The first thing we do after being assigned a project is schedule information-gathering meetings with your key staff. We are interested not only in scheduling, budget, and job specifications, but also in your preferences, target audience, and objectives.
Although this process is somewhat time-consuming (we don’t like meetings any more than you do), it is also crucially important. It will help you sharpen your focus and objectives, and it will help us ensure that what we produce is not only creatively excellent, but strategically targeted.
Despite popular misconceptions, good creative work doesn’t often come in a flash of inspiration; usually it comes from lots of trial and error. This is why we also need to take the time to consider several approaches (concepts), work them through, try them out. Then revise them. In addition, there are usually some practical and functional ends we need to tie up before submitting our ideas—sub-contractor availability and estimates, scheduling requirements, etc.
All this, plus the need to schedule our workflow in a businesslike fashion, means that we normally ask for up to two weeks, depending on the job’s complexity, before we submit our rough approaches (concepts) for your review. Of course, if you have a rush project or deadline pressure we adjust our workflow accordingly.
It is our experience that it is best if we first present our rough concepts to your project manager and just one or two others. This ensures that we all stay focused on the problem and are not distracted by too many personal opinions. The rough concepts we present are adequate to convey what we believe is the best approach, taking into consideration your budget, schedule, objectives, and preferences. On the other hand, they are not so well-developed as to have wasted time and effort if we need to make a course correction.
After presenting, we’ll ask for comments. The more objective and specific you can be, the better we will be able to respond. Comments are our input for revising the rough concepts into a finished one. Revision normally takes us about a week, and we schedule a second presentation shortly thereafter.
From the input at this second presentation meeting further minor refinements are made as necessary. We also finalize the production timetable, and the scheduling of additional services such as writing, photography, illustration, and website programming.
We recommend the final drafts be routed to the appropriate decision makers for fact and detail checking only, reserving stylistic and subjective decisions to your project manager. To avoid costly confusion, it is also important that all communication with us come from the project manager.
During the project we keep your project manager informed of our progress. Activities that will affect the schedule or budget are identified in writing. Our goal is to keep things moving ahead quickly, smoothly, and cost-effectively; to make sure that we’ll produce even better results than you had hoped for.