Before I started working in video marketing, I spent a few years leading the production team of an important post production house. It was a fascinating experience. I got the chance to work with important television channels and with some of the most relevant VOD platforms of the world. But not all of the projects were that big, I also had the opportunity to manage opera prima projects for independent filmmakers and short films.
And, believe it or not, if there is one thing that all these over forty very diverse projects I worked on have in common is that they all had some sort of issue when it comes to client feedback.
From getting contradictory notes from three different stakeholders in three different email threads (or even texts), to having shared spreadsheets that the client never used, to taking over three weeks to give their feedback on a cut. Believe me, I have seen it all.
I genuinely think that this is the most problematic aspect of any audiovisual post production project, because it is the one aspect you are 0% in control of. You need to get the feedback (or the approval) from the client to move forward, there is simply no way around it. And when something fails in this interaction, the schedule starts being pushed and the budget execution starts to turn red. Something that absolutely no client wants.
This is why, based on our experience with all kinds of projects, we have crafted a simple guide on how to offer good, precise and truly useful feedback when having to review a cut from your video marketing video. And we want to share it with you:
Industry Best Practices: A guide to offering creative feedback
When offering feedback, please keep in mind the objectives of the content.
Who it’s for and what it’s for?
The most helpful feedback is clear, specific, noted, with timecode (when applicable), and actionable.
- Carefully select who on the team must weigh in on the content.
- Focus on the work, not the person who created it.
- Be an active co-creator, not a passive receiver. Don’t be afraid to disagree, your input is critical to getting the result you want.
- Timebox the feedback. Stick to the dedicated timeline and only offer feedback within the agreed upon structured time periods.
Does the content achieve the desired outcome?
What works well about the content? Name specific moments.
Does the concept work?
Is our hero on camera relatable? Likable? Easy to follow?
Are you emotionally engaged?
Seek understanding about…
What doesn’t work about the content? Be specific.
Is this the story (message) you want to tell?
Is the message in alignment with the brand values?
Does the message speak directly to the target audience?
Does the content capture the brand essence?
Does the content reflect the brand personality/voice?
Is the call to action clear? If not, what might make it more clear?
Share references. Creative references can be helpful. If you don’t like the music or graphics, find examples of music and graphics you love can help everyone get on the same creative page, rather than a comment like “we need more drums”.
Rather than using subjective terms like “I don’t like..”, it’s more helpful to explain why certain elements may not align with intended objectives or target audience. This objective feedback helps guide the creative team toward solutions that address specific concerns.
Please remember ALL FEEDBACK MUST BE IN WRITING FROM ONE SOURCE.
We love jumping on all calls with our clients, talking through the content. AND we still need one set of streamlined, curated notes with all feedback in writing that can be shared with the whole team.
Examples of instrumental actionable feedback
– 1:15 Music is too loud, I can’t hear the dialogue.
– 0:45 The shot of the product is too short.
– 1:20-25 The kids don’t seem happy enough. Let’s find another option.
– 2:10 The title is hard to read. Give it another 3 seconds on screen please.
– 0:10 Add river sound effects when we see the river
– 0:58 Replace logo to be over white background.
Avoid general feedback:
– The story is confusing.
– The cinematography needs to be better.
– Some shots are not what I was expecting.
– It is not structured the way I imagined or makes sense to me.
– I don’t like it, it’s too long, it’s boring, it’s not for me.
But that is only our story. We would love to hear about your experiences dealing with client feedback. What have you tried? What has worked? What hasn’t?
StoryInc crafts cinematic brand films, marketing videos for forward thinking brands who value authenticity, connection, and transformational relationships. Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco.