By Andy Dyer

Better creative work


How to get better creative work from your agency

Everyone wants the best
Who doesn’t want work that’s more creative, more accurate work, and easier to obtain? Is there a magic recipe to consistently great creative work? No. But we do know that the best creative work comes from open, honest, trusting and collaborative relationships – and a few smart guidelines:

Spend more time on the brief
Briefs aren’t easy. Before you brief an agency to spend days or even weeks on a project, it’s worth spending more than 5 minutes writing a brief. Like most things in life, what you put in is directly proportional to what you get out. Researching, thinking and consulting with stakeholders all takes time. But the better thought out the brief, the better the work.

Spend more time briefing the agency
Don’t just email the brief over. Face to face meetings are ideal, but at the very least have a chat about it. Questions always come up.  So to ensure everyone starts on the same page, put heads together. An hour spent now could save a week later.

Give the agency time
More time definitely equates to better work. How much depends on the task. For example, a new look and feel/style/idea/concept needs a minimum of two weeks, maybe even three. The best ideas need to mature.

Read the agency’s creative brief
The creative brief is our distillation of your client brief into a one page summary, intended to inspire the creative team. Before they start working on it, check it.  One wrong word or sentence could take us off-piste very quickly and burn time and money.

Define ‘good’
What you are shooting for? Find examples of what inspires you. Keep yourself up to date. Know what best practice is. Who communicates well in your category? Be aware of what is out there and who is doing what, so you can compare and beat them.

The right kind of feedback
Feedback should make work better. It’s OK to say “I don’t like it!”. But you need to follow-up with why. How can ideas be improved and developed? Don’t just reject them point blank.

Communicate your vision
You know where your brand is going and what you want to achieve, so make sure you articulate it clearly. Unless we know, we can’t encapsulate it in a simple, brilliant creative idea.

Trust the agency’s processes
Don’t get stuck in too early. Do roll up your sleeves when asked to help. It’s important to get involved and feel connected to the work. This is a joint effort, after all.

Introduce your audience
You know your audience. How can you bring them to life for us? The better we know their loves, hates and desires, the better the work will be.

Prepare to be challenged
A yes agency is useless to you. To get the very best creative work, be open to new ideas on how to solve your problem. You might want a doordrop, the agency might think a targeted email is a better idea. Be prepared to pivot.

Be present when we present
Try to ensure the first round of creative work is always presented face to face. Body language is everything. If we see arms crossed when a route is shown or a prolonged period of silence, it says a lot. Together, it’s much easier to see what draws you to one route and turns you off another.

Have we done our homework?
Agencies need to invest time, getting to know the client’s brand and marketplace. Easy to say, much harder to do. But an agency that puts effort into getting close and understanding your world is hugely valuable.

Too many opinions?
When there are too many cooks, great ideas get watered down and you end up with a camel, i.e. ‘a horse designed by committee’. Too many conflicting opinions leads to compromise, which means weaker creative work. Our advice is to limit the number of stakeholders.

You’re the experts in your sector, we’re the marketing experts. Do your bit and let the agency do what we do best: the creative bit. Respectful collaboration and a healthy service mentality is our attitude. And we never forget you’re the boss and you pay the bills.

Have a final review
When the work’s done, make sure you give the agency feedback. Did the work work? What could we do better next time? What did we learn? Having this stage ensures that next time, the work can be even be better.

What’s yours?
One final thing: take the agency out for a drink. Or even better, get them to buy you one. As we said at the start, building a relationship is the most effective way to get better creative work.

Better is Epik
Epik strive to get the best results for our clients by focusing on good relationships, good advice and good ideas. To find out how we could create better work for you, call +44 207 459 4433.

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