Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen: Cleaning Up the Creative Review Process


Ronn Torossian, CEO, 5WPR 

Working in a creative field is at once rewarding and challenging. Within this subset of the workforce, it often seems that the creative review process gets mired down in mock-ups and margins. While reviewing creative and ensuring that the end product is the best possible asset for the business objective is absolutely necessary. Is there such a thing as “too many cooks in the kitchen”? The short answer is: yes. 

Let’s go through a typical creative review process at a mid-sized company. While every company will have its own process in place for creative, use this example as a fairly standard approach to review. 

Much creative work stems from one person’s brain. Perhaps the concept was borne out of a strategy session, but often the creative work falls on one person’s desk. This person spends a few hours drafting a concept that illustrates the goal of the campaign the best. Perhaps an infographic paired with some banner ads would be a good mix of assets for this particular project. 

The creative designer then sends along the work to be reviewed by her superiors. The draft must go through her direct supervisor, to the team working on marketing execution, to the team doing media buying and programmatic ads. When the designer receives the draft work, several new ideas and suggestions have surfaced. 

This review process can often take days, if not weeks, depending on the workload of those who are on the review chain of command. Often, these review periods can be exhaustive and almost venture into the territory of micromanagement. 

Dense review processes not only take up unnecessary amounts of time, but they also cut into productivity and, as a byproduct, morale. In any scenario, team members should be trusted to do their work within the confines of their job description and the task at hand. Subjecting every piece of work to an exhaustive review process wastes time and also can make a team member feel as if their work is not trusted without a full editing and review process. 

This isn’t to say that work should be done and dusted with no review. Rather, consider consolidating steps or, at the least, setting a deadline for review. Above all, ensure that the team in place to conceptualize creative assets has enough empowerment to do their jobs freely and with creative abandon. After all, hiring the right creative team is a valuable process, as creative types are great assets to any team. 

In order to prevent a business from suffering from a “too many cooks in the kitchen” syndrome, it’s important to thoroughly review processes and ensure that there aren’t too many steps being taken to create an exhaustive procedure. While constructive feedback is an important part of any creative project, there is still a need to streamline the process and ensure that those in charge of creating materials are given the power to do so, not just receiving marked up work back with mounds of edits and changes.

Employees as Marketers-Thoughts From 5WPR Founder Ronn TorossianAbout the Author: Ronn Torossian is CEO of NYC based 5WPR, a leading digital public relations agency.