I so often have people coming to me after creating a logo or a website and asking me ‘So, what do you think?’ They tell me that they’ve asked all their friends and family and clients for feedback and what they usually end up with is one of two outcomes:
1. They hear so many conflicting opinions that they’re totally confused, or;
2. Everyone sort of says ‘Yeah it’s good’… which also isn’t very useful fodder for how your brand is going to stand up in the real world.
The problem with asking people what they think about your logo… or your website… or any subjective ‘thingy’ you’ve poured your head and heart into making is that their answer will also be based on very personal and subjective values, tastes and experiences.
Now, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask for feedback, but you can use a process that will help you get USEFUL feedback.
The process I’m about to share was inspired by The Critical Response Process by Liz Lerman
, a process for receiving creative feedback that’s been handed down to me from one of my creative mentors, Rebekah West. Liz’s process is much more indepth, and if you work in the creative field I’d highly recommend reading it, but for small business owner’s, the process I’ve outlined below is quick, simple and will get you golden gems to make sure you’re on track with your business building. For the purpose of explaining things, I’ve use the example of a logo design, but you can apply it to any creative aspect of your business – from a website to a book cover or a business card.
Step 1: Ask the right people
The most valuable feedback comes from people who are going to use your business. If your target audience is women, don’t ask men for feedback. If your audience is athletes, don’t ask book worms. And please, don’t just throw out a feedback request to a Facebook group that is not directly related to your business. Finally, when it comes to getting feedback from your nearest and dearest, of course you want to show them this amazing thingy you’ve created, but don’t put so much weight on the feedback they give you. It’s lovely that Great Aunt Fanny thinks your logo needs more petunias, but that doesn’t mean you have to take her advice on board.
Step 2: Instead of asking ‘What do you think of my logo?’, ask questions like:
- What words come to mind when you see this logo?
- How does the logo make you feel?
- What is memorable about the logo?
- What do you think of when you see the logo?
These questions will help you understand if what you’ve created actually has the meaning you intended.
For example, say a core value of your business is the empowerment of women. In that case you’ll want to create a logo that appeals to women and makes them feel empowered. If you’re receiving feedback that your logo is gentle, comforting or subdued, or that it makes people feel sad, you know you’re on the wrong track. Now, if you had just asked people ‘What do you think?” you may not have gained that gem of insight. The may have told you that they like the style not the colour or that the font is too big… things that may not ACTUALLY matter in the grand scheme of your brand.
Step 2: Ask people to EXPAND on what they’ve told you
If someone has told you that they think your logo is gentle. Ask ‘What is it that makes it feel gentle?’. They may say ‘It’s that flower you’ve used’. Instant insight moment! This gives so much more insight than for example if they just said they don’t like the colour red you’ve used… and then you find out it’s because they’re mum made them wear red all through childhood and they hated it. That’s not a nice experience for them, but it’s totally irrelevant to your business!
Step 3: The person giving feedback now gets to ask YOU a question about your logo
In Liz’s process it’s important that this question is neutral. This can be a bit tricky at first, but give it a go. For example instead of someone asking you a question like ‘Why is your logo so red?’ they could ask ‘What guided the colour choice of your logo?” Your answer to their question will help you clarify your decisions about your choices… if you can’t give them a good answer, it might be a good idea to review!
And that’s it, next time you make something you’ve poured your heart into, instead of trekking to the mountain tops and yelling ‘Hey world full of really different people! What do you think of my thingy?!’, try this 3 step process instead… I hope it serves you as well as it’s served me!