Based out of Milwaukee, UnderBelly Creative is a creative agency focused on making bold, human-centred design accessible for all. The team specializes in working with startups, small businesses and creatives who are looking for imaginative, illustration-based designs.
Ultimately their goal is to build long-lasting partnerships with their clients. This is why they position themselves as the go-to designers for everything from a first website, to product packaging, to popup experience, and more. It’s safe to say they get invested.
They take pride in their process which is incredibly collaborative and iterative. It all starts with a rather casual Discovery Meeting which acts as an opportunity to learn more about what the client is looking for and get an overall vibe check to see if it seems like a partnership everyone wants to pursue.
After the Discovery Meeting, they move on to the Creative Brief Meeting. The goal of this meeting is to get their new clients comfortable and talking in order to get to the heart of their why. In this Creative Brief Meeting detailed questions are being asked about the business and business model, understanding goals and long-term vision, learning about the target audience, as well as getting a first insight into the potential visual identity.
At this point, UnderBelly Creative leaves it up to the client to decide whether or not they wish to move forward with the project. They believe in their process and by showing their clients what they do without any required commitment on their end, they've found clients are almost always ready to take the big leap.
Throughout the creative process they maintain an open line of communication with multiple check-in points, regardless of the size of the project. All team members are always welcome to join meetings and all documentation is easily available and organized.
As a young and bold agency of designers without any prior experience working at big agencies, the team did not have an efficient process in place when starting new projects.
Often a new project would start with a rather informal conversation with the client. Examples were being given of what the client had in mind and they then jumped right into the creative process with whatever solutions they came up with. This resulted in wasting many hours of precious illustration skills into outcomes that did not please the client and were completely off mark.
After some research the team understood that setting up a creative brief with the client before jumping head-first into the creative work might be their golden ticket to fruitful partnerships. Though researching for creative brief examples they only found stagnant PDF’s – which are not ideal when wanting to scale your business – that had to be recreated in Google Drive. And even at this point the team was not too confident they actually knew precisely what questions to ask to have an effective creative brief.
How HolaBrief helps
Within 6 months of starting their business, the team at underBelly Creative found HolaBrief and have never looked back since.
“When I found HolaBrief, the fact it came with templates and I could edit the exercises as needed, it was a no-brainer to start working with them right away.”
The reason they kept using HolaBrief is that they received such good feedback from their clients. Nearly every client that goes through their creative brief process ends up commenting how much they love going through the HolaBrief exercises with them.
Now, HolaBrief is the backbone of their Creative Brief Meeting. During this virtual meeting, the HolaBrief project is being shared, and questions and exercises are being answered together. The client is able to go down tangents that lead to moments of insights. Seeing their client’ s engagement truly motivates everyone to create fruitful outcomes.
After the meeting, the creative brief is being adjusted and shaped in-house to best represent what was discussed. A detailed timeline based on target end dates is being added and then the final PDF is sent off to the entire team to ensure all of the information in the document is accurate.
They then use the agreed-upon creative brief document as their project bible regarding assets, timelines, and goals. Having a document that simply and cleanly lays out the core aspects of the project has helped to ensure everyone is on the same page from the very beginning.
“Beyond just reducing our stress, HolaBrief helped to give us confidence in taking on new projects and gave our clients confidence that we knew what we were doing. As a brand new agency, that meant everything.”
HolaBrief: How easy was it to onboard and integrate HolaBrief into your business?
Olivia Wisden, Founder and CEO at UnderBelly Creative: We built our client onboarding process largely around HolaBrief, so it was incredibly easy to implement HolaBrief into our business. I can safely say that our clients now have a better experience with HolaBrief compared to our process before.
What recommendations do you have for others considering?
I recommend going through the exercises with your clients! It's a fun and easy way to get your client's team engaged around a phase that can oftentimes be very overwhelming. We've had NUMEROUS clients tell us that our creative brief meeting is one of the most fun long meetings they've been to.
Have you received positive feedback about HolaBrief from your customers?
Constantly. Clients either tell us how fun the actual creative brief process is OR they explicitly stop the meeting to say "Oh my gosh, what is this tool? It's awesome".
How would you rate HolaBrief?