From ideation to implementation, the workflow in a creative agency can be hectic and sometimes hard to keep track of. This is mostly because of the different departments a brief goes through before it gets to the client. A typical agency story revolves around strategy decks, copies, creatives, and all other content forms being subject to multiple corrections and reverts from different departments. Now, between making those changes and trying to meet up with deadlines, a lot of things could go wrong. How then do agencies maintain control and deliver quality campaigns? We’d say through a process that you probably have heard in the business clime a thousand times – quality control.
Quality Control is a system set up to inspect and ensure that products and services meet defined quality standards. In a creative agency, this would mean ensuring that not only are the client’s objectives met, but industry standards are met as well. An ideal quality management system as stipulated by the International Organisation for Standardization(ISO) involves seven principles:
- Customer focus
- Engagement of people
- Process approach
- Evidence-based decision making
- Relationship management
Although mostly used in manufacturing industries, quality control also has its place in creative agencies. With the ever-increasing shift from a traditional marketing approach to digital marketing, digital agencies like Anakle have found a way to deal with the challenges an always-on digital communication presents to clients. These creative agencies have many moving parts, which need to monitor digital activities 24/7. Sometimes, these parts do not move in sync and this is why quality control is pertinent. When different teams work together, mistakes can happen – ideas could be miscommunicated and some feedback can get lost. However, with a quality control process in place, lapses will be easily spotted and rectified. Besides, as creatives, a second eye and another perspective may be all that is needed to take your work from basic to topnotch.
Tips for a More Efficient Quality Control Process
The entire process of quality control involves inspecting each stage of a brief life, from ideation to the final output. Here are five steps to foster an effective quality control process in a creative agency:
Understand Your Clients’ Needs
The first step to quality control in a creative agency is to understand the needs of your client. Account managers must go beyond the brief and ask for the clients’ expectations now and in the future. It’s also important to discuss the already existing standards of the clients. In so doing, the client’s set standards are identified. Then the account managers ought to communicate the process of the agency. After an agreement has been reached, a timeline for the project should be agreed upon.
Communicate Identified Needs Throughout Your Agency
Now that your client’s needs have been identified, these needs should be communicated to the appropriate teams or departments to be translated into deliverables. An internal meeting should be held to ensure all teams act in line with the client’s needs. Questions should be encouraged to help the team’s understanding of the brief. The last thing you want is for your deliverables to appear disjointed to the client.
Plan and Review Deliverables
As deliverables move from team to team, team leads must take into consideration the set standards earlier identified and tailor the deliverables to meet that requirement. This may mean a lot of corrections or back and forth meetings but this is only a process that quality control demands. However, the project timelines should be adhered to regardless of the internal tweaks that go on.
Establish Roles For Quality Control
This is a key part of quality control. A creative agency should have roles assigned to individuals to ensure that the deliverables are free from errors and meet set standards. For example, a brief is reviewed by the entire team and then each department gets on with their part of the process. Team leads of each department have a responsibility to ensure that their part of the process meets set standards. Above all, account managers should keep every team member involved in the execution process abreast of progress and challenges.
Evaluate the Finished Product
At this stage, the agency should have a product ready to be sent out to the client but this product should still be examined. A team made up of the different departments should be assigned to look through the document before it is finally sent out. At this stage, individuals are likely free from any bias and can look at the product objectively to ensure that it checks all the required standards.
Send the Work Out and Measure Client Satisfaction
Once an agency has satisfied all the requirements, the work should be sent to the client. The client should get assurance that the agency is ready to work on feedback and revert within stipulated feasible timelines. This is to the end that the quality expectations of earlier stated objectives are met.
A creative agency should have these processes in place for client satisfaction. Quality control, if done in an agile manner will not only lead to client satisfaction but will also improve the agency’s reputation in the industry. In what ways has quality control helped your agency? Do you think there are other ways to successfully integrate quality control into your agency’s workflow? Share with us in the comments.
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