Lean. It’s an overused word these days. Lean methodology. Lean business. Lean finance. It seems...
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The Creative Operations Podcast
With Daniel Jester
Our popular weekly podcast starring resident host Daniel Jester looks into creative operations, photo studios, and, most importantly, the people who run them. Give it a listen for great inspiration for running large-scale photo operations.
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Maryland-based consulting firm Cella recently issued their 2022 In-House Creative Industry Report...
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The last decade has seen an explosion in the demand for creative content of every type. Over that same period, the number of channels that content needs to feed has also proliferated and they’ve now matured to the point that each one demands its own strategy and specialized format.
This dramatic increase in what is often called “content velocity,” or a brand’s production of content over a given period of time, has meant an acceleration of every aspect of creative production and myriad added challenges as a result.
This has been especially true for the creative teams that produce content to enable e-commerce over the past two years as the pandemic disrupted consumer behavior and drove shoppers online in historic numbers.
In response to these pressures, which only seem to be growing, Creative Operations has emerged as a new discipline that very quickly has become an indispensable part of every leading organization’s marketing and creative teams.
Tasked with bringing structure to the creative process, Creative Operations is laser-focused on ensuring creative work is produced at scale and delivered on time as efficiently as possible.
The real key to this pursuit is in operationalizing the creative process by thinking about creative production as a supply chain in which each production step can be optimized in an ongoing way for continuous improvement.
With a lot of complexity involved in the creative production supply chain, it’s often best to break down the input elements into a ven diagram of large overlapping buckets, most often defined as People, Process, and Technology, with a fourth, Data or Metrics, overlaying them all.
Creative ops leaders seek to optimize for the roles responsible for producing the creative work which of course includes the creatives themselves but also those that ensure it gets produced efficiently, on time, at a high quality, and within scope. Those supporting roles include producers, project managers, traffic managers, creative resource managers, account managers, and others. They determine priorities and capacity and ensure that the organizational burden is lifted from the creatives so they can focus solely on creating their best work.
Defining a process from project intake to handing off final deliverables to their intended stakeholder AND adhering to that process (including saying “no” when necessary) is of the utmost importance to creative operations.
» Are all of the elements of the creative brief included before kickoff?
» Are the rounds of review and approvals defined and locked in ahead of time?
» Have bottlenecks been identified and eliminated so that creative work just flows?
And so on...
Part of doing things efficiently is ensuring that all aspects of the process, especially those that are repeatable and don't inherently add value, are automated as much as possible.
Creative ops leaders are obsessed with identifying ways to automate, then automate some more, and then automate even more. With an overwhelming number of project management, workflow, communication, and other solutions out there as well as integration options available through iPaas providers and open API protocols almost every repetitive task can be automated away.
Data / Metrics
Finally, the discipline also seeks to embody the principle of continuous improvement.
Data and metrics along with feedback loops ensure that the creative process is as efficient as possible. And with technology capturing performance data in real-time any problems or bottlenecks can be identified and addressed before they get out of hand.
Overall, creative operations drives efficiency, creates greater accountability and transparency, improves team performance, and ensures high-quality creative work and greater consistency.
Yet as a relatively new discipline, charged with varied and disparate duties, defining the role and problem-solving its challenges remains an ongoing difficulty.
This is exactly why CreativeOperations.com exists!
This site seeks to serve as the authoritative resource for all creative operations leaders seeking to up their game and lead their teams to even greater success