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Creative feedback: how to give it, how to take it

They say you’ve got to give as good as you get. Nothing could be truer than in the case of creative feedback. Knowing now to guide a creative properly is going to shorten the lead-time to project completion, will save a heck of a lot of stress and will keep your relationship peachy (no one wants a flamboyantly angry creative ranting in their face).

Knowing how to guide a creative properly is going to shorten the lead-time to project completion, will save a heck of a lot of stress and will keep your relationship peachy (no one wants a flamboyantly angry creative ranting in their face).

Similarly, if you’re a creative, feedback can make you feel like you’re just not getting things right. It can be hard not get frustrated with poor feedback or unfair comments on what is essentially a subjective creative endeavour. Instead of sweeping all your papers onto the floor and cursing to the heavens, read on and find out how to turn feedback into a positive, productive process.


How to give creative feedback (properly)


Always come back to the brief

If you’ve written a good brief, the creative direction can easily be measured against it. Run through it like a checklist and make sure the creative assets meet the criteria, such as audience appropriateness, on-brand tone and how it could help to meet the end-goal.


It’s not about likes and dislikes

A wise manager once told me that, when it comes to giving creative feedback, it isn’t about likes and dislikes. It’s completely irrelevant whether or not you like the word ‘pizzazz’ or the colour green, if it matches up to your brand guidelines, resonates with the audience and will help meet your objectives, then it has answered the brief effectively. Soz.


Test like there’s no tomorrow

Creative differences got you quibbling? Try testing both varieties and learn from it. It’ll also serve to avoid arguments further down the line because you’ll know for sure which of the approaches is most effective.


Pick a point of reference

It’s no use saying ‘This is too formal’ or ‘This feels too chatty’. Without a point of reference for what ‘chatty’ or ‘formal’ means to you, there isn’t much to guide a re-write. Try offering examples of tone extremes so that your creative can find a happy medium.


How to take creative feedback (without killing someone or quitting your job)


Feedback is a reflection of the giver, not the receiver

Creatives, remember this: feedback is not a reflection of your talent. It’s a reflection of the tastes and views of that one client. Don’t let it knock your confidence. Remember that it’s the client’s job to feedback on the task and the criticism isn’t a personal attack on you.


Don’t be afraid to fight your cause

Don’t take it like a bitch! If you’ve made a creative decision for a reason then your client deserves to know this. After all, you’re being paid for your knowledge. Explain why you’ve made that choice and offer a compromise where necessary. Still not cricket? Test both versions instead.


Ask guiding questions

As above, make sure you get a point of reference for anything that seems subjective. If it doesn’t sound right, remind them of the brief and the brand guidelines and advise accordingly.

 

Hopefully these tips will see you through to times of creative harmony and better, smoother feedback sessions. Peace be with you, my writers and SMEs!

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