There once was a time when the Client told the Agency what they wanted. The Agency filled out a Creative Brief. The Client approved said Brief and the Agency went dark for a few weeks only to return in the Creative Review to present a variety of concepts, each of which "delivered" on the Brief, but at different levels of creativity (as in; one concept was "way out there", one was "pushing it a little" and one was "exactly what they're looking for"). Those days are over.
In today's world of real-time-everything, clients have no patience for agency dark periods. The creative timeline has collapsed and become a matter of days instead of weeks. Even the Creative Review has changed. Rather than being treated like mushrooms, clients today want an active role in the creative process. They want to see work in progress and they want the ability to alter the direction of the work if things head off in the wrong direction.
Technology has facilitated that evolution. Digital Asset Management tools like ConceptShare give agencies the ability to share creative with clients in a real-time, interactive workspace that allows each to review, comment on and make adjustments to creative assets. Some systems even offer side-by-side comparisons of different (or modified) versions of the creative as well as audit trails so you know when changes were made and can easily refer to (or revert to...) prior versions.
Is this the death of the creative process? Are we doomed to a future of franken-designed deliverables? Or is this the start of a healthier, more agile creative development process? A process that teams people with a deep knowledge of the product or service (aka the clients) with people who make it their life's work to find the most compelling, unique and (dare we say... provacative?) methods of presenting that product or service to catch the attention of and motivate action from potential customers. We think it's the latter.
Yes, there are clients who will abuse the process and basically play Creative Director; essentially turning the agency's creative team into a pair of hands, but those clients are going to do so regardless of the process used. The only difference is the amount of time wasted during Creative Reviews. At least in an interactive workspace, the creative team can address the client's questions quickly and demonstrably show why their ideas are either good or bad. And we all know clients who literally think every idea of theirs is a blockbuster until they actually see it...
We're not talking about a trend here. This train really has left the station. The creative process has changed and it's not going to revert back to the old days. The question is whether your agency is ready or not.
The Advantage Proofing tool inside the AQUA ERP system is actually powered by ConceptShare, so Advantage customers already have access to the new creative process as part of their agency's operating system. It's an elegant solution that clients will appreciate and the agency will come to love due to how much faster they're able to get creative reviewed, revised and approved - saving everyone money.
Client collaboration in the creative process isn't the future - it's the present - and it's a better way of operating than the old way of doing business. It fosters closer connections between the agency and the client, it improves throughput on the agency side and it results in better work - however counterintuitive that may seem to those accustomed to the old way of working.
If you're not collaborating with your clients in the creative process or you lack the tools to do so, there's no better time than the present. Schedule a Free Demo of the AQUA ERP system and see powerful the Advantage Proofing tool can be for your creative process.