Creative work is full of subjective feedback. Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s confusing, and other times it goes against everything you were originally asked to do. Here are a few favourites we’ve overheard in our marketing agency and what they might actually mean.
Over time, we’ve all had creative feedback that was somewhat difficult to put into practise. It can be that a brand doesn’t quite know the words or phrases for what they want to say, or it can be that they’re just not quite sure why they don’t like something. Creative work, like many things, is subjective.
With that in mind, we’ve written down a few of our favourite bits of feedback overheard in our marketing agency and attempted to translate them into constructive criticism that you can use.
“The copy needs to be more engaging.”
Translation: The copy may not be active enough, so try including more ‘doing’ words, such as changing “We have a new menu” to “We’re launching a new menu”.
Or, it may be that the copy isn’t engaging to this brand’s specific audience(s); though if you don’t know who you’re marketing to, it’s quite hard to write copy that they’d find engaging, right?
Try to get this information from a brand, or help them to create their audience personas, so that content can be written with their problems, needs, and motivations in mind.
We’ve carried out a few brand workshops recently and it’s surprising just how much everyone benefits from discussing audiences and their journey through the brand, which leads onto the kind of content that they’d enjoy. All of which pushes them forward to a conversion, whether that be to make a purchase, book a table, or get in touch, etc.
“Is this on brand…?”
Translation: Brands have guidelines that they need to abide by to be instantly recognisable to their customers. It can come in the form of the logo and overall design styling, or it might be the tone of voice used in the copy. Either way, it’s important to keep in mind when creating something for a brand.
Other times, it may be that these guidelines aren’t yet in place and the client is truly asking whether you believe the work to be in-line with the brand’s previous campaigns. If this is the case, then this could be an opportunity to work together and bring such guidelines to life.
Not only will it help the client to know how their brand should look and sound, but it also makes your life easier when creating for them. Guidelines refine project scope in a good way, letting you know what will work for the brand and what just won’t.
“You don’t really need a brief for that, do you?”
Translation: “I’m really busy and would love to avoid spending time in a brief or spreadsheet, if I can.”
Unfortunately, unless you know a brand extremely well, a brief is always going to be favourable. Even if you do know the brand well, a brief ensures that you’re both working with the same information from the beginning of a project.
There’s nothing worse than getting to the client review stage and being told that it all needs to be completely reworked because of some information you were never given. It’s stressful for both parties and can be easily avoided with some form of brief.
Even if you only ask for a few key details when your client is busy – such as objectives, primary message, and audience – you stand a better chance of creating something that your clients are happy with. They’ll also be grateful that you tried to take some of the pressure off their shoulders while also providing the best service you can.
“I love it, but we need to make the following changes…”
Translation: “I’m a very diplomatic person and I like it, but have a few small changes, or I really do love it and I’ve had feedback from someone in a more senior role…”
This might sound cynical, but it can happen. Sometimes someone in a more senior role has feedback. They might not always be involved in the day-to-day campaigns and so their feedback can be a little at contrast with your regular client, but their feedback is also important – especially to the person who has to answer to them.
When this happens, take a moment to think about where this feedback may have come from and if you think the points made are valid. If not, challenge them and reinforce your original decisions with the initial brief and objectives, or recommend an alternative that you believe works for all.
“Oooh, that’s… interesting.”
Translation: You’ve tried something new and it’s not quite what the client was thinking. That’s okay. It’s important to try new things every now and then to make sure that your own skills are evolving at the same time as the brands you’re working with.
Trying something new – with logical reasoning – shows that you’re proactive and creative. You’ll get it right next time.
Feel like you finally understand what your clients have been saying to you? Phew. Now get out there and use this understanding to create more work that makes you and the brands you work with proud.