Your agency has spent time designing your new website or brochure and are proudly presenting back their work.  But there's something not quite right; you're struggling to put your finger on it and you don't want to upset your working relationship, so you end up living with something you're not happy with just because they are supposed to be the expert. 

Well don't.  Don't live with it if it's not right and don’t be afraid to give feedback to your suppliers.  They don’t know your brand and business as well as you do, so don’t expect it to be perfect first time round. Good suppliers should cost in some time to revisit their work after you have given feedback. So if there's something niggling you about the work they have done, make sure you take the time to articulate the niggle and use ICING's tips to help JUDGE outsourced work objectively:

J – Justify the work, against the brief you gave. Does it meet the objective(s) of your brief and your brand design guidelines? Are the messages you wanted to get across clear?

U – Understand the field. In order to judge outsourced work, you need to have an understanding of what others do.  Look for examples around you to compare with, especially in your field of business, to spark ideas

D – Discuss – as oppose to tell.  Rather than stating what’s wrong or what needs changing, discuss the work openly.  Establish what’s behind the supplier’s ideas and how they got to the conclusion they reached.  Open discussions like this can help lead to other ideas or a solution

G – Gut reactions are to be avoided. We all know when something doesn’t “feel” right, but be careful to recognise when it’s personal.  Try to see things through your customers’ eyes and judge the work from their viewpoint. 

E – Engage with your suppliers. They want to do a good job so that you use them again or refer them, so think about how you can engage them in the process and inspire quality thinking and good work. Avoid sending your brief by email - the nuances and understanding of the written word vary person to person. It's a good idea to have a written brief, but why not discuss your it in an ”open” environment, such as over coffee or lunch, or in an inspiring space, so that you can discuss the brief in depth

Working openly with your agencies and suppliers, providing objective feedback and welcoming discussion, helps build trust, creativity, better relationships and ultimately better work and value for your business.  If you've got further thoughts or would like any advice managing your creative projects, please get in contact with me