How To Give Great Feedback To Your Creative Agency

How To Give Great Feedback To Your Creative Agency
SHARE
THIS



Giving great creative feedback doesn’t just help deliver a better idea, it’ll help your agency relationship shine too.

Ever felt the tension in a room when feedback is about to be given to the creative agency? These sessions often start with some nervous jokes, polite smiles and pleasantries about the weather. Looking down from the smiles you’ll see white knuckled apprehension gripping the pens held by agency personnel (not too far away from the approved creative brief – if indeed there was one).

This video link although clearly fictional raises knowing smiles whenever I play it in training sessions because we’ve all been there. But happily when I reflect over the years of creative development and feedback, some clients did it better than others. They were also, not coincidentally, the ones that managed to get amazing creative work, great results, won awards and had a happy agency life they celebrated. It got me thinking – why isn’t it always like this?

What is it about the way these clients went about business that made agencies perform so well? When it came down to it – there was a some big ticket items these clients held.

1. An appreciation for the creative process

2. The desire to deliver well thought through briefs

3. They gave great creative feedback in a great way

I’ll talk about the magic of great briefs another time because there is enough already written on that so lets talk about the often under-rated and underestimated quiet achiever of the three points above Creative Feedback.

The 10 tips of getting it right.

1. Start with a clear creative brief

The no-brainer. There’s no short-cut here. Take responsibility for your expectations. Be clear and transparent about how you will evaluate the creative response, be open to discussion with your creative partners. If your brief has clear outcomes, a sharp understanding of your target audience, a relevant brand offer and a differentiated tone of voice – that’s a great place to start. Best of all it gives you a strong foundation for creative feedback.

2. Smile

This is NOT brain surgery. More than ever these days your target audience DEMANDS inspiration, entertainment , humour and light relief from advertising communications. If you get too serious – you’re gonna lose.

3. Know your target audience better than anyone else

This will help you remember that the creative idea is not talking to you – your boss or your partner. It’s likely aiming to influence someone completely different to you who is likely interrupted with messages, intercepted with unwanted offers and generally in info overload mode. Know what presses their hot buttons and important know how to remind your internal stakeholders of this when you re-present ideas internally.

4. Recognise the good first: Create a safe & positive environment

It’s proven by neuroscientists that people perform better creatively when they don’t experience ‘fear’ in the workplace.

“The threat response is both mentally taxing and deadly to the productivity of a person – or of an organisation. Because this response uses up oxygen and glucose from the blood, they are diverted from other parts of the brain, including the working memory function which processes new information and ideas. This impairs analytical thinking, creative insight and problem solving, just when people most need their sophisticated mental capabilities, the brain’s internal resources are taken away from them.”Managing with the Brain in Mind. David Rock. http://www.davidrock.net/files/ManagingWBrainInMind.pdf

In practical terms what does this mean? It means that it’s time to serve a ‘compliment’ sandwich. Recognise the good without being gratuitous, observe where you think the brief has been met and then observe what you don’t understand about the work and how it is/isn’t meeting the brief. Which brings us to the next point.

5. Be a Juror not a Judge: Seek Understanding first

Most of us will have an immediate emotional response to creative work. And we should. That’s how we make decisions about things. Emotions first – thinking later. So recognise this is whats happening to you but unless you are actually the target audience you need to move on quickly to seeking understanding. What this means is that rather than sitting in judgement – ask the agency to clarify how they are meeting the brief.

i.e. Can you explain how you think this is helping our target audience x, y, z? Where in the idea do we communicate x?

By asking the question you are creating an open environment and getting the agency to think constructively and analytically about their own work – rather than encouraging a defensive response. Often the agency is able to better understand where you are coming from when its set up as a question. Better still, you are able to get a perspective from them you might not have considered – helping push the creative outcomes to a better place.

6. Encourage Sharing throughout the creative process

Often it’s easier for marketers to just want to see the ‘creative result’ than be part of the process. In my experience this is the least effective way of getting great work. By keeping an open and sharing relationship you can guide your creative partners by knowing your brand and target audience intimately and they can guide you with their knowledge of how ideas work. Remember your agency works with LOTS of other interesting clients and creative people and can help teach you a thing or two too. Sharing through the process eliminates nasty surprises, like things going over time, over budget not to mention the stress and grief.

 7. Keep your boss(es) in the loop

Nothing undermines great creative work quicker than a boss who hasn’t been kept in the loop. By following Point 6. you are able to manage the people internally with updates, mini -presentations and chances to seek their input and feedback. It’s 101 I know – but you’d be surprised.

