The building of an Internet shop, the development of a visual identity, the launching of a publicity campaign, the organising of events or even the management of press relations are as much your own projects as those of creative agencies. Even if the principles of project management stay the same for all the sectors of activity, these types of projects are not tackled in the same as building a house or mass-producing cars.
For some clients, marketing and communications are totally foreign sectors. In order to collaborate efficiently and in the best conditions, you must explain to your clients how your creative agency works and the way in which you manage projects.
Tips to better manage your creative projects with your clients
- Teaching your client about the creative process
- Define the creative project from the start.
- Encourage communication.
- Put limits in place.
- Use specialised tools.
Discover 5 tips to help you to better manage your creative projects with your clients.
1. Teach the client about the creative process.
A creative agency does not work in the same way as a factory. Your clients must understand that in order to prevent them from thwarting the project by constantly refusing your propositions, having unrealistic expectations and demanding too many changes.
Take the time to explain to each new client how your agency works, the creative process as well as the necessary time to create each deliverable.
For example, creating a website is much more complicated than one would think because as well as the structure, headings, and pages, you have to create SEO friendly content, ensure a good conversion rate and create associated social media pages.
In being transparent about your methods, you lay the foundations of a healthy relationship. The client understands how you work, knows the real delays that are necessary to build a website, so they already appreciate the value of your woek. This also helps you to justify your estimations of both budget and time required.
2. Define the creative project from the start.
In project management, whatever the field, it is critical to define the project before starting it. In marketing and communication, some clients don’t really know what they want. They only have a vague idea, but the boundaries of their project are not clearly defined. This situation could pose several problems :
En gestion de projet, quel que soit le domaine d’activité, il est primordial de définir le projet avant de démarrer. Dans le secteur de la communication et du marketing, certains clients ne savent pas vraiment ce qu’ils veulent. Ils ont seulement une vague idée, mais les contours de leur projet ne sont pas clairement définis. Cette situation risque de poser plusieurs problèmes :
- The parameters and objectives of the project will constantly change according to the changing desires and mood of the client;
- The client will be frustrated;
- The project will get delayed;
- You risk losing money.
In order for a project to succeed, you and your client must have a clear and precise vision of it. You must have preliminary discussions with the client, advising them and helping them to precisely define the outline of their project by determining:
- Their objectives and expectations,
- The challenges of the project
- The audience
- The graphic charter (logo, colours, font, etc.) and/or the design
- The type of content (product/service information, photos, text and key words etc.)
- The budget and timeframe
Before getting involved in a creative project, you must understand the vision of the client, know exactly what they want and what the end users need.
3. Encourage communication
This can never be stressed enough: In project management, communication is a key element to the success of the project.
First of all, communication with the client is key throughout the project. Imagine the disappointment and frustration of the client if, at the end of the project, the result is not at the level that they asked for or if their needs had changed during the project. Your work will not only have been a waste of time, but there is a risk that your team will lose all its motivation.
To avoid this catastrophic scenario, the client must approve each step of the project to ensure that it corresponds to their expectations and caters to their needs.
Then, communication between team members is equally essential. Share information, new ideas, progression and difficulties that are met, team members must be able to easily exchange ideas all the time in order to encourage collaboration, to co-ordinate the execution of the project and to ensure its success.
4. Impose limits
In order to excel at the management of your creative projects, you must set limits on your clients as well as on the creative team.
As indicated above, your client’s project must be clearly defined to avoid overflow and the addition of functionalities as expensive as they are incidental. Listen closely to the problem statement of the client and propose a solution that is adapted to their needs and their budget.
After that, if the client wishes to make changes or add functionalities, explain to them that everything is possible, but their demands will really have an impact on the budget and the timeframe.
Another important point : You must direct the creativity of your team and establish limits to avoid excessives. A brainstorming session of ideas can quickly get out of hand in every sense. It is therefore necessary to impose a framework and some constraints on the creative minds to help them to be more productive.
This can seem contradictory, but nevertheless, the idea of imposing limits is a good way to develop creativity, problem-solving ability, and above all, your team will explore all the existing possibilities within the imposed limits.
5. Use the right tools
One of the best ways to effectively manage your clients’ creative projects is the use of specialised tools. A project management software dedicated to agencies offers numerous functionalities that facilitate communication and collaboration with the client. The centralisation and sharing of documents, an instant messaging service, video calls, a calendar, a task management tool, a tool to follow the progress of the project, etc. helps you to direct them to success.
Try it for yourself!