Siobhan McGarvey's secret work weapon? Ban 'I like' and 'I don't like' from meetings

Avoiding "I like..." or "I don't like..." helps you evaluate creative work objectively, says Siobhan McGarvey, head of marketing at Flight Centre.

Siobhan McGarvey, head of marketing, Flight Centre
Siobhan McGarvey, head of marketing, Flight Centre

Earlier in my career I would sit in on creative approval meetings. I soon realised I didn’t envy the creative team’s presentations as they were fielding feedback about stakeholders’ personal likes or dislikes. This is OK if you know the likes and dislikes in advance, and better still if the ‘likes’ are on-brand. However, I have witnessed my share of revised versions and, not surprisingly, the final creative never seemed that different from one of the first options presented.

I wanted to find a way to evaluate my team’s creativity objectively. The outputs are evaluated in an environment free of personal preferences. ‘I like…’ and ‘I don’t like…’ are banned.

Before any creative is revealed we remind ourselves of the brief’s key points. If ‘I like’ slips out, it will be followed by a reason relating to the brief. Our discussions end up being honest and constructive.

There is nothing better than a creative and marketing team working together without second-guessing. There is that central source of truth to return to and the final vision isn’t too far from the first concept presented.

That said, I can’t help myself when I hear that people say they like something we do. Recently, we opened a new style of store and it has been great to hear the positive remarks, even those that start ‘I really like…’