3 Ways to Give Better Creative Feedback
Congrats! You’ve hired a creative agency to bring the thing in your mind to life. It’s exciting and maybe a little intimidating to kick off this relationship. You have the tricky business in front of you of communicating new ideas to new people, and then mesh your vision with theirs. With each round of creative feedback and revisions, you co-create your vision in a way that will best reach and resonate with your audience.
As a creative team, we emphasize transparency and collaboration with our clients. We believe that there’s an art and a science to these relationships, and that it benefits not only our business, but the business to make resources that clarify and strengthen the process on both sides of the brief. So, in the spirit of doing great work together, here are our tips for giving better creative feedback! These simple, actionable strategies help keep good faith throughout the feedback process and keep everyone moving toward the same objective.
GOOD BRIEFS TAKE TIME
In our line of business, a surprising amount of briefs fall into one of two extremes: behemoth corporate copy/paster or scrappy notes were taken on-the-fly. The brief is the first piece of feedback given and is only helpful if it can be referred back to as a source of truth.
Some examples of items that sometimes get missed or lost in a brief are:
- The brand or product’s unique offering.
- Contrasted against your competitors, who is looking at this work, and why should they care?
- The potential future applications and locations of this work.
- Do you anticipate this work might be needed in scenarios beyond the immediate deliverables outlined in the brief? This has implications for the strategy, messaging and execution of the work delivered.
- Which aspects are negotiable, and which are mandatory?
- Being explicit about this will help save everyone time and energy. You don’t want your creative time spinning their wheels on something set in stone at the outset.
If you’re unsure what information is needed for the creative team to succeed, ask! At BOLD LIP, we set everyone up for success with an onboarding discovery session that offers benefits to clients no matter their familiarity with the creative process. There’s nothing quite like getting people in a room, real or virtual, to highlight the outstanding questions and uncertainties in a brief.
SHOW WHAT YOU LIKE, AND KNOW WHY YOU LIKE IT
Supporting that beautiful, robust yet succinct brief, it can be helpful to deliver some examples of visuals or copy you like. It’s supremely helpful to the creative teams to know what parts of it you find inspiring.
Some tips for inspo sharing:
Compile a Pinterest board with your team.
Before sharing it with the creative team, put your heads together about what unifies the content you all selected and describe it on a high level. It’s a useful exercise internally and will help the creative team understand what they’re shooting for.
Be hyper-specific about which elements inspire you.
Here’s the time to beef up on the visual descriptors you might not have touched since high school art class. Opt for tangible descriptors first, like vibrancy, space, and contrast, before the more emotional and subjective descriptors of the “vibe”.
Be clear, collaborative and constructive.
We don’t talk much about how a creative process can be emotional. Everyone’s invested and working their hardest at something they really care about. Alongside maintaining clarity and efficiency in the process, a little good faith goes a long way
Some reminders to bring your best self to feedback delivery and reception:
Take care of yourself first.
Before you dive into a creative review, HALT. That is, stop to check in with your status on the following risk states: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. When we take on complex work in one of these states, we’re more likely to burn out and burn bridges. Don’t underestimate the power of a well-timed snack in keeping a project pleasant and productive.
Pushback is a sign of engagement and passion.
Hot take: a creative team that never pushes back on client feedback is likely not paying attention. Pushback is an important tool to arrive at a common objective and intercept problems proactively. It’s not an indictment of someone’s thinking or expertise.
Don’t be afraid to merge concepts.
If the creative team presents you approaches that each have elements you love, and ones you can live without, open up the conversation to how you can incorporate the parts you want to survive, and leave the ones you don’t.
Don’t give or take feedback personally.
This is where your succinct, beautiful brief comes in. When you’re reviewing a piece of work, to a large extent, your personal preferences aren’t the objective. If the work reflects the brief, speaks to the target audience, and positions the offering accurately, the creative team has done what is asked of them. If work isn’t hitting the mark, it’s worth going back to the brief, determining if it’s delivering on the ask, and re-briefing as needed.
Curious to hear more about our approach or engage in a BOLD LIP discovery session?
Reach out at email@example.com with your next big idea.