Does your feedback get results?
Work with creatives to hit your brand bull’s eye
My creative partners and I love constructive criticism. Yes, really. When you give us good feedback, it helps us create something great to support your business goals. With the right feedback, we’ll all get the best possible outcome. But when your feedback leaves us in the dark, there’s a chance your message will miss the target.
How do you give creative feedback that gets you the best creative to achieve your goals?
In a nutshell, avoid general statements and be clear about what you don’t like and what you like. Invite people close to your brand identity to critique with you, but be choosy who you ask. Too many opinions can slow down the process and add confusion.
Screenshot what you love
Chantelle Catania of graphic design firm Annatto said designers are visual people and love examples, especially when getting started on a new project. (This can apply to writing styles too.)
“If there’s something that you’ve seen that you love, take a photo or screenshot of it and share it with us. Let us know why you love it. It doesn’t need to be a long explanation. A simple, ‘these colors rock’ or ‘it’s easy to follow’ will offer so much insight into the look you are aiming for.”
When a client says “this isn’t working,” creatives have nothing to go on. But rewriting or redesigning with that kind of feedback is like shooting darts at a target in the dark. We might hit, we might miss. That’s not great when we all want a bull’s eye.
Details, details, details
I recently helped a consultant launch his first website after a number of years in business. He had been so focused on his clients, he had no existing branding. For him, I wasn’t just writing website copy. I was shaping his company’s voice.
The site was for a male business owner who offers professional services. He wanted his brand identity to reflect his hobby as an outdoorsman. I started with his About page – it’s one of the trickiest website pages to write. Even though it’s “about” the company, it really needs to be about the customer/audience and how they’ll benefit from working with the company. I knew if I got the tone there right, the rest of the site would follow.
His initial feedback: “It feels too much like a Mountain Dew commercial.”
Essentially, he told me to de-steroid. You may be thinking, “Ouch!” But this is good feedback. Paired with comments on what he liked, it helped me get the tone right.
Praise can guide (and energize)
Just as important as establishing what you don’t like is what you like. Not only will it make your creative team feel great and want to do more great work for you, it will also help guide future content.
It’s as simple as writing comments as you edit or proof to let them know they hit the target.
After I submitted a concept for a recent project to the client for review, she gave good feedback, “The tone is perfect, and the concept is fun without being overbearingly clichéd or ‘cute.’ Excited to see how this progresses!”
Not only did I know I was on track and to keep going, I was excited to do my best for this client.
Pick your team carefully
Chantelle (lead graphic designer) said critiquing shouldn’t be a team sport for everyone around you. If you plan to ask for opinions, she recommends selecting your team carefully.
“Yes, you want everyone to love your brand but asking your neighbor, your mail carrier or even your coffee barista isn’t necessarily going to make your brand better,” she said. “It’s more than likely going to delay the process. Keep relevant minds on the project – select a few people who know your company’s messaging and goals to consult with when making decisions.”
At the end of the day, your creative team is here to support you. We want to make you look and sound good. And most importantly, achieve your business goals. The better your feedback, the better chance we’ll help you do what you do best. A confident creative will appreciate your constructive criticism and will use it to make something you’ll both feel good about.
Do you have a target you’re ready to hit? Give me the details!