[Whether you are working with an internal creative team or in collaboration with an advertising agency, it’s the most exciting part of any project, and usually the toughest””providing constructive feedback on a print ad, web design, logo concept, etc., that your creative team has presented. How do you judge if it’s on target or not? And, if not, how do you move the process forward in a constructive and cost-effective way? The following are some tactics to think about:
1. You Are Not the Customer
Even if you share the same demographics and psychographics of your target customer, it is impossible for you to view your creative objectively, like a prospective customer would. You are too close to the inside process. You live it and breathe it every day, and as a result you can never put yourself in the same position as those people who have yet decided to buy from, trust or visit you. As a result, don’t let your personal views get in the way of your success.
2. Strategy Is King
Compare what the ad is saying/doing to what you agreed it needs to do in the creative brief. Is it aimed at the right audience? Does it use language they will respond to? Does it say clearly why you’re different from your competitors? Will the visuals draw the attention of your target audience? The purpose of the creative brief is to set a target so that you can hit a bull’s-eye with your creative.
3. It’s Good to Be Bold
Does it feel safe? Then it’s probably not going to get any attention. Resist the urge to play it safe or do what’s predictable. You’ll never rise above your competition with “safe.” With literally thousands of messages bombarding your prospects every day, you can’t afford NOT to stand out.
4. Be Specific about Needed Changes
It’s okay to make changes. We expect you to! Just be specific in what needs to be different. Give direction””at least point your team toward something or away from something. The worst thing you can tell your creative team is “I don’t like it, but I don’t know why.” Or the old favorite, “I’ll know what I’m looking for when I see it.” Go back to #2 and answer those questions honestly. Find where the creative work is not on strategy. Ask yourself if the change you want to make will have an impact on the response rate, effectiveness or readability of the piece.
5. You Have the Power to Make Creative Great
Remember that every piece of creative presented to you for review is like a baby to the team who created it. They’ve spent hours working on it, nurturing it, tweaking it. Even the simplest-looking design and copy has had hundreds of creative decisions made before it’s presented to you. Colors are chosen specifically to work best with a certain photo. A font is chosen to match the mood of the message and for its readability. The headline is written and rewritten, dozens of options are tried out. The point here is not to discourage you from making changes, but to offer a suggestion about what changes to make. Working with your creative team, ask, “Did you try…” or, “What was your thought process in choosing that font or that photo?” The more you know about the strategy that went into developing the creative, the more constructive your input will be.
6. Don’t Catch the Dreaded Disease “Change-a-holism”
You’ll know you’ve got it when you find yourself making changes to the changes you already made. Most likely this happens when new people are introduced into the review process at different times. To make the process efficient (and therefore as cost-effective as possible for you), be sure everyone who has a say in approving the creative work””including Legal””makes all their changes at the same time in the first round. If the process is running smoothly and professionally, you shouldn’t need more than two or three rounds or drafts before artwork is final.
Remember that great creative starts with you and how you work with your creative team. With these six steps, you will be able to get creative work that is on target, that works better and that you really believe in!
Until next month…