Kinney Strategy

Can You Make My Logo Bigger?

Can You Make My Logo Bigger?

7 Creative Review Questions That Really Matter

“I can’t tell you why but I’m just not feeling it. Oh, and, can you make my logo bigger?”

It’s a running joke in the marketing world because we still hear this a lot in creative review. But, that kind of feedback doesn’t really help improve the work. The feedback your creative team really needs should be specific, objective and actionable -- information that they can use to do great work for you.

Last week, a client asked me to critique an ad that was running in a trade industry publication, which got me thinking about the importance of providing feedback on creative marketing. For sure, the creative execution of your marketing plan is critical to your success. Your campaign can make or break you. But, developing creative that is on strategy is not easy. Sometimes, your marketing team and creative agency go Giancarlo Stanton on you and knock it out of the park. Other times, even great creative minds strike out. 

One common element all great creative is that it is on strategy. And, keeping it on strategy comes down to providing meaningful feedback that shapes the creative output. Over my years in marketing, I’ve been fortunate to serve on many sides of the creative process (creative agency, strategy consultant, client), so I have learned (though painfully and slowly) how to give and receive objective, honest feedback that improves the creative output and helps keep it on strategy.

Here are 7 focus questions I use when reviewing creative work to help keep it on strategy. This is by no means a full and exhaustive set of questions, but it is a good start!

  1. Does it meet or deviate from brand standards? This one is easy and obvious, but can’t be ignored. Check to make sure that the use of the logo, fonts, and color palette meets your business’s guidelines. If you don’t have established guidelines, it is worth the investment to create them, especially if you are outsourcing your creative work to an agency or design firm.
  2. Is it ownable? In other words, are you selling the category or are you selling yourself? Here’s a quick test: replace your logo and all company references with your top competitor? If the creative works just as well for them, you may need to go back to the drawing board.
  3. Does it address the drivers of your target audience? How well do you understand what your customer is really buying and why they are buying it? Does the creative address what really motivates the decision-maker? 
  4. Does it fulfill requirements of the creative brief? You are writing and/or reviewing creative briefs, right? And your creative team is reading them, of course. Do a quick check to make sure all of the mandatories are reflected in the creative. 
  5. Are your competitive advantages clearly communicated? Many times, we tend to concentrate on the features of a particular product or service and fail to communicate the benefits that those features create. Remember, people don’t buy features. They buy results. Your ability to deliver those results better than anyone else is what differentiates you in the market. Talk more about how you help your customer and less about yourself.
  6. Does the call to action drive a key performance indicator? A key performance indicator is a measurable behavior trigger that signifies a critical step in the buying cycle (e.g., calls, clicks, downloads, RFQ’s, etc.). Good creative will change behavior, ultimately turning a prospective customer from being completely unaware to a loyal fan. An important step in that journey is a compelling call to action. And that call to action should drive behavior that moves a prospect through the intended sales funnel, generating qualified leads that you can close. So, play to your strengths. Don’t drive leads to your website if your website is weak or fails to capture leads. At the same time, the call to action must also factor in what your prospect is willing to do. If you know that your target prospect is unlikely to make a phone call, then don’t make a phone call the only way to engage with you.
  7. Is the creative idea weak or strong? This is a quick check of the overall concept:  
    • Is it cliché or obviously derivative? A cliché with a clever twist is fine. But, a straight up cliché is just lazy. OK, there’s nothing new under the sun, but pure copycat work is painful. (Just think about any rip-off of the “Got Milk?” campaign.)
    • Is it relevant? Does the creative reflect or tap into a contemporary theme that matters to the target audience?
    • Is it memorable? Is there something about the concept that keeps you thinking about it even long after you’ve seen or heard it or did you forget it immediately? 
    • Is it remarkable? I mean remarkable in the literal, Seth Godin sense here -- do you want to talk about it and share it with someone else?

Try these questions the next time you need to provide feedback on creative marketing materials and let me know if they helped improve the work.