When working with your agency’s creative team, have you ever found yourself looking skyward and saying something along the lines of:
“Oh Great Creator, please don’t make me talk to the creative team again. They keep missing the mark—and if they ask me another pointless question about which color blue I like, I’m gonna start sinning!”
It shouldn’t take a divine intervention to get your creative team on track. Here is how to work with your creative team to get the results you want:
1. Know thyself.
Before you even take the step of contacting your creative team, know what you want—and, what you don’t. Here are few tips to help you get clear on your needs and expectations:
- Gather examples of work you like for visual aids. The jargon of the creative process can be overwhelming to those unfamiliar with it, but a picture is worth a thousand words.
- Have key constraints established, like your timeline and budget. This will help your creative team set realistic goals for design and production.
- Keep your target audience in mind and decide what you want for them to take away from the creative—both in information and emotion.
- Involve your organization’s decision makers—those who are invested in the project and whose approval you’ll need. Getting their buy-in from the start will save time and headaches down the road.
2. Sacrifice the lamb.
It’s time to go to the creative team and present your ideas, inspiration, goals, and research. Your idea will likely be probed by the design team. Welcome—nay, invite—this questioning. Your creative team is there to make sure they deliver the best possible creative work products to successfully market your product or service. They want to fully understand and invest in your goals.
There are five main questions every creative team is going to want to know from you about your project:
- What is it? That is—what type of creative work product do you need?
- Who is it for? Who’s your audience?
- Why does it need to be made? What’s the rationale for creating this piece? What purpose will it serve?
- When are the deadlines? If it’s a print product, when do print-ready files need to get to the printer? If it’s an ad, what are the run dates? If it’s part of a larger campaign, when is the launch?
- Where will people see it? What channels will be used to distribute the materials?
Once you have a discussion with your creative team and answer these questions (and more), you may find that the concept, plan, approach, or materials you decide to move forward with are not what you initially imagined-and that’s good. By combining your knowledge about your organization, product or service, and audience with your creative team’s design and marketing expertise, you can be confident the plan or materials you leave with are optimal.
3. Open the (communication) flood gates.
You’ve had your kickoff meeting with the creative team, you’ve talked through your goals and requirements, and you’ve come to consensus on what will be created. From this point on, you are one team with one goal. Keep everyone in the loop with emails, a Slack channel dedicated to the project, or a good old-fashioned scheduled weekly progress call. Set a timeline and work together to ensure everyone sticks to it. Put a few in-person meetings on the calendar if possible-it’s so much easier to describe what you want in person than in an email.
4. Break the bonds.
Now, step back and let your creative team do their thing. Trust that they’ve heard you and accounted for all the details. Account for a few revisions-sometimes it takes a draft or two for both parties to reach the perfect result.