Feedback. One of the most powerful words in the creative environment. It has the power to not only make or break a project, but the receiver too. Feedback has become such a daunting affair and this love hate relationship is established from a young age.
Think back to your school days, can you recall one moment where you were advised on how to give and receive constructive feedback? Chances are no, instead of educating ourselves about proper feedback, we’ve created a feedback monster we often run from as opposed to embracing.
However, there is much potential and a positive impact that feedback can have, if it is managed in the right way. Constructive feedback has the power to make something good, great.
All of the above have led to investigating feedback in the creative industry through a series of Feedback Sessions. Where the thoughts, experiences and insights about feedback from various creative professionals will be shared by delving into various topics.
Kicking off this session with a discussion on feedback processes. Please meet Bella, taking a stolen moment while sipping on a cup of tea. Bella has participated in numerous research projects! Let’s get into it:
What was the path that lead you to this career?
B.E : I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I have been obsessed with the English language for as long as I can remember. I taught myself to read at the age of 5 and I haven’t had my nose outside a book since. I’m obsessed with stories. Hearing them, reading them, writing them and embellishing them. As much as I’m a dreamer and would love to be a full-time novelist I’m also a pragmatist. Thus my search for a career where I can write and still have money to pay the bills while satisfying my many curiosities and honing my craft. Voila! Hello Copywriting.
Tell us about the kind of projects you’ve been involved with in the past (brands you’ve worked on), projects you are currently working on and what future projects
B.E : I’ve been involved in a range of projects across many different brands. From the Dairy Board of South Africa to Captain Morgan. From Hunter’s Dry to Allan Gray.
We hear that the creative process is complex and involves many stakeholders. How many people are involved in a typical project?
B.E : It really depends on the brand. Generally it would be myself and my Art director, a Creative director, a client service team of about two people, possibly a strategist and then the client of course. So on average I would say 8 people are involved.
Take us through the process you engage in when you receive a project. The different steps you take from the concept phase of a project to the execution.
B.E : We’re briefed, we then conceptualise, review our concepts with our creative director, unpack the chosen concepts, review again, put together a presentation, review with client service, make necessary changes, present to client, wait for their feedback, make their changes (hopefully there aren’t too many), present again and then eventually we get to make our work.
Please describe your feedback process.
B.E : The feedback process generally comes through in the form of a debrief from client, which is put on a brief and given to us by Client Service. We then discuss the feedback as a team and decide on a way forward. We then repeat the creative process again implementing and making the necessary changes to our creative work, or in some cases starting from scratch.
We work closely with our creative director and the client service team and in some cases workshop our solutions with the client. The feedback process can be complex when things aren’t communicated properly or if it takes too long for us to get feedback as the work isn’t as fresh in everyone’s mind and too much time can lead to doubts and miscommunication. The best way to avoid this is by everyone holding themselves accountable to do what they’re meant to on time and in full.
Overall, is your feedback process effective?
B.E : It can be effective if it’s done properly and communication is clear. If we don’t get all the necessary information we need to do our creative work in one go and it comes in dribs and drabs then it can be unnecessarily time consuming.
On average how many times do you go back and forth in the feedback process and what is the main cause of the back and forth?
B.E : Generally twice, but if the project is more complex it may require more back and forth. It also depends on the client and their approval process.
Does the feedback process hamper creativity?
B.E : It definitely can. It can also make the work better. Frustrations do arise in the feedback stages when the feedback isn’t clear enough or if there isn’t good enough reasoning behind the feedback. There has to be a healthy degree of push and pull between the client and agency in order to make the best work possible. The feedback process will hamper creativity when there isn’t room for discussion or if there isn’t trust in the agency as the advertising experts.
How can your feedback process be improved? Describe your feedback process dreamstation?
B.E : I think if there was a more direct line between client and creative, things would be clearer and quicker. If there was a greater sense of collaboration and a feeling of making things together.
As a copywriter, Bella consistently engages with a number of creative stakeholders in the agency and this has exposed her to the rewarding, constructive, and at times complex nature of her agency’s creative feedback process.
Her insight reveals a philosophy that strongly affirms that if the feedback process is done right, it can strengthen and maximise creativity.
Having a creative that is equally passionate about stories is as exciting as the exchange becomes mutually beneficial. Collaboration is at the core of any strong, impactful creative process, and as Bella highlights, an adoption of a feedback process that is more collaborative can generate results that are more effective, productive and rich in creative synergy.