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5 Most Common Mistakes Clients Make Every Day

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A good working relationship between a client and an agency is vital for creating high-quality, high-impact assets that don’t feel like a makeshift improvisation stitched together five minutes before a deadline.

While the majority of responsibilities for creating that content falls on the agency side, the foundations need to be set-up properly by the one making a request. Clients sometimes make seemingly innocent mistakes that can shape the entire creation & delivery process.

Here are five common mistakes that affect the quality of assets, but can easily be avoided with enough clear communication, forethought, and planning.

1. Lack of a clear vision

"We're not sure what we want - how about you create some sort of a preview, send it to us, and then we decide?"

While many creative ideas can come up on the spot and then be integrated into the production process, it’s vital to know what you want it to be from the very start.

Otherwise, the team has to guess what you had in mind, and that just ends up as a very long email chain that is a waste of our time and your money. This especially hurts projects with short deadlines, forcing the production team into a crunch that also affecting the quality of the end product.

Being familiar with the purpose and goals certainly helps. A cool way is to imagine it as a story and share it with the agency in clear, simple language. Make sure you have a defined idea of what you want the assets to look and feel like, brief the team, allow for some flexibility, and wait for the magic to happen.

Word puzzle oops

2. Missing assets

"We're e-mailing you a link with the assets. Just let us know if anything's missing..."

Make sure you have a complete library of materials for your brands cataloged in a lean and accessible way. Production time easily gets wasted when a small file gets misplaced — sometimes bringing the whole production to a screeching halt.

Worried you’re sending us too many assets? Don’t be. Sending extra assets only increases the chance of having all the ingredients to produce the needed assets. Actually, some assets that aren’t required right now might help us in the future!

Without a complete overview of available assets, we can’t make accurate estimates and plan the workload properly. This puts pressure on deadlines, delays the start, and increases the overall cost.

3. Late feedback

"Yes, the deadline is today. Yes, we did receive your files last week, but we have some comments..."

Feedback is great. Good, detailed feedback makes everyone’s job easier. Unless there’s a lot of it. Two hours before the deadline.

Other work sometimes gets in the way, and timely feedback can get sidelined for perfectly valid reasons. However, late feedback creates unrealistic expectations.

Feedback implementation in a short time frame leads to mistakes and lowers the quality of work. This especially applies to what we call “fragmented feedback.” It occurs when the project consists of multiple assets that share common elements, but the feedback is received on an asset-by-asset basis. This makes it hard to achieve visual consistency across all assets.

Late feedback can also turn scope changes, that would have been perfectly manageable at the start, into impossible tasks. There is a time and a place for requesting scope changes, and every passing hour makes all the difference.

4. A lack of reference

"We want you to make the text animations in this video look like our other videos!"

Many brands have a massive library of existing assets with web pages, images, videos, and many more. There is also a wild variety of communication styles, target audiences, and various degrees to adhere to brand books & guidelines. Now, without clear references, sometimes it can be impossible to get what “make it look like the rest” means.

This is even more likely to happen if the agency doesn’t have a long history of working with that brand. Also, maybe the asset is a part of a campaign that targets a different audience. Always try to give a clear example, vague referencing provides little to no context.

woman sleeping on desk at work

5. Impossible is (sometimes) not possible

"We want our assets to look like our favorite Hollywood movie."

‍Some requests are not possible to implement in a way that would adhere to our quality standards or in a timeline that would make sense for the client.

When this happens, you need to trust us. We’d really love to make something wild & crazy, but:

  • it might take a lot of time
  • requires back-and-forth briefs, debriefs, and feedback
  • the deadline might be unrealistic

If a client wants to make a video that looks as well-produced as an Apple ad, they need to understand the costs required to create such content. Furthermore, the production team needs more freedom than in a regular project, both in their approach to handling the work and the deadlines.

A step forward
The production team is filled with creative individuals that would be very happy to showcase their ideas. That’s why they need the proper briefing and time to make those ideas shine.

Avoiding these mistakes helps us better understand ourselves. It also leads to better deliverables that enable you to promote your brand much more efficiently.

We live in a world where more people than ever have access to the tools required to create and publish digital assets. So we need to make sure that the content we produce together rises above the noise and makes the impact it deserves. And we can do that easily, if we work together, and listen to each other’s needs.