July 17, 2006

Creative Approval

Creative is probably the most unpredictable aspect of our game. Why? Because there is so much emotion involved. A good creative will not always be recognized by all and often times even the most perfect comp is going to get dragged over hot coals because of a lack of faith on the part of the client and the fact that clients simply think that they MUST comment or change something to get more bang for their buck.

I dream of the day I submit a creative and hear the client say “Wow that is perfect”, to me that would be paradise.

Many production schedules have been compromised because the client simply cannot sign off on a creative. Another issue is that clients often times look too hard, I compare it to looking at a word long enough and eventually the word looks silly. That is what tends to happen with client reviews, they are over examined from the get go and there is no faith that the design will be flushed out as the project goes on.

Signing off on a creative should mean that everyone is on the same page, that the overall creative works, it is the job of the designers to make sure that before anything is launched that every detail and idea is carefully touched up. Clients are not in the creative field and when you put something in front of them they most likely don’t know how to properly evaluate it the way a professional art director or creative director would.

Clients must realize that when hiring a creative firm they are not just paying them money but also putting their faith in the expertise and talent of the creative team. On the flip side the creative team should make the client a “believer” so to say in their abilities to produce effective materials. A perfect creative is a rarity and to come across it means that the client trusted and believed in their creative team completely and that the creative team fully understood the objectives of the client.

Many clients haven’t clearly defined their objectives and that results in a creative that simply doesn’t work for the client. When the creative team and the client are really on the same page and communication is wide open then and only then do clients feel a better comfort level in the work produced. So next time your struggling with a client approval you should ask yourself if the client has clearly defined the objectives and if not perhaps ask the client to clearly write out what they are and compare it to the work presented. The client should also take a bit of a leap of faith and let the creative team do what it does best.

Just like a doctor who has performed a thousand surgeries is trusted based on past performance, a creative team gains its trust on the fact that it has delivered effective designs in the past. Nothing will ever be perfect.

A small side note… isn’t it strange how the less a project budget is the more carefully the design is scrutinized?