Asking “Why?” Increases Accountability and Improves Quality

In order to properly execute any creative project, from a tiny graphics tweak to a very complicated, expensive, long-term campaign, I strive to know the “why” before I even begin working.

In our department, with any work that comes our way, we always have to know the intention behind the assignment. Whether it’s for a client or for an internal project, we want to understand the actual meaning, the goal behind each task, so that we can develop a mindset about how we can improve the end product.

No matter where it originates from, we are ultimately accountable for every assignment that filters down to us. It is up to us to either enhance the work or to possibly make it worse by not taking some initiative to learn about what factors are driving it. When you take some pride in the work you produce, not only are you showing accountability, but you are encouraging team members and clients to be accountable for the ideas they present to you.

Sometimes I receive what is described as an urgent graphics assignment requiring a very quick turnaround. A common request is “I need a PowerPoint,” accompanied by some generic copy with little context. Whenever this happens, I pause right there and say, “hold on, what is this PowerPoint for, what is the objective, who is the target audience,” etc.

As I dig deeper into the motivations, sometimes it turns out it’s not really a PowerPoint they need. Sometimes the request turns out to be obsolete because it’s content that we have already produced, or it becomes clear that it will likely become a much bigger project than just a PowerPoint presentation.

By diving below the surface, we can gain more understanding, and by putting that bit of personal care, we can improve the product – if not for this time, then for next time.

It’s putting that little bit of care into your work that makes all the difference, because when you do care, you can then make any project better. You can either do things the right way or the easy way. When you care about doing good work, you’re not interested in taking a shortcut or the easy way out. Instead, you’re dedicated to doing things the right way, spending a little more time and effort to improve the end product.

In order to fulfill our mission at BrandStar of telling compelling stories, we focus on being great listeners.

It all starts with asking “why?”

José Oscar Rodríguez is Creative Director at BrandStar.

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