At Freestyle Marketing Group, process is a fundamental cornerstone of our business practice. Our processes are developed with care, tested, and used with every project we do. From big year-long projects to quick “need-by-end-of-day” jobs, we stick to our process to ensure that we always produce a quality product and service. It is devastating to find a typo on a printed brochure that you’ve just received in a box with 10,000 others, it’s heartbreaking to have a newly-launched website crash due to hosting issues, and it’s soul crushing when a mistake causes a rift in the client-agency relationship.

Starting off on the right foot is actually a huge time saver. It may require a bit more planning in the early stages of the project but taking those steps now will will ensure the project won’t go in the wrong direction and need to be course corrected or necessitate a complete do-over. Take time to understand the buyer persona — the brand. Collaborate with the client; ask questions to ensure you get an in-depth understanding of the client’s goals and objectives.

Once this understanding has been reached–and you’ll know when you get there–it’s time for our Account Planner to write the creative brief (obviously, keeping it brief). Key messages, sacred cows, buyer personas, and other important information will be defined. The brief is meant to inspire the creatives and not overwhelm them with data and mind-numbing statistics.

Now the work can begin. This is a good time hold a kick off, brainstorm, and/or creative pow wow to decide on a direction. Get the whole team involved, creatives and accounts, and come up with the idea. Then release the team. The creatives will begin their process; Copywriters will start typing away and designers will start sketching.

Status updates, client feedback, and revisions will continue throughout the creative process. Checks and balances are the name of the game. It’s amazing how some typos or details can slip past the eyes of multiple people. Review, approve, review, approve, until there is no doubt that the product is ready for production. This is a crucial time to stick to the process. Utilize every round of review and make sure that the client signs off at every stage. In the unfortunate event of an oversight, this process will make it possible to retrace your steps and figure out when or where something went wrong. Turn mistakes into opportunities to learn and make any adjustments to the process if necessary.

Following a strict process ensures quality, not only in marketing or advertising but in any sort of work. In the realm of an ad agency, it is vital to build a strong client-agency relationship to make the process smooth and timely. Schedule enough time for client feedback and creative revisions, but stick to the number of rounds you agreed to with the client upfront. Lastly, report and analyze. What results were achieved, insights gained, recommendations made, and what was learned?

When in doubt, always trust the process.