1. BRIEF THE PROJECT COLLABORATIVELY.
Make sure everyone understands the brief from the start. For the best outcomes, write your brief collaboratively with both your client and your creative team. That way everyone is engaged in the approval process from the get go and your client is much more likely to be on your side as you develop and present your ideas.
Use this process to clarify anything that’s even slightly ambiguous or unclear. Trust us when we tell you that if you don’t, you’ll only waste time, incur more cost and suffer some form of creative heartache further down the line…
2. KEEP SHORT COMMUNICATION LINES.
Everybody wants to be a DJ. Don’t they just?
But that doesn’t mean we require input from every stakeholder, at every stage of the sign-off process. As well meaning as it is, too much feedback from not quite the right people will only bog your approval process down and quite probably dilute your project’s creative intent.
Stick with the stakeholders that are necessary to getting your project approved and finalised on deadline. No more. No less. That’s the magic number…
3. PLAN AN APPROVAL PATHWAY.
Plan your approval pathways strategically – you won’t believe how easy it is to do things in the wrong order, so stop, think about it and ask yourself:
- Who really needs to see the artwork right now?
- Should we get the copy deck sorted first?
- Do your expert third party services need to see what your planning before you share ideas with the client?
- When’s that video required by? (You’ll likely need approval for models, location, props, oh, and budget first)
- Is there any point involving legal before marketing has had a chance to review?
- And where does compliance sit in your approval pathway?
Make a plan. Get it down on a chart, a spread sheet, or a wipe board. And remember; most of the people you work with are visual people, so visual stuff is going to be really helpful for them to see what you’re doing.
4. OUTLINE DEADLINES FROM THE START.
Let’s face it, we’re all juggling a number of priorities in our day-to-day work life. Nobody’s perfect, but you can give yourself the best chance possible if you let everyone know the plan from the outset when feedback, amends and final approval are due. This way, they’re more likely to set aside the time to do the work so that your project isn’t stalled when your deadline is looming.
5. ONLY SEND ARTWORK WHEN IT’S READY.
While it’s tempting to send artwork with some elements missing, this is a time wasting exercise. You’re just likely to have reviewers point out the obvious, that something is missing. You’ll have fewer revisions and approval rounds to work through if you only send the artwork when it’s complete.