Choosing a creative company is easier when you ask the best question.
The Best Question
Many people tell creative companies what they need and then ask:
“Have you ever done that before?”
That is the wrong question. The best question is:
“Can you tell me about a time when a client asked you to do something that you’ve never done before?”
Here’s what to listen for:
Creative people thrive outside the box.
The best question helps you find people who excel at inventiveness. You do not want a creative company that cookie-cutters content. Instead, find out what the creative company is capable of by asking for a story about doing the unprecedented.
The process must make sense.
Asking the best question lets you listen for a creative company’s process:
- Do they seek help from a subject matter expert when they’re out of their depth?
- Do they set realistic expectations for how long a project will take, even in uncharted creative territory?
- Do they use a quality assurance process?
A good story will answer these questions.
A good creative company tells good stories.
A good story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. There’s a problem to solve. The telling is artistic and positive.
Every creative company worth retaining knows how to tell a good story. Asking the best question lets you experience what a potential firm could do for your brand, training process, website, user manual, or recruitment.
Here are two examples of good stories:
Example Story 1
A fitness company once asked us to illustrate technical line drawings for its user manuals. The company expected an expensive, time-consuming process. Our team looked for simpler ways to help.
We investigated alternatives and decided to try a new software tool we had never used before. The system allowed us to manipulate raw CAD data to obtain just the right angles we needed for the manual. We then converted those graphics into line drawings.
Our graphics team shared the workload to make sure each image effectively demonstrated each step we’d written for the user manual.
Result: Our client saved lots of money and received the finished manuals in weeks rather than months.
Example Story 2
A machinery company was preparing for a major conference and wanted help from business communication specialists. The company asked us to come on-site to capture the results of its creative process.
Over a dozen subject matter experts gathered to test their presentations on each other. Our team member kept track of everyone’s feedback.
We integrated those changes into everyone’s slides and workbooks. Then we used a quality assurance process to make sure every piece of collateral was perfect.
Result: Our client’s presentations were wildly successful. They developed brand awareness, showcased products, and drove sales during the conference.