5 steps to working better as a creative team

cakeWe’re always pushing ourselves to work better – better ideas, better processes and better cakes. (Fred’s Father’s Day cake this week was a particular highlight). One thing we’ve been talking about lately is how we can work better with our clients. We want people to feel happy when they work with us – happy with the final product, but also with how it was produced.

We had a think of some of the things that can lead to unhappiness during a job – whether that’s missed deadlines, wasted resources or ineffective creative. Then we put together a few tips to share with the team and our clients, on how we can all work better as part of a creative team.

Here they are:

1. Have face-to-face meetings

Whether it’s talking through the brief, presenting concepts or providing feedback, a face-to-face meeting gives everyone a shared understanding of what’s required, and helps to identify any issues. Avoid email if you possibly can, unless it’s to confirm what was agreed in the meeting.

2. Involve the right people at the right time

Inviting the person who makes the decisions to the briefing, concept presentation and feedback meeting can save a whole heap of toing and froing, and help to clarify what’s required. And making sure any stakeholders are ready to give feedback on the first draft can help to save on rounds and rounds of amends.

3. Give (and receive) good feedback
If you’re giving feedback, explain the reason why something isn’t working, rather than trying to come up with solutions. A general steer will help the creative team to understand where you’re coming from. If you’re receiving feedback, listen carefully, be positive and clarify what the problem is.

4. Refer back to the brief

If you’re having one of those circular, subjective creative debates that happen from time to time, go back to the brief to clarify things. Is the creative answering the brief? If not, why not? Personal taste shouldn’t come into it. It’s all about what the audience (as defined in the brief) wants.

5. Aim for two rounds of amends

Once your concept has been agreed and you’ve produced a first draft, limit yourselves to one round of feedback to iron out any bigger issues, and the second round for detailed changes (typos, small print etc). This can help to prevent things spiralling out of control.

This is a revised version of some of the tips that appear in Keep it Sweet, a little guide to working with the Oxfam Inhouse creative team.