Today many marketers and companies are concerned about their limited budgets and reduced resources, and their ability to develop superb creative and marketing initiatives. How can they obtain the outstanding creative needed to move their brands forward and remain true to their brand’s integrity? Will the constraints placed on the project damage the quality of the creative desired?
I think it’s challenging for a client to understand the premise that the creative process can actually flourish under limitations. Conventional wisdom holds that you should allow the designer to be free to do whatever he thinks is best for your project and rein him in later. But when you lay out the guidelines, boundaries, restrictions – what the client wants — from the outset, these specifics become the parameters to operate within — not limitations.
Knowing what to focus on frees up the designer’s creative psyche, so he can explore designs and solutions that fit the desired outcome.
Telling your design team what you need, when you need it, and what you can spend will produce fresh, new ideas and a creative solution both the designer and the client will be pleased with — and the result will be amazingly on target. With every project and every client, there are always considerations and challenges to be understood, and the client needs to make sure the desired outcome is communicated upfront.
When working with the creative agency especially on a limited resources project, there are three things a client must do to have a successful outcome:
• Establish a deadline
• Create a realistic budget
• Specify project parameters
As basic and commonsense as it sounds, these three elements will keep a tight creative assignment on track and deliver the anticipated and successful result for the client and the designer.
The Importance of Establishing a Deadline
When deadlines are clearly delineated for the design firm, the creative team is able to marshal the appropriate resources to achieve the desired result for the project. In addition to the end date — when the project needs to be fully executed and delivered — a very specific timetable that indicates key actions and client responsibility signoff must be developed. This roadmap for the design initiative keeps the creative agency and the client focused.
The Budget is Your Friend
Let your design team know upfront what your budget is. How much can you invest in the brand? Not knowing the client’s dollar commitment wastes everyone’s time and energy — and ends up costing the client more. In the design world, all too often a client will say, “this is what we want. Tell us what it will cost.” Upon seeing the budget, the reaction is, “we can’t afford that!” The time and money spent redoing the budget and retrofitting a concept to work under new perimeters are resources that could have been utilized to execute the project correctly from the beginning.
Make friends with your budget. Knowing what funds are available and understanding the budget allows the design team to develop the best creative solution with available resources.
Sharing Project Parameters
Be direct and tell your design team what you want the creative outcome for the project to be.
Who is the audience for the initiative? Who is the demographic? What format does it need to be produced in? Digital? Print? What size? When will it be distributed? Where will it be distributed? Locally? Worldwide? Are there certain colors that must be used? Is there a specific format that must be adhered to? Are there specific concepts that the brand wants to convey? What action do you want the end-consumer to take? What do you want the consumer to feel or believe about your product?
Remember that setting restrictions, limitations, and guidelines empowers your design agency – and makes good creative great! Giving the creative team a clear idea of what you have in mind for your brand initiative allows them to focus and develop outstanding creative design.
There’s no need for the design process to be an arduous, tug-of-war experience, bogged down with expensive overruns and painful rounds of revision after revision. The more information your agency gets from you upfront, the more successful and on target the final results will be.
The design outcome is compelling and provocative precisely because it was created with clarity for a specific audience with definitive goals.
As the president and CEO of The O Group, Orit’s understanding of how to visually create and promote premium brands has helped her land projects with Lacoste, W New York, VOSS Water, and Moet Hennessy.