8. Be quick, be united. Don’t let the momentum go

You’ll be top of mind in an agency and receive attention quicker, the quicker you respond to a creative presentation. The longer you take – the more attention is drawn to projects other than yours (that have probably been on hold while your job has been a focus ) and you really risk losing vital momentum and head-space of the creative teams involved. So make consolidated feedback a priority and put it in writing.

– In the presentation:

Capture and articulate your initial observations /thoughts based on the brief in the meeting
Seek understanding and ask questions whilst in the meeting or shortly thereafter
– Post presentation:

Consolidated questions/feedback
Meet with agency within 24 hours to discuss
Confirm actions and outcomes in writing.
Seek understanding of timing and next steps.

9. Don’t be a Creative Doctor

Resist the temptation to write the prescription to fix things. Provide feedback on the things you believe need to be addressed to adequately meet the brief – or – change the brief: But becoming the creative person on your own business is a bit like being your own psychologist. You’ll end up going from bad to mad. (i.e. Talking to yourself). If you want to be constructive or if the agency really just aren’t getting your point – provide reference using imagery, other ads, or other examples to illustrate your point.

10. Enjoy!

Remember to think about the advertising and ideas that make you smile. Take your marketing hat off and think about the ads you remember from your past – before your marketing days. It’ll help you remember that advertising and communication is about relationships and entertainment value – and that one piece of communication is not a universal panacea for your business – but great creative relationships built over time, can be.

Tania Farrelly is a Director of Strategy at iSPY and was previously Head of Planning and Consumer Insight at Publicis.

 

Latest News

Women In Media Profile: Zeina Khodr
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Zeina Khodr

When B&T was offered to interview a lady named “Zeina”, we initially thought it was the warrior princess herself.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
39th AWARD Awards Winners Announced
  • Media

39th AWARD Awards Winners Announced

The winners of the 39th annual AWARD Awards were announced tonight in a celebration of the most outstanding creative communications work in the Asia Pacific region. The theme for the night was “Count Yourself Lucky” and didn’t disappoint with a record number of golds being presented. Held at Carriageworks as part of the Semi Permanent […]

Q&A With Cannes Chairman Terry Savage
  • Advertising
  • Media

Q&A With Cannes Chairman Terry Savage

If you mistakenly thought this was an interview with Kojak's Telly Savalas, as it turns out, it's even better than that.

Optus To Phase Out Virgin Mobile Brand
  • Marketing

Optus To Phase Out Virgin Mobile Brand

Didn't much fancy that Telstra story above? Well, perhaps B&T could tempt you with this tasty Optus tickler instead.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
AKQA R&D Teams Up With Google For Semi Permanent 2018
  • Media

AKQA R&D Teams Up With Google For Semi Permanent 2018

AKQA R&D in collaboration with Google has developed a process called Somesthetic Transfer. It uses machine learning to take both the style and texture of an artwork and apply it to another image to be 3D printed with a UV printer. The works will be displayed at Semi Permanent 2018 in Sydney from Thursday 24 […]

WPP’s Health & Wellness To Unveil ‘How Design Can Save A Life” For Vivid
  • Marketing
  • Media

WPP’s Health & Wellness To Unveil ‘How Design Can Save A Life” For Vivid

Design students from Torrens University’s Billy Blue College of Design have partnered with WPP AUNZ’s Health & Wellness division to decode clinical data on ‘Medicinal Marijuana in the Treatment of Epilepsy’. Their creative solutions will be presented at a Vivid Ideas Exchange titled ‘Design can save your life: how can creativity improve comprehension of health data?’ […]

Diversity Case Study Series: The Royals
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

Diversity Case Study Series: The Royals

If you read one diversity case study on B&T today, make it this one. Not that there's any others to choose from, really.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Cricket Australia Finds New Major Sponsor
  • Marketing

Cricket Australia Finds New Major Sponsor

B&T was going to insert a homage to Sherbert's classic "Howzat" here before realising it was naff and showed our age.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
PHD Wins HSBC Global Media Account
  • Media

PHD Wins HSBC Global Media Account

ICYMI, PHD has FTW the HSBC business IRL. It's not so much a LOL or NSFW, but a TL;DR. Ahh, forget the whole thing.

InMoment Accelerates APAC Expansion With Key Acquisition
  • Media

InMoment Accelerates APAC Expansion With Key Acquisition

Customer experience (CX) intelligence platform, InMoment, has expanded into Australia and New Zealand with the acquisition of customer experience agency, brandXP and appointment of Claire Fastier as its APAC business head.

Marketers Need To Focus On Voice Search Right Now
  • Opinion

Marketers Need To Focus On Voice Search Right Now

In this opinion piece, Performics Australia performance content account director Steve Robinson (pictured below) dives into the hazy relationship between marketers and voice-activated technology. From settling family disputes, (“Hey Google, are fossil fuels really made from dinosaur bones?”) to running a household, (“OK Google, add toothpaste to my shopping list”), voice-activated systems are becoming more […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
SpotX Launches Online Resource Library For Publishers Seeking GDPR Guidance
  • Advertising
  • Media

SpotX Launches Online Resource Library For Publishers Seeking GDPR Guidance

Video advertising and monetisation platform SpotX has announced the launch of an online resource library for the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The library can be found on the company’s website and is part of a wider educational initiative by SpotX – which is headquartered in the US and has an office in […]

Daylight Agency Opens Government Division, Hires Legal & Political Expert
  • Marketing

Daylight Agency Opens Government Division, Hires Legal & Political Expert

Integrated communications firm Daylight Agency has cemented its presence in the government and political arena with the appointment of industry veteran David Begg. A practising solicitor for over 28 years, Begg (pictured above) will head up the agency’s new government division. He has extensive experience working with large commercial clients on high-profile regulatory and legal […]

Frost Design Unveils New Look For John Holland
  • Marketing

Frost Design Unveils New Look For John Holland

Frost Design has shown off its comprehensive rebrand of iconic Australian infrastructure and property business John Holland, based around the brand idea of ‘Transforming Lives’. John Holland CEO Joe Barr said Frost was the only branding business who understood that the impact of the rebrand was just as important internally as it would be externally, […]

Women In Media Profile: Jill Johnston
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Jill Johnston

We've got an absolute cracking Women in Media profile today. Not to say it's approved by the Chiropractors' Association.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
First Lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama Dance Together at the Presidents Ball
  • Media

Netflix Secures Producer Deal With The Obamas

It seems former US president Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama aren’t quite done with the international spotlight just yet. The Obamas have officially signed a multiyear deal with Netflix, which will see the power couple producing films and series with the streaming giant. According to Netflix, “The Obamas will produce a diverse […]

How To Spot A Trend Versus A Fad
  • Opinion

How To Spot A Trend Versus A Fad

One need only view our editor's hot pink leg warmers today to realise he's neither fad nor trend.

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Why Engagement Is The New Rule Of Content
  • Opinion

Why Engagement Is The New Rule Of Content

And why is B&T running a photo of an engaged couple for this content engagement article? It was either that or a carrot.

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Fairfax Media Recruits 20 Trainee Journalists Across All Its Titles
  • Media

Fairfax Media Recruits 20 Trainee Journalists Across All Its Titles

Fairfax Media has today announced the recruitment of 20 trainee journalists to join the newsrooms of The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Canberra Times, The Australian Financial Review, Brisbane Times and WAtoday. This represents one of Metro’s largest trainee intakes in years and underlines the commitment of the mastheads to fostering a new generation […]

Sydney Australia - November 7, 2011. An extreme close up of an American express card issued by the Australian bank Westpac.
  • Media

AMEX Launches Global Media Review

Are there not enough hours in the day? Are you cheek-by-jowl with your co-workers? Well, hopefully you won't win this.

Sydney Water & Republic of Everyone Create Vinyl Records Made Of Recycled Marine Plastic
  • Campaigns
  • Marketing

Sydney Water & Republic of Everyone Create Vinyl Records Made Of Recycled Marine Plastic

Sydney Water has pioneered a way to create records from marine plastics and, in doing so, encourage more people to join the movement of local clean-up groups rolling up their sleeves every weekend to clean plastics, litter and other pollutants from the city’s beaches and waterways. Plastics are collected by volunteers, then cut in pieces […]

Credit Card Compare Names Its First Head Of Marketing
  • Marketing

Credit Card Compare Names Its First Head Of Marketing

Aussie credit card comparison site Credit Card Compare has announced the appointment of Caroline Raffan as its inaugural head of marketing. Raffan (pictured above) has over 10 years’ experience in brand strategy, campaign development, digital marketing, events, public relations, content creation, market research, advertising, stakeholder management, social media marketing, and project management. She joins Credit […]

Why Programmatic Needs To Become A Branding Machine
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Opinion
  • Technology

Why Programmatic Needs To Become A Branding Machine

In this opinion piece, Phil Murrell (pictured below), country manager for Australia and New Zealand at Sizmek, argues that programmatic ad spend needs to move up the branding funnel. When I started in digital advertising way back in 2004, we got our media insertion orders via the fax machine. We relied on that machine to […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine