A Creative’s Top Tips On How To Be A Better Client

A Creative’s Top Tips On How To Be A Better Client

In this guest post, Tim Dyroff (main photo), creative director at Resolution Design, talks what things should a prospective client consider when building relationships with their creative partners…

Within the post-production industry you can be sure you will encounter the good, the bad, and the ugly with any given client. From feedback to briefing, issues will arise and we’ll have to find the best way around it to meet challenging deadlines and creative ambition .

So what things should a prospective client consider when building relationships with their creative partners in post? I have been in a great position to observe the last minute, chaotic, crunch time moments with some of Australia’s most celebrated brands. Here’s a collection of key takeaways to sum up what it takes to be a force for good and not leave a trail of destruction behind you as you bring your next campaign to life.

#1 Keep the bidding to a minimum

When putting out a new brief, clients should ask themselves which three businesses should compete for their next project. Spend the time researching the field and look at their talent pool and examples of work. Don’t engage five businesses in your next bid. You’re wasting a lot of valuable time for a small business that really hurts the bottom line.

#2 Briefing

The truth is that a clear brief will result in less confusion, revisions and misunderstandings, something that you definitely don’t want your creative partners to be experiencing as they craft your next campaign. Build a comprehensive brief from the beginning – formats, timeline, the right artwork, versioning – the whole package. The time and energy spent adapting to new information and feedback drives up costs and stress levels for all involved and ultimately is time not spent making the work shine.

Changing the brief midstream is much like telling a builder you want a three bedroom house and then saying, “oh now want a four bedroom house and study – but I still need to be in by Christmas”.

We did a great job with Unilever this year and because we finished the job ahead of schedule we made some fun and engaging social content for them to sit alongside the main campaign just because things had gone so smoothly and it had been such a terrific process for the team.

#3 The dreaded silent treatment

What sometimes follows the pitching process is something that all businesses despise – the silent treatment. Don’t just communicate when you need something. Have the courtesy to call or email in your feedback and decision. Understanding why you lost a bid may prove invaluable to all the businesses involved and lead to improvements at their end that may benefit you on future projects.

#4 Dealing with conflict

When faced with a problem, both parties should always assume positive intention. Why? Because to go in with suspicions is not likely to produce anything positive in any case.

In my experience, things may have been purely misunderstood or need further clarification.

WIP meetings are just that, work in progress, not the time to expect the final product. They are used to steer the creative work in the right direction and align. I usually like to hear something positive first about what’s presented to get the review off on a good note and then hear constructive feedback on things thats arent working

#5  Consolidated feedback

When giving feedback through a conglomerate of different channels it becomes a task in itself to locate / communicate and keep track of current communications. So even if it takes more time, clients should consolidate those fragments of emails or text into one form of communication.

At RES, we have started using Frame IO, a cloud-based collaboration platform that enables us to stay connected with different teams across the globe – on videos, images, and more to streamline our communications process.

So, does this make you a good client?

One final observation is about the clients that I have personally done the best work for – sure, they came to get something but they also bought something.

In my early career I worked closely with Directors Paul Goldman and Iain Mackenzie. They both played a major role in teaching me what they knew about cinematography, film and fine art. They enriched my technical and design skills with an appreciation of photography, cinema and editing craft.I benefited enormously and that translated into an amazing body of work we did together and much of what Resolution is and offers today.

Whatever your knowledge base is, share it. We all have something to learn from each other. Build each other up and you’ll get the best work. And, become a better client.


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Resolution Design Tim Dyroff

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