies to suffer.
Your agency is probably also worried about how your feedback will affect the project cost and timeline. But we have good news! By working together, you can optimize the time the agency will spend completing changes and turn things around — start by giving great feedback.
Don’t know where to start? Read on for seven ways to give better feedback to your creative agency and efficiently move forward on your creative projects:
1. RESPECT THE BRIEF
Creative projects usually start with a briefing document that outlines what work the creative agency will complete. Before providing feedback to your creative agency, always go back to the brief to see if the work delivered matches what you agreed on. We suggest you print out the brief and bring it to the meeting so you are even more prepared. When providing feedback, don’t add anything that wasn’t in the brief.
2. COLLECT YOUR TEAM’S FEEDBACK FIRST
Make sure you check in with all your key team members before sending the creative agency your feedback. Doing this will avoid multiple rounds of feedback that can extend project timelines. Carefully select whose feedback you need — the Fundraising team’s comments are probably more relevant than asking Susan in Accounting what she thinks about the new campaign photos.
3. POSITIVELY FOCUS ON THE WORK RATHER THAN THE PERSON
When something isn’t what we want, we tend to get upset and complain to the person who did the work instead of focusing on what to change. This type of interaction often causes misunderstandings and damaged relationships. Instead, focus on the work you received: the photos, the new logo, the marketing materials. If you need advice on staying positive in these situations, check out these tips on giving positive feedback.
4. START WITH WHAT WORKS WELL
Do you feel the need to jump headfirst into a list of changes and things you don’t like? Instead, stop and take a step back. First, evaluate carefully and let the agency know if you think anything among the delivered materials could work:
- Do you like the concept behind the work?
- Is there a color or element that you like?
- Do you think anything can be used as it is now?
- Can any part of the work be used with small adjustments?
When you ask these questions, you’ll begin to see possible solutions instead of existing problems.
5. SEEK UNDERSTANDING ABOUT WHAT DOESN’T WORK
Don’t be afraid to ask your creative agency questions, like, “Can you explain how this idea is connected to x, y, z?” or “Can you tell us how you got this result?” They’ll appreciate you being involved in the creative process. Remember to refer to the brief if something is totally different from what you discussed and then work together to find a solution.
6. BE AS SPECIFIC AS POSSIBLE
Generally, you don’t need to use complex creative terminology. Just be specific about what you expect to be changed and what you want the agency to do. Would a different color work better? Should they use different words? Should an element from a previous campaign have been kept? Use as much detail as possible in your feedback.
Additionally, the agency will appreciate that you’re making the effort to communicate precisely. Remember: be mindful so you avoid restricting the creative process by giving too many instructions. They should be able to surprise you!
7. BE AN ACTIVE CO-CREATOR, NOT A PASSIVE RECEIVER
Lastly, don’t be afraid to disagree with the agency. Your input is crucial to achieving the result you want. If you feel something should be changed, speak up and collaborate with the agency. The sooner you speak up, the sooner the agency can get to work finishing the project.
Most of all, when giving feedback, remember why you chose this creative agency — they’re a team of talented people who know what they’re doing and can find creative solutions to your problem. Trusting them to do their work is crucial.
At Molina Visuals, we know giving feedback in creative projects can be dreadful. Our team structure includes a Project Manager for every new project, and they’re always willing to work with your team to help you gather your feedback in the best possible way!