How Should We Appraise the Agency’s ‘Big Creative Idea’?
In my previous post I went through how we should prepare for the agency 'big…
Once your creative agency have finished presenting their ‘Big Creative Idea’ (which is where the general layout, tone of voice, headline, strapline, logo, style of imagery etc. for the campaign is conveyed – but not the executional detail) and you and your colleagues in the client team have effectively appraised the work presented (see my previous post for more tips on that), then how exactly should you go about feeding that back to your agency?
First of all, I would advise that you resist the urge to give immediate, highly directional feedback to the agency. It is better to make sure that you spend sufficient time reflecting on what you have seen and heard rather than jumping in with your initial gut reaction. At the same time though, do try to react in a noticeable, encouraging way whilst the agency is presenting, mindful of all the work the agency has done in preparing the presentation.
One approach to giving feedback is ‘the huddle’ – where the client team compare notes in private after the agency presentation, coming to a consensus before calling the agency back in. The agency are then debriefed by one member of the client team, and this is followed up the next day with a written response. Whilst this approach has the advantage of speed, it brings the disadvantage of encouraging ‘group-think’. Insufficient time is available to ensure all team members are able to give the work their full consideration and to formulate their own individual opinions.
A better approach is for team members to spend time on their own after the presentation going through their notes and clarifying their individual thoughts, before meeting up again the next day to agree on a joint response. This is important as it allows team members to engage their subconscious minds and process the information overnight.
Once the team have agreed on a joint response, the feedback should be given in writing and should be:
A useful structure for clarifying your thoughts when feeding back to the agency is based on the following lines:
If it is felt that the idea is not quite there yet, then you should go on to explain:
You should always emphasise that your aim is to encourage the agency to improve the idea if you feel they haven’t quite cracked the brief yet. Don’t just reject the creative idea out of hand (unless it is completely off-brief!), which would only serve to confuse and demotivate them. As above, the aim is to encourage the agency to buy into the reasoning behind your comments so that they are motivated to go back and build on your constructive feedback.
Now we have dissected the various aspects of the agency’s ‘big creative idea’ presentation, in my upcoming post I will start to look at the next stage of the process: the agency’s ‘creative execution’ presentation.
If you’re interested in exploring this area in more detail (together with relevant examples), you might like my recent book ‘Successful Marketing Communications’. If you have any thoughts or comments, do drop me a line below.