Training Ad Review Superheroes – 3 Core Components to Building a Brilliant Team

I recently co-presented on this topic at the 2016 IAdCA Conference in Miami, and the session had a great turnout. For those that weren’t able to attend, I want to go over what we believe are three core components of a holistic training program that can take your ad review team from basic to brilliant.  

So, what are these three core components, you ask? Here they are:

  1. Foundation – training in this area revolves around core substantive knowledge. It includes state rules and regulations on advertising, company standards & business rules, and product knowledge. Building the foundation is key to having an ad review team that is phenomenal.

    In terms of getting people to learn this information quickly, the best combination I’ve found is a balance of discussion and action. As much as possible, encourage the trainee to explain whatever they’re reading back to you. Don’t answer questions for them! Allow them the space to think through, and verbalize, what a regulation is saying, or how it applies to language they’ve flagged as potentially misleading, etc. The faster they start actually reviewing pieces, talking about their comments and connecting them to rules, regulations, and standards, the more quickly they’ll be on their way to independence.
  2. Soft Skills – this area is about all the other skills that make highly effective reviewers that aren’t directly related to learning fundamental knowledge. It may be a surprise to find that there are, in fact, many other skills that make the difference between a competent reviewer and an effective one.

    For example, you may have members on your team that really know their stuff in terms of how products work or what the standards are, but maybe they’re having a hard time getting changes made and communicating effectively. Instead of having productive exchanges with marketing, there is negativity and long, drawn-out reviews.

    There are specific things that can be done to improve the overall flow and experience of ad review. Whether you’re a team of one or 10, this is where the role of ad review can be shifted from something that seems cumbersome to productive.

    If you tuned into our webinar interview with Kristy Grant-Hart, you know she touches on a concept that can be incredibly powerful in terms of getting buy-in for any compliance message or goal, ad review included. It’s the idea that there are four primary motivators, and taking the time to see what drives a person and using stories to connect your message to their motivation increases the likelihood that changes will happen with more ease – perhaps even willingly. The four motivators are: personal protection, company protection, noble cause and competitive edge.

    If you’re having trouble getting a message heard, try to understand what motivates the other party, then explain how your change either protects them from certain risks (e.g., being personally held responsible for a “bad ad,” fines against the company, etc.) or how it helps achieve their goals (e.g., doing the right thing by the customer, being more profitable by having more qualified business, etc.)
  3. Refinement – finally, this component is an on-going process, and deals with ways to continually improve and advance individual team members as well as the team as a whole. At this point, it’s about making tweaks and adjustments to policies, procedures, relationships, etc. to be even better than before.

    A great practice for those in this phase would be to present and teach others about ad review. Learning then teaching a subject is a great way to deepen one’s own knowledge of the topic. What an experienced reviewer may take for granted as basic knowledge, may actually be unknown to many outside of the subject area. They’ll start looking at their discipline differently and thinking more creatively about how to explain certain concepts or ideas to others.

    This can be done through having an analyst compile weekly tips on various ad review topics, or about the departments policies and why they are in place. It could also be through presenting on panels at industry events, which is also a great way to show a company’s overall commitment to compliance.

So, there you have it – three core components – by continually training and building in these three areas, you’ll end up with a team that is efficient, knowledgeable and effective in their work.

If you’d like more tips, check out this infographic that covers "6 Steps to Creating & Monitoring an EPIC Ad Review Team."