Scaling Your Content with Creative Operations
In today’s digital landscape, building a brand has become more challenging than ever before. The internet, social media, the metaverse, AR/VR, and other emerging technologies have created a multitude of communication channels for brands. However, it’s crucial to make strategic choices, as not every channel is suitable for every brand or company. It’s best to align your presence with your desired target audience:
For instance, outdoor advertising targeted at people with visual impairments may not be effective, while radio advertisements could be a more suitable choice.
In the case of a private banker, it’s advisable to avoid sending brochures to individuals with assets less than €100,000.
Moreover, maintaining a visible presence is essential. Just as in personal relationships, maintaining regular contact with your audience helps keep your brand top of mind. As the saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind.”
One of the most critical aspects of effective communication is the quality of your messages or content. Are they appealing to your target audience? Is the copywriting compelling? Is there a creative concept guiding your content? Does the design meet professional standards? Is everything aligned with your corporate identity and tailored to the specific channel where the message will appear?
Producing content incurs costs beyond media and production expenses. Time spent in planning, strategizing, and evaluating must also be accounted for. In a world of real-time communication, companies must be able to adapt quickly, balancing proactivity with responsiveness. This presents a considerable challenge for many organizations, even those with ample budgets and large marketing or communications teams. Enlisting the assistance of an external communications agency can help but coordinating the flow of messages is essential when multiple parties are involved.
This is where Creative Operations, or CreativeOps, comes into play. CreativeOps is a structured approach that brings organization, methodology, and insights to creative project development, excluding the actual design or production work. The primary goal of CreativeOps is to maximize efficiency between project briefing and final product delivery while ensuring quality and cost control.
Like all Operations disciplines, CreativeOps focuses on People, Processes, and Technology:
People: This includes all individuals directly or indirectly involved in the creative project, such as the creative team, account managers, brand strategists, producers, creative directors, and the client themselves.
Processes: These encompass the methods and techniques required for creative work, as well as the overall framework, including briefing, planning, delivery, and invoicing.
Technology: This involves the tools and resources used to manage creative projects, which can range from project management software (e.g., Teamleader Orbit) to dedicated platforms for creative project management (e.g., Adobe Workfront, Air.inc, Kitchen, Artworkflow).
More than project management
Creative Operations encompasses more than just project management; it can be divided into three core domains:
Project Management Involves overseeing the entire creative project, including managing design requests, prioritizing tasks, streamlining briefings, capacity planning, cost and deadline management, and coordinating communication among all stakeholders.
Production Management Encompasses processes and workflows that extend beyond creative design and impact it, including creative automation, dynamic template creation, and the production of variations for A/B testing and different formats. (e.g., Storyteq, Creatopy, Bynder,Contentoo).
Product Management This pertains to making the actual end product available. All materials are centrally stored, including version control and access rights. Everything is easily searchable through labeling and metadata tags. Often, a Digital Asset Management (DAM) platform is used for this purpose, such as Bynder, Air.inc, Adobe Experience Manager Asset Essentials, or Frontify. Linked to this is how the end customer interacts with the delivered materials. Whereas in the past, even minor adjustments required reaching out to a designer, today, with the right applications, customers can make these changes themselves. Access to all files through a DAM serves as the foundation. Alongside user-friendly design software, files (and templates) from the DAM can also be edited. The rise of Gen AI has accelerated the development of such applications. Canva recently launched Magic Studio, Adobe also utilizes AI through deep integration of Sensei and Firefly in Adobe Express. Microsoft is also entering the arena with the release of Microsoft Designer. DIY design tools of this kind can be highly beneficial as long as they produce professional and consistent output.
It’s evident that Creative Ops offers benefits to all parties involved:
For the client / end customer
Makes the design process transparent for both the customer and employees
Ensures the quality of creative work
Guarantees timely delivery of creative work within the agreed budget
For creative teams
Reduces workload: Automation reduces the need for numerous email conversations and meetings, allowing the design team to focus on content and creative work.
Simplifies collaboration: The combination of a central library (document management, as well as fonts, styles, elements, and templates) and digital communication tools enables designers to collaborate seamlessly, even when working remotely.
Even for Small Businesses
Well-developed Creative Ops prove their value immediately for large organizations with many employees and clients. More stakeholders, more requests, and more creative materials as end products make everything more complex than in small businesses. Nevertheless, even the latter group stands to gain significantly from an efficient approach to their creative projects. It remains beneficial for the end customer to have insight into the design process. Centralized management of briefs, files, and feedback helps maintain content in line with the brief and brand identity. Creative professionals themselves benefit from efficient project management and smart technology.
Ultimately, the cost factor is also convincing. By investing in Creative Ops (as both a methodology and technology), a company can save time in creating high-quality content. This can positively impact profit margins. Furthermore, producing content on a larger scale becomes more manageable.
Is your company implementing any form of Creative Operations?