Can’t Get What You Want From Your Creative Team?

Can’t Get What You Want From Your Creative Team?

Try this approach to better communicate with creatives and get the results you are looking for.
Karen Ong Barone Jun 20, 2023 2 MIN READ

It happens. You get the creative from your agency (or freelancer or in-house team) and it’s just not right. Your excitement over seeing the drafts quickly turns to dread. Now you have to figure out how to get the project back on track.

So, you get to work trying to fix it…

“Change this block of text.” 

“Make this larger.” 

“Swap this photo.” 

“Switch this color.” 

The problem with this type of feedback is it doesn’t get to the heart of the issue. It also likely will frustrate your team of creatives, who aren’t sure why these changes are necessary and feel like their work of art is unnecessarily being changed.

It’s better to start at the root of the problem. Instead of telling the team how to fix the creative, tell them what’s not working and let them fix it themselves.

That looks something like…

“My concern is the audience is [insert information about audience] and this feels like it’s for [insert information on your interpretation of the creative].”

“The most important thing for this material to do is [insert the call to action] and that feels like it’s missing or unclear.”

“This will be seen in [insert setting the creative will be viewed in] and I’m not sure this will work because [issue you are seeing].”

“How might we” statements also work great here:

“How might we adjust this to work for a younger audience?”

“How might we shift the focus to drive the audience to the website?”

And always make sure your creative team knows the basic foundational information:

  • Target audience: What segment or segments are you trying to reach? Be sure to share any and all audience insights with the team.
  • Target behavior: What action do we want the audience to take after seeing this material? If you have behavioral insights, share those.
  • Channel: Where will this creative be seen, used or interacted with? Your team needs to know so they can design creative that fits that channel.

Creatives want to be in control of the creative. And if you’ve hired the right team, you should want them to have control. But you are the expert on your cause and issue. So when something is not right, go back to the root of the assignment and be clear on what’s off. Then let the creatives come up with the solution. 

Whew. You didn’t want to be selecting colors anyways. 

Karen Ong Barone is Principal + Executive Creative Director at Marketing for Change.