Welcome to our series, Turning Clients into Creative Partners. Previous posts include Understanding Client Motivations and Managing Client Expectations during Project Intake.
In Part 2, we talked about tactics for creative teams to improve communication with clients during the project intake process. In this post, we’ll explore tactics for creative execution and how to get work done while maintaining a positive relationship with your clients.
These are strategies that will help both sides – the creative team and clients – to move projects forward.
Transparency and visibility
Clients sometimes feel like they submit a project request and then there’s radio silence until the work is ready for approval. That causes them to come knocking, asking about project progress. Let’s end unscheduled interruptions. While you don’t want clients in your kitchen (too many cooks spoil the broth) it is reasonable for clients to want to know status updates on their projects.
It will be up to you to determine how those updates will be shared and how frequently they will be shared. Communicate your update to your clients during the project briefing stage as your standard practice, so they know what to expect and when to expect it.
Change is going to happen
Expect the unexpected. Especially for your “tier 1” projects – those big brand initiatives, with their longer timelines and lots of moving parts are often impacted by market changes. Be prepared to adjust timelines, resources and most importantly client expectations. Pad your deadlines and build in key milestones to check-in with clients and reevaluate the project direction and deliverables.
Dissuade last minute add-ons
When we talked about tactics for improving project intake, we discussed how to set up your requests to avoid last minute add-ons. While that tactic can encourages clients to anticipate add-ons during the initial request, you may still need an additional tactic to dissuade clients who are coming to you with add-ons after the project is already underway.
You don’t necessarily have to tell your clients “no.” But you might want to practice saying “Yes, but…” Of course your team is happy to provide whatever assets are required. But your current commitments and available bandwidth mean that you won’t be able to complete this add-on immediately.
In our next post, we’ll discuss the often controversial review and approval process. Until then, please share your tactics for keeping clients happy during creative execution in the comments.