When it comes to talking and dealing with your creative agency, there are a few tips that help get the most out of your partnership that you may not know, especially if you’ve never worked with an agency before. We polled our office and got some good feedback on how best to talk and deal with an agency. Hopefully these tips will help next time you and your agency hit the roadblock. (In no particular order)
1. Understanding the problem
Allow us to do that. You may want to try and define the problem yourself, but including your agency in that process can be very beneficial. The more information we have about your brand and your goals, the better equipped we will be to offer valuable input and produce something that delivers the results you want.
2. Include as much information as possible
The more information the client can give to the agency at the beginning of the project, the better. Sometimes knowing what you don’t want is just as helpful as knowing what you do want. Provide all input/assets at the start of a project. Often, changing direction or new information mid-project causes the scope and budget to change.
3. Be transparent
With transparency, time is used effectively and problems or issues are defused. It allows for the relationship to be authentic, in which trust is created, and the client and agency can work in harmony. There is a mutual respect in what the client brings and what the agency brings in the relationship.
4. Give good feedback
Client feedback is crucial to the creative process. Before providing feedback, gather a full consensus from your team so everyone is on the same page with any design or copy edits. This will save time and production costs in the long-run.
5. Be concise
The more concise you can be, the more likely the agency won’t miss something. Use bullets to organize content so it’s easy to make sure things aren’t missed. Writing one long paragraph may lead to items being missed.
6. Be clear about requirements, optional items and wish list items
Be very clear about what is required and how success will be measured. Separately, indicate wish list items and optional items—if we know the ultimate wish list, we can try to achieve it. Itemizing must-have and “nice-to-haves” is a good way to give the creative folks freedom while making them aware of what would exceed expectations.
7. Remain present and engaged in conversations
Remain present and actively engaged in the conversation, whether it’s in person or on the phone. Remove distractions and be open and honest, both in listening and communicating with the agency. If you are demonstrating that you are making the project a priority, the agency will too. Direct and honest feedback is the best way to communicate.
8. Give accurate and achievable deadlines
In order to do the best work possible, the agency needs deadlines that can be met while maintaining internal agency processes that are in the place to ensure the best product from the agency. There are times when rushing something is unavoidable, but with proper planning and preparation, clients should be able to provide the agency with the time necessary to develop great work. Rush deadlines should be the exception, not the rule.
9. Know what your objective is
What are you looking to accomplish? Are we driving traffic to a website or event? If not, what is it you want to happen? This is very important information to provide when it comes to creating a campaign that is not only creative, but also effectively meets your needs and produces the results you were expecting.
10. Be clear on what not to include
If competitors use certain elements in their branding, pass that information along to the agency. If there are certain themes or colors to steer clear of because of industry connotations or CEO preference, it is better to know upfront rather than to find out after the first design options have been developed.
Let us know in the comments if you have any other best practices when it comes to communicating with creative agencies.