I originally wrote this advice for my fellow account service colleagues, but I think it’s something worth sharing with clients and creative teams too. That way, we can all be on the same page.
The art of getting, giving, and pushing back on feedback is something they don’t teach you in school. Instead, it is something you learn through years of experience and trial and error.
This is where account managers need to do a bit of work before interpreting and passing along information. Think of it like a coach trying to make sure the players on the team are communicating well, so that they never drop the ball.
Let’s break down the best ways to get, give, and push back on client feedback.
- Before responding to the client, we do our due diligence by reviewing the feedback against the creative and the brief to ensure we understand the feedback. If the feedback is unclear to us, chances are, it will be unclear for the creative team.
- From here, you will be able to better interpret the feedback so that you can ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the feedback on brief?
- Why is the client requesting this?
- Is the feedback subjective or objective?
- What is the benefit to the overall creative?
- Does the creative team need to see everything the client communicated? Will it be helpful or not?
- This will also help you determine if you have additional questions for the client before engaging the creative team.
- When giving feedback to the creative team, it is essential to provide all the details (explanations and rationales) as this will help them understand why the client would like to make specific updates. However, never copy and paste the feedback – always filter it and reword.
- Depending on the feedback, it is worth reaching out to a specific team member (like a creative director or account director) to have a quick chat before posting the feedback; that way, you have an opportunity to go through the feedback in detail and gauge reaction. This typically limits the back and forth.
- Sometimes the feedback is prescriptive and easily understood. However, in some cases, it is best to hear the feedback directly from the client. This is when scheduling a call with the client and creative team to go through the feedback is best.
- Most of the time, the creative team is aligned with the feedback but when they are not, this is when the account managers need to step in to reinforce our role and understand why the creative team would like to “push back”.
- It is our responsibility to understand why they want us to “push back” with the client. This is when the creative team need to provide a clear rationale as to why. This rationale should include the following:
- What’s the reason behind pushing back? Is it because the feedback completely changes the creative? Does the feedback diminish the effectiveness of the creative, or does the feedback not follow brand guidelines?
- What is the recommendation on how to proceed?
- Has the creative team come up with a different idea that addresses the essence of the feedback but with a different approach?
- Even if the creative team does not agree with the recommended approach by the client, it often makes sense to show the client what they asked for along with our desired approach, which could be the original creative or a new interpretation to help show the client what works best.
- At Junction59, we always recommend providing the client with a written rationale. And in most cases, a call with the client to walk them though our rationale can go a long way to explaining our point of view.
At the end of the day, do not be afraid to “push back”, especially if the feedback alters the brief or changes the creative. After all, it is just feedback, not an order. And remember, we are in this together, and if we collab on the feedback, the output that our creative teams come up with is going to help solve our clients’ challenges.