The role of feedback is a critical phase in approval workflow because it guides creative projects to their end goals. We’re familiar with why feedback is important, but let’s go one step further again: it’s actually the right feedback that produces quality campaigns with an effective brand message.
Perhaps you’ve been on the receiving end when feedback wasn’t terribly useful, and caused more problems than it solved. Now you’re in the hot seat, so how do you avoid the pitfalls of communicating feedback?
Here are our Best Practices on how to provide timely and effective approval workflow feedback, which we believe will set your marketing team in good stead.
1. Understand your project’s end goals
There’s no questioning the importance of feedback that is specific to your marketing project’s goals. Offering feedback on a project you don’t entirely understand is like pinning the tail on the donkey blindfolded. If this is the case, go back to the creative brief and check over the details carefully. What mediums are you working across, which channel will it be released through, who is the target audience, what message do you want to convey and what are your timelines? By understanding the project’s end goals, you can hone in on what the campaign ultimately needs to achieve.
2. Recognise where you fit in the approval workflow
Recognising your role and place in the approval workflow process will avoid costly artwork revisions for your creative projects. For example, if you’re in the legal department there’s no point providing feedback too early in the process as the artwork will likely change which means you’ll have to review it again. On the other hand, if you’re a stakeholder who receives artwork early on in the marketing approval workflow, you’ll want to focus on the macro not micro elements at this stage of development. Remember things like tweaking colours and moving a logo slightly can be done during the final stages.
3. Feedback must be clear, concise and targeted
Hone in on what needs to be changed using plain language and clear directions. Avoid conflicting messages like ‘the copy needs to be under 50 words’ while asking the copywriter to expand upon the detail. Avoid using jargon as no one has time to decipher what you mean. Use clear, bold mark ups to define areas that need to be changed. If you are handwriting notes, write legibly and avoid scribbling out on the page. Online proofing tools can simplify this process by enabling users to mark up artwork onscreen and add typed comments. This decreases the chance of designers and copywriters misinterpreting changes.
4. Be objective not subjective
We all have our own particular style, but don’t let this get in the way of offering feedback on creative work. While you might think the colour green lifts the artwork, if it clashes with the logo or other details you’re not going produce artwork that is ultimately effective. Trust that your designer knows what they’re doing and stick to providing feedback that will meet the project’s objectives.
5. Honour your approval workflow processProcesses are created for good reason: to ensure that your marketing approval workflow tracks along as seamlessly as possible. This means not reviewing artwork until it’s actually your turn. For example, if you’re in marketing compliance don’t jump the gun and review the artwork too early in the process as you risk something going public that shouldn’t. Likewise, if your process deems that all feedback must to be documented, don’t walk up to the designer and give feedback in a general conversation and then expect for it to be actioned. Always make sure feedback is routed through the right channels.
6. Draw on your skills and expertise
You’ve been hired for your unique set of skills and expertise, so bring them to the table! That means if the artwork isn’t right by your standards, if it’s missing a critical message or not meeting its objective, then you need to state this clearly and confidently. Sometimes, when you believe your opinion is best for the project, you may even have to convince others to better see your point of view.
7. Respect other people’s work
Be aware that it’s not always easy to hear critical feedback. If your feedback process encompasses, say, verbally communicating changes, then before you charge in and point out what’s wrong with it lead with a positive. While you need to be honest in your feedback, there are ways you can deliver your message that inspires people rather than deflates them.Need to learn more about approval workflow solutions. Our free guide is a great place to start.
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