1) Craft a compelling creative brief
Your creative agency's initial request will most likely be for a creative brief. This document is critical to the project's success. It will request that you provide all pertinent information regarding your project, such as goals, timelines, budget, branding requirements, and so on. Because this is the document that will keep you and your creative agency on the same page (literally), it's critical that you fill it out completely and deliberately. Here are a few pointers to help you make your brief as beneficial as possible:
i)Make sure you have the proper amount of information. Fill out the brief thoroughly and include any necessary supporting resources (such as brand rules, sales brochures, and so on), but don't overwhelm your creative firm with paperwork. Remember that the purpose of the brief is to communicate what you're trying to do in a concise and efficient manner.
ii)Collect feedback from everyone. Sometimes people will scribble a creative brief without consulting their entire team, which can lead to problems later on when there are internal disagreements about particular things. Before sending the brief back to your creative firm, make sure you have permission.
iii)Keep your language in check. You may be well-versed in your industry's lingo and jargon. Make sure your brief is written in straightforward English.
2) During Your Kickoff, Ask the Right Questions
Your kickoff may take place in person, over the phone, or via video chat, depending on the nature of the engagement. This gathering has multiple objectives:
i)Meet the members of the team. You'll meet the creative team (or at least the core crew) who will work on your project, which may or may not include the following: Account Director, Producer (or Project Manager), Strategist, Creative Director, Art Director, Designers, Developers, Copywriters, Animators, and so on. This is your first chance to get to know one other and get a feeling of how you both feel.
ii)Examine the brief in depth. You'll also go through the creative agency's methodology, timetables, and other important details. Ascertain that both teams are on the same page. This is your chance to clear up any misunderstandings, identify any prospective problems, and handle any remaining unknowns.
Of course, no one likes a rough start, so there are a few things you can take to ensure a smooth start:
i)Know what you want to achieve. Your agency won't be able to assist you if you don't know what you're attempting to accomplish. Before you begin, be sure you have a clear vision.
ii)Pose inquiries. Don't be embarrassed or shy. It's preferable to be obsolete today than to be sorry tomorrow. Even if you think it's an easy or obvious question, go ahead and ask (e.g., do you use Google Docs or Word?). If you're not sure what to ask, here are a few suggestions:
a)Who will be my primary point of contact? Marketing involves a lot of moving pieces, as well as a lot of stakeholders. You'll have a lot of people doing a lot of different things, from strategy to content development. As a result, you must choose one individual to be your point of contact throughout the process. At the same time, you should determine who will be the point person on your end. (It's most likely you who's reading this.) This person is in charge of facilitating communication, consolidating comments, keeping track of deadlines, and overall project management. On your end, you should also identify the stakeholders who will have to approve items.
b)What is the most effective means of communication? Your creative firm will have a tried-and-true production method in place, but you need figure out how to communicate the most effectively. Let them know if you prefer emails over conference calls or Skype sessions over Slack.
c)What supplies do you require from us? We can't tell you how many times a missing asset has held a project hostage. As a result, we can assure you that your agency will adore you for asking. They'll appreciate you being a proactive and considerate partner, whether it's a required asset or a nice-to-have.
d)What are some common stumbling blocks or hazards to avoid? Another significant advantage of working with a creative agency is that they have firsthand knowledge of what works and what doesn't, based on their experience with a variety of clients (often in your same industry). As a result, they are well-versed in the difficulties that can derail or delay a project, particularly those that are within a brand's control. They'll be grateful for your interest in proactively preventing these problems.
e)What can we do to assist in the smooth running of things? There are likely a few basic things you can do to set yourself up for success, aside from the obvious (keep to deadlines, provide precise feedback, and don't ghost us).
iii)Ascertain that the appropriate individuals are present. Don't forget to include a crucial stakeholder in the discussion (and thus require everyone to repeat the same information later).
3) Be aware of the procedure
Every agency has its own infrastructure and production method. However, your creative participation will generally consist of the following stages:
i)Discovery: During this phase, your creative agency delves into your brand to learn about your specific needs, difficulties, and previous attempts to solve them, among other things.
ii)Insights: After going through the discovery phase and conducting additional research (e.g., survey, content audit, analytics review, etc. ), your team should be able to identify critical insights that will help you choose which tactics will produce the best results for your goals.
iii)The brainstorming phase follows the ideation phase. This may or may not include your squad, depending on your engagement. In either case, your creative team will propose you concepts after the ideas have been verified, and you will choose the winner.
iv)Execution: Based on your comments, your team will delve into creative execution, generating and iterating content.
v)Measurement: Once your creative work is live, your team will use specified metrics to track its success.
4) Participate in Collaborative Projects Actively
Your creative agency is more than just a hired gun. A healthy relationship is essential for excellent work, and there are a number of proactive steps you can take to make collaboration simpler.
i)Define your agency's target market. Who are you pursuing? What is the state of their social media? What kind of content are they accustomed to? What do they consider to be valuable? It will be easier to develop work that resonates if you help your team grasp your target personas.
ii)Share your visual inspiration with others. It's often easier to show someone what you're thinking of rather than trying to describe it with words. Share photos, mood boards, storyboards, sketches, GIFs, motion graphics, or anything else that conveys the desired tone, visual aesthetic, or overall vibe.
iii)Share what you've learned. Two teams are better than one, and knowledge exchange is one of the most significant advantages of collaborating. It's a good idea to share tools, tips, information, and handy hacks with one another.
iv)Address problems as soon as possible. Your creative agency wants to do a good job, so make sure to express any concerns or explain any issues as they arise.
v)Compete against one another. You know your brand, and a creative agency knows about creative work. However, you may both have extra information to provide that can alter the course of a project.
5) Close the Loop on Feedback
Naturally, with so many moving components in the creative process, you don't want any misunderstandings or oversights to cause production to be interrupted or delayed. As a result, clear communication is critical at these stages, particularly when it comes to feedback.
i)Determine who has ownership of something. Determine who will be in charge of each side's operations. You'll know who to contact if you have any questions, edits, or other difficulties.
ii)Make your voice heard. Make your feelings known about how the agency is performing, how your experience has been, and how it could be improved. A good agency is interested in how they are performing and how they may improve.
iii)Instead of discussing substance, talk about solutions. Feedback can be tough, which is why it's crucial to approach projects from a problem/solution perspective. It's not helpful to say, "I don't like blue." A more problem/solution-oriented approach to addressing difficulties is to say, "Let's utilize a stronger hue that will stick out in people's social feeds."
iv)Compile all of the feedback. Your point person should be in charge of collecting and synthesizing feedback to save time and effort. Obtaining approvals and reconciling contradictory feedback are examples of this. (Working with a single checklist of adjustments rather than 32 comments from seven separate persons makes it much easier for your creative agency.)
v)Be receptive. When your creative firm is waiting for a logo to be delivered over, it's difficult to stick to deadlines. Within a fair length of time, respond—or at the very least, acknowledge that you're working on a response.
Continue to care for your relationship.
The most successful clients are upbeat, proactive, and eager to learn about their business and best practices. Building a good relationship with a creative firm is your best bet for doing work you can both be pleased of, whether you work with them on a single project or for a decade (shoutout to Intuit, our oldest customer). To keep everything moving forward...
i)Put your attention on your relationship.
ii)Keep your eyes and ears open. Determine which characteristics will help you become a better marketer, and consider different approaches to experiment with content.
iii)Keep an eye out for the lessons. Every endeavor has the potential to teach you something or help you better in the future. Consider how you can transform those lessons into content or how you can utilize them to improve your content strategy in the future.
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