Brand Insights - Thought Leadership | Paid Program
Imagine a brand manager, speechless, as the question, “What do you think of this creative concept?” hangs in the air.
Brand manager: “Uhhh… I don’t think I like it. But I can’t put my finger on why.”
Creative: “This layout follows Swiss design principles! We created a grid, used bold sans-serif fonts—kerned to perfection, of course—and made it minimalistic.”
Brand manager: “So…can we add more? It looks so, well, blank.”
Creative: “That’s not blank. It’s white space.”
Can you relate? If you ever struggle to translate your thoughts into the right words to evaluate creative work, you’re not alone.
As a brand manager, your feedback is crucial to guide the ad agencies who create your campaigns. If it feels like you and your creative team are speaking two different languages, here are 5 tips you can use to give clear and actionable feedback.
1. Speak from your gut
When evaluating creative work, don’t ignore your gut-reaction. How do you feel when you first see the creative? Excited? Curious? Underwhelmed? Voice it!
You might say, “My initial impression is confused because the idea feels a bit off-brand.” This gives the agency an insight into your emotional response, allowing them to probe further and provide context or explanations.
2. Return to your strategy
Once you’ve expressed your gut feeling, return to your strategy, which is your brand’s North Star. Make sure the work ties back to your specific goals. As creative as the work may be, it must deliver against your objectives outlined in the creative brief.
3. Keep S.C.O.R.E.
I’ve written previously that our agency tests our work against a specific rubric called S.C.O.R.E. We invite you to use that same framework.
Grounding your feedback in these criteria brings clarity. Few things are less actionable than saying, “I don’t like it” or “This just isn’t working.” Trust me, you don’t want to leave too much to the creative mind to interpret. Creatives need to know what isn’t working and why.
Use this framework to focus your creative team’s energy to revise their work within the context of your goals.
4. Say “what?”
It may sound counter-intuitive, but questions are an essential part of giving feedback. They encourage dialogue, unlock insights, and foster reflection. Don’t hesitate to ask probing questions, such as:
5. Encourage collaboration
To create award-winning work, we must understand each other. Challenge us to know your business. Help us understand how your brand stands out in the marketplace. Creatives would do well to learn your language.
When we’re fluent with the business goals you’re trying to accomplish—and the way you measure them—the more in tune we will be. Then our creative choices will be more aligned to your end goals, ensuring mutual success.
Now that we’re speaking the same language…
You don’t need to be a creative to speak like a creative. By approaching feedback with a clear understanding of your goals, sharing your gut reactions, keeping S.C.O.R.E., and inquiring about the agency’s thought process, you can contribute to the conversation with confidence.