Creative agencies love feedback. No, really. And it’s not just about singing our praises. We mean all client feedback. We wouldn’t be doing our jobs if we didn’t constantly seek out and geek out on new insights and new challenges. In a previous blog, we gave tips on delivering creative feedback, but now we want to dig into the three types of feedback we crave. We’re ready for it.

#1: The good
You’re thrilled with what your agency created. They presented three creative directions, and you unanimously selected a winner. Fantastic news! Feel free to take a minute to high-five each other—because you and your agency both deserve the credit. It was your creative brief and strategic POV that gave the creative team what they needed to succeed. 

You could just say “Approved!” and move on. But your agency really would love to hear why you chose that direction. 

  • On a spectrum of mild to wild, did you select it because it was the safest creative direction in the bunch and your stakeholders were all able to agree? Or did you all fall in love with the one that pushed the brand the most?
  • Was it a close race with one of the other directions? If so, what were the winning factors?
  • Were there elements in the others that you may want to try in the future? 
  • And were there any elements that you hope never to see again?

#2: The bad
At best, you’re getting a meh vibe. At worst, you absolutely hate it. That’s never fun to hear, but your agency wants to make it right. It’s essential to schedule a live conversation so you can discover better creative solutions together. 

  • On that same mild-to-wild spectrum, did it underwhelm you with its creativity, or did it push it too far?
  • Did it align with the creative brief? Was there a misunderstanding of the assignment? Was it strategically off? Were any elements from the brief missing? Or did any elements from the creative brief change between kickoff and your Round 1 presentation? 
  • Did it break any technical requirements or was there a misunderstanding of the product or intent of the message?
  • Assuming it didn’t veer too far off the creative brief, are there any creative mandatories that should be considered for the next round? Sometimes you don’t know exactly what you want until you see it—so think of this as the learning curve for your agency.

#3: The ugly
Some of you like it. Some of you don’t. Maybe you could combine them? It’s a mixed bag, and you’re not sure where to go from here because you’re not all in agreement. Rather than simply asking your agency to “Frankenstein” the parts you like into a single concept (which may or may not actually be possible), it’s better to have a conversation. 

  • What parts appealed to you and why? Think about all the elements—from tone and messaging to form factor and design.
  • Of the elements that you liked, which do you feel work best with the goals of the creative brief?
  • Did the parts that you didn’t like fall short of the creative brief? Would they work if they were combined with other elements?
  • Are you all having similar reactions to creative directions that are too safe or too extreme? It’s good if you can settle on one end of the spectrum for your agency to explore.

Just like in any good relationship, communication is key. Your agency is there to be a good creative partner—which means putting in the time to ask questions, listen, and occasionally push you out of your comfort zone to try something new (and vice versa). And who knows? Maybe Frankenstein isn’t so ugly after all. 


Courtney Carr is CWD’s Associate Creative Director, Copy