When was the last time you emailed someone a creative and the reply you got is “It’s just not working for me.”? If you are familiar with such a scenario chances are that you are working with a creative agency or are part of the marketing team of an organization. It’s frustrating to see an email like this one after you toiled the entire day to crack a master creative for a brief that you would have received only days or hours ago. It’s not easy to evaluate design and ad creatives.

Let’s look at the most common reasons why you didn’t get the feedback that you should have ideally received.

  • No agreement on the objective (basically the client is clueless)
  • Second guessing because the boss is absent (maybe most common reason)
  • Time (When your mind says let finish it and forget that you every saw this creative before.)
  • Who’s the decision makers? (Too many cooks spoil the soup. Need I say more.)

That brings us back to the question how should have the client responded?

  • “Our customers would probably say…”
  • “Brief clearly said that….”
  • “Research says that our target audience…”

What this essentially does is that the agency gets it right the next time. Why? because they essentially understand how they need to approach a design or ad work.

Good briefs = Good critiques = Good work

Getting the creative brief right is the first part of the puzzle. Every creative brief has four critical elements:

  • Communication Objective
  • Definition of the audience
  • Competition landscape
  • Single-minded takeaway (The most difficult one to decide on)

Once you get the brief right the second part of the puzzle is to deliver feedback that brings out the best from the creative agency. Make sure that you have structured approach to delivering feedback with the following points:

Keep a single point of contact

Yes, I’m referring to you the client servicing champion. Who makes sure that all the information required is collected, edited (in most cases) and inputs are shared with the creative team.

Don’t ask everyone

Make sure that you don’t ask everyone’s opinion and to only the ones that matter as far is creative is concerned.

Prefer a face-to-face meeting

What you call an apple could seem like an orange to me? Unless you add that cut like Apple did to make sure you don’t confuse it for any other fruit. When you send a creative without your perspective you leave people to make their own interpretations.


If someone doesn’t get the brief in the first go plan for a re-brief after all you only want the best for your brand.

Pen down your thoughts before the review starts

It’s a good exercise if you consider how your opinion could change after the discussion is initiated.

Start with ‘Thank you’

Saying ‘Thank you’ is the least you can do to applaud the team that worked on to develop the creative.

Think as a consumer

Your opinion doesn’t matter unless you are part of the target audience.

Give direction not corrections

Don’t let the Picasso inside you out to finish the painting. Let the creative team do its job while you can complete yours.

Don’t settle

If you don’t think your brief has been done justice to then do ask for a re-do. Don’t settle unless you find the right fit.


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