How the Creative Team at ReminderMedia Efficiently Executes Client Ideas
In our Collaboration Conversations series, top marketers and creatives share how they’re solving workflow challenges by combining inMotion with the power of productive collaboration.
For Joshua Stike, Creative Director at ReminderMedia, facilitating productive collaboration with inMotion allowed his team to meet client objectives effectively and get content approved faster. “inMotion helped us execute more efficiently and more clearly for our team and our clients,” Josh says.
Here’s how he made it happen.
Challenge 1: Clarifying Client Objectives
Lack of clarity up front in the process can be a major headache. You need an understanding of what your clients want to accomplish before anything else happens, i.e. what problem are we trying to solve, and is it something we’ve decided as a business needs to be solved? I recommending reaching a conclusion on this with your client before even touching a brief.
I’ve also found that ambiguity can be an opportunity for my creative team to show how we can help clients solve problems strategically. For example, in a recent kick-off meeting for a new HR project, our client requested a Facebook ad for our company careers page. But as we talked some more, we learned that the request was actually prompted by our Sales Recruiter reaching out to HR to get help with recruitment—which in turn was prompted by a larger overall business objective to grow the Sales team. Because we took steps to clarify with our HR client, we were able to develop a creative solution to the broader problem instead of just fulfilling a one-off request. We launched an initiative with our Sales Director, Recruiter, and Social Media Coordinator to hire more sales reps by building out a brand for each department, with a video about our culture, business cards for referring candidates, landing pages, and revamped social media.
Challenge 2: Updating Clients on Progress
Clients always want to know “what happened to my request?”, so don’t be a black box where they don’t hear about your creative team’s progress until there’s a proof to approve. I hold weekly meetings to get updates on project progress that I like to invite clients to, but I’d recommend that at the very least you establish a schedule of milestones with your client so they know when to expect check-ins.
I’ve also found that when it makes sense, bringing clients into the review process as early as possible saves more time and energy than having to go back and make revisions to a more finished deliverable later on. Plus, anytime you can get somebody involved in the creative process and make them feel like it’s their idea, you’ll have better success. But know that the danger of bringing clients in too early is that they might not understand gaps in your works-in-progress. (We all know the dreaded “what’s FPO?”.) If you can help them visualize where the end result is headed, then it’s a win-win.
Challenge 3: Making Sense of Feedback
All designers know the challenge of getting hard-to-understand or conflicting feedback from clients. As a team leader, I’ve found that requesting feedback via email is horrible: Often you can’t get people to respond, and when they do, you’re not able to collect and reconcile the feedback before it goes to the designer. Reviewing content with inMotion’s new proofing environment is great because you can reply to people’s comments and bring other people back into the conversation. Being able to have a proof that’s a living, breathing document is just as important for reference as the project brief itself.
Challenge 4: Understanding Next Steps
Another familiar challenge for us during review and approval is when next steps aren’t clear. Part of our issue was trying to manage feedback on different versions of content with a bunch of different file names like “Final 1,” “Final 2,” “Final FOR REAL,” etc. But inMotion helps eliminate that confusion because the system keeps an ordered record of each proof version automatically.
The other part for us is that clients and members of my team don’t always have a concrete definition of approval statuses, or they mean different things to different people. For example, our reviewers often use “approved with changes” to mean “post it just one more time.” Some of my designers will post another version after receiving a proof that’s been “approved with changes” because they want confirmation that the reviewer is comfortable with the content as is. If reviewers are using “approved with changes” as an indicator to upload a proof one more time, I recommend establishing a cut-off point so you don’t have endless feedback loops. The flag icon in inMotion that indicates “approved as is” is a huge comfort to both my designers and reviewers!
Ed. Note: Luckily, inMotion makes it easy to adapt your approval statuses to how your teams define them. You can even remove the “approved with changes” option if you want review cycles to continue until approval is confirmed.
Challenge 5: Routing Proofs to the Right Reviewer
It’s really important that designers and project owners know which stakeholders should be included in the review process for a given project. We’re in publishing, so we have a lot of recurring processes. Setting up review groups and project templates in inMotion has made it very clear to project owners who the stakeholders are and who needs to be in the review process for different kinds of projects. I’ve found that for one-off or non-recurring projects, the best ways to clearly communicate that information is by listing reviewers in the project notes in inMotion or making recommendations to my team in the first internal review.
Want more collaboration best practices to help your team see results like ReminderMedia? Check out our eBook, The Power of Productive Collaboration.
Joshua Stike is Creative Director for ReminderMedia, a sales and marketing firm that creates customizable content for businesses to connect with their top clients to drive repeat and referral business.