At first glance, the words “creative” and “operations” may not appear to go together. We usually associate “creative” with things like design, marketing, advertising and branding. However, these departments or functions need managing by operational professionals to avoid missed deadlines frequently caused by bottlenecks in the review process. Employees who work in creative operations department usually combine creative flair with organisational skills.
Throughout the following lines you are going to learn more about the “creative operations” concept, why this is important to design, brand, marketing and agency teams, and how you can implement it within your firm.
If compelling copy, impressive visuals, and user-friendly interactions are what empower standout customer experiences, then the creative production is what enables teams to deliver their very best work. If your process feels chaotic, then follow the tips below to streamline your process.
Manage your projects all in one place
The digital marketing teams of large enterprises around the world use work management tools to centralise all creative requests as well as the production management. By getting requests out of email and using such work management tools to collaborate more efficiently, organisations are able to save hundreds of hours of work a month and are able to spend that time on strategy and other goals instead of managing all the disparate pieces.
Standardising the creative brief
Generate a standard intake form that will capture all the necessary details to kick off and complete the project. Make sure you include:
- Objectives and goals
- Your audience
- The timeline
- The deliverables
Develop a production plan
Go ahead and create and share a clear production schedule. Make sure you stick to it.
Guiding your stakeholders through the process
Let your stakeholders know what they can expect throughout the production process: when drafts will be ready for review, what the milestones are or who to contact when they have questions.
Make sure feedback is collaborative yet actionable
Providing feedback seems pretty simple, but truth is, it’s easy to get wrong. Keep all your feedback, all your notes and relevant discussions together with the creative requests, so that everyone has full context on what needs to be changed.
Skip unnecessary meetings and instead, send quick notes to let colleagues know how work is progressing. They can be either weekly or monthly, it doesn’t matter that much, but make sure that your status update includes the following:
- Is the project is on track, off track, or at risk?
- What are the key milestones? And the completed work?
- Any challenges or issues coming up?
A library of final assets
You do not need to reinvent the wheel for every request that you receive. Make sure you have all your creative assets in one place or central repository so that you can reuse assets whenever you need to.
What does creative operations exactly mean?
Creative operations is a framework that can optimise productivity as well as manage deadlines within creative teams, making sure that projects are delivered within the deadline.
Creative operations usually covers a number of things, which can include:
- Editor’s note: Intake forms can shorten the process of assembling project briefs and new creative assets from end clients, contractors as well as external collaborators.
- Project intake: Planning in regards to the value of a project by capturing, assessing, and prioritising the ideas, creating a proposal, and getting the go-ahead from the management.
- Project management: Planning, starting, executing, testing, monitoring, fine-tuning and delivering the work of the team to meet specific objectives all within set time constraints.
- Creative brief: Closely following a document facilitated by the service requested that actually lists the deliverables of the project. The creative teams can use it to develop the required visual design, copy, and online site assets.
- Communication with end clients: Speaking in a simple language and non-jargon to clients, knowing how and when to listen, establishing a real human connection for a long-term relationship, keeping into account a client's comfort zone, and understanding what are their preferred communication channels.
- Communication with project leaders: Periodically touch base with project owners, project leaders and stakeholders through meetings and in-person, discussion boards, status updates and more.
- Communication within the
creative production agency: Portraying the right vision, providing them with details as well as context, setting timelines and expectations in a clear manner, and trusting the creative team to do what they know how to do best without micromanaging their workflow.
- Status updates: Providing timely updates on the progress of the projects, answering questions, and providing key information to stakeholders.
- Review: Identifying the deliverables produced so far, identifying whether or not the project’s initial objectives were met, and ultimately collecting and disseminating feedback for project owners.
- Revisions: Addressing areas with potential room for improvement, giving recommendations, and proposing new plans of action.
- Delivery: Delivering the final project to the end client or internal stakeholder.