While creative agencies have different ways of interacting with clients and managing the creative process, most use one of two approaches when working with clients.

Some agencies like to have meetings with their clients, brainstorm with them, ask a lot of questions, and find out every detail before beginning. Then, they begin the project, create a concept or two, show it to the client, get feedback, ask more questions, and go on to the next step. As questions come up along the way, they stop and call the client for answers. These agencies emphasize ongoing dialogue with the client about details. While this approach involves clients more in the creative process, it also takes up a lot more of the clients’ time.

A creative director I previously worked with used to take designs that were still in progress and show them to the client to get feedback. Because the work wasn’t ready for presentation yet and was still an unfinished work-in-progress, it was hard for the client to visualize what the final product would look like. In my opinion it wasn’t a very productive step.

Other agencies talk with the client at the beginning, listen carefully to what they want to accomplish, and basically take the ball and run with it. They emphasize action. These agencies are very good at working on their own, working around missing information, and using common sense to fill in answers for details they lack. They do research on their own to identify missing information, such as calling publications to find out due dates or ad specs, talking directly to printers to find out mechanical requirements, etc. They take more of the burden off the client during the process, make their own decisions along the way, and complete each stage (concepts, design, etc.) before reviewing that stage with the client.

While there is no right or wrong approach as to how an agency manages the edutainment creative process with clients, in my experience busy clients really appreciate working with agencies that respect their time and are very proactive. These agencies ensure they have what they need to keep the project on schedule and meet all deadlines.

Edutainment marketers have demanding schedules, so having a creative partner who “gets it” on the front end of a conversation, knows the industry well, and is not afraid to handle details on their behalf, can be a real asset to maximizing their time and simplifying their lives.