How to Not Handcuff Your Creative Agency

How to Not Handcuff Your Creative Agency

by Jamie Czajkowski, May 5, 2016

A camel is a horse designed by committee

  1. A client arranges a meeting between three core representatives and a creative agency and explains in great detail that they’d like a horse for their company. [The creative agency has produced beautiful horses in the past and are very skilled at developing the right type of horse to fit the company’s needs, and the needs or desires of target markets.]
  2. The agency submits some horse designs to the company for review.
  3. During the review and approval process, the horse design is passed around internally within the client organization for criticism, comments, notes and suggestions.
  4. These last two steps can continue for what can feel like an eternity, and often there will be revisions on top of revisions due to limited vision, and uncertain direction from all individuals submitting input on the work.

What the client ends up with is a Camel, not the aforementioned Horse. The  suggestions originally submitted by the core group in the initial meeting have been lost, and unfortunately for the creative agency are the ones held accountable for the final product.

In this situation, the Horse or resulting Camel could be representative of Website Design, Logo Design, Email Design, Slogans, etc.  Which brings me to my next point: Excessive levels of approval for marketing, advertising, and branding items.

It’s best to have a core handful of internal personnel who know the company, their branding, and their intended image. Once it goes to ten, or more people, even with the best of intentions the message begins to get lost. When too many cooks are in the kitchen, it becomes more and more difficult to work effectively, let alone efficiently. You find yourself revising revisions time and time again and in certain cases, it is nearly impossible to have everyone agree on what would be the best direction.

What is the lesson? Release the reigns on the Horse, or you may end up with a Camel. While that may not be the worst situation, if you’re basing the ROI on whether or not you end up with the Horse you originally discussed, you will most likely be displeased. This is especially relevant if your company has traditionally handled it’s own Marketing, you’ve tried your way, obviously you saw some reason to come to someone who specializes in Marketing/Creative/Branding. So trust whomever you use for creative direction, and keep in mind they are designing and targeting based on your customers, not your own personal preferences, which may or may not even reflect your target market.

Sit back, release the reigns, and enjoy the ride.