BY MATTHEW BIRCHARD

Creative work often must be reviewed by someone other than the individual directing and managing the project.  You should ensure that reviewer has been properly briefed so they are qualified to comment on the work.

Good creative work doesn’t just happen.  It’s the result of a collaborative effort on the part of the marketing agency and the client contact.  But, oftentimes a decision maker other than the client contact must give their final approval prior to project completion.  Unfortunately, these final reviewers aren’t always qualified to make comments or pass judgement on the fitness of a project.  Everyone’s heard a version of a story involving the boss’ wife reviewing creative work at the final hour and finding fault because she simply “doesn’t like it”.

In the wife story example, the reason she doesn’t like the work is she’s not in the target audience and doesn’t know the motivation for the particular creative.  Her husband (the boss) showing her the piece failed to properly brief her on how to review the piece.  In the normal business environment, this same scenario plays out as well, but it’s more often a VP of Sales or a Director, the President of the company or even the owner.  That person has not been involved in the process of creating the creative work and their subordinate often doesn’t give them the proper context within which to view the work in order to render judgement.

There is also an element of selling when presenting creative work that needs to take place.  Creative is subjective, can be perceived as risky, and granting final approval often means the approval of significant costs.  So, the presenter needs to keep these factors in mind.  At the final review stage, it is critically important to preface the presentation with an overview of the project goals, the target audience for the piece, any mandatory requirements influencing the design (such as legal compliance) and the medium in which the work will appear.

Only with the proper frame of reference and insight into the reason why creative decisions were made can the reviewer provide informed feedback.

To help in getting the approval you seek, engage your full service marketing firm.  They’ll be happy to present the work with you to your decision maker.  Or just be there for “moral support” if you need it.  If you and your agency have both done your job well, you’ll be equally invested in seeing the work approved and be able to defend your creative choices.  Partnership in this regard can ultimately lead to better creative work and fulfillment of the project goals.