The success or failure of creative project management processes hinge on project launch. These pro tips from pro creatives can get you started on mastering your project launch process.
Ever wonder how the superstars of today’s creative industry manage to produce consistently amazing content? Every team has their own secret sauce, but there’s one ace in the hole that all successful marketers and creatives share:
They’ve perfected their project launch process.
Mastering the art of the project kick-off is absolutely essential to producing best-in-class creative, and an essential part of creative project management processes. The good news is that there are many paths to improvement. Developing a comprehensive library of briefs; building out a new requests workflow; or automating your project intake process with a technology solution are just a few of the ways you can make it easier for your team to get all of the information they need to effectively start new work.
But the truth is, in order to truly kick off projects the right way, every time, you need to establish a project intake process that works. And for many teams already struggling to match time, energy, and resources with today’s ever-increasing demand for more content, that’s easier said than done.
That’s why we’ve compiled expert input from some of today’s top creative professionals to jump-start your journey to process perfecting. Combine the tips below with our additional resources and a little creative magic, and you’ll be kicking off projects like the pros in no time.
Understand the purpose of your creative brief.
“Great creative briefs have one primary function: to inspire your creative team to come up with the most brilliant and effective communication response to solve a particular problem. This document should clarify for everyone involved all the aspects of the project, the goals, and even the timeline. The brief should confirm to clients that you understand their problem and have a strategy for solving it.” – Jami Oetting, section editor, Agency Post
Make the right people responsible for briefs.
“It should be the person or people that are most likely to really dig in to the information about your situation and ferret out a relevant, meaningful, and searing insight. Writing creative briefs is a learned skill that takes practice and attention and should be the job of someone who has responsibility for the end product – the creative.” – Dave Hamel, Get Better Creative and strategy principal at MSI Advertising
Keep briefs focused.
“Everything outside the specific problem that needs immediate solving, is extremely secondary [in a creative brief]. If you have inspired the creative team to understand the breadth and depth of your central problem, you have done an extraordinary job.” – Andrew Miller, creative, Wieden+Kennedy
Know project parameters.
“Constraints are key. The realm of possibilities does NOT need to be defined creatively, but it does need to be constrained by budget, timeline, and ultimate goal of the project.” – Scott Belsky, CEO of Behance, investor & author
Avoid vague instruction.
“Absolutely do not accept the answer, ‘I’ll know it when I see it,’ from clients. Through creative exercises you can easily coax the answer out of the most difficult players. Bring a list of descriptive words and supporting visuals and have them select what feels right. These simple clues will help to navigate a path in the right direction.” – Heidi Sanders, senior art director, DHC USA
Understand what clients really want.
“Include acceptance criteria. For a creative, the creative process is painful, agonizing and cruel—but nothing is crueler than showing it to a client who only figures out what they REALLY want after you present.” – David Bailey, interaction and visual Designer
“Think simple. More spaces to fill present a greater opportunity for bad poetry. Avoid theoretical definitions; keep the language at eigth-grade level. Write in clear, declarative sentences.” – Howard Margulies, associate director at Palio, AdAge
“Don’t allow deviation from the process or briefs. But that means they need to be airtight and truly provide all of the information you need.” – Debbie Kennedy, creative operations consultant
“A common pitfall can be attitude. When one of our clients believes a process is too complex, we find that negativity can spread like wildfire. Making sure the process is easy and promoting a positive experience will help eliminate the negativity. People are afraid of change. We have to help them see how beneficial updating the process is for them: We can intake their assignments faster, eliminate the back and forth, and speed the process up.” – Ashley Pyatt, senior graphic designer, H. D. Smith
Ellie Baldini is the Content Marketing Manager at inMotionNow. Having been a member of several creative teams herself, Ellie knows the challenges of inefficient workflows. Ellie draws on her experience to connect creatives and marketers with the benefits of inMotion, so more teams can get back to doing the work they love.