How to work with and give feedback to a creative agency

By Yunus on 5 July 2020

For a successful client-agency relationship, following these simple stages of the creative process and making each other aware of the expectations is crucial. The relationship between a client and agency can become frustrating because the expectations from each other fall out of sync. Agencies can assume the client knows what the agency’s thinking is and clients can assume the agency should just know what to get on with it.

Here’s a handy guide for the key stages of working with a creative agency.

The brief

At this stage the client and the agency want to formalise a written description of the challenges and objective, an understanding of the audience, the budget and some key insights and a strategy that may help unlock the brief.

Client’s input at this stage is crucial. If the client wants to question the objectives, the audience or the challenges then the agency will most likely require a rebrief before moving on to the next stage.

How to feedback on the concepts

To get to this stage, the client must agree on the brief. The agency will bring to the client top-level concepts and ideas, the media the ideas will be delivered across and an overview of the message.

The agency is looking for feedback on the idea and message – this is great for this stage and for the first round of creative review. However if the client questions the idea just before a campaign launch, it causes real problems.

How to feedback on the execution of concepts

Once the concepts and message is approved, the agency will work up detailed executions. The agency could work on a variety of materials: style guides, tone of voice, storyboards, styleframes, mock-ups, etc.

The agency is looking for feedback on the execution of the concept: colours, copy, images, alignment with brand guideline, etc. This feedback won’t affect the overall concept itself.

Frustrations can arise if the parties are not aligned with each other’s expectations. It happens more often than you may think – for example, an agency comes to a meeting with broad concepts and scamps while the client was expecting detailed executions. Or the client expects detailed executions at a first meeting with an agency without having supplied a brief.

Establishing a clear process will help both agencies and clients to build a collaborative and successful partnership and from our experience also long-lasting.

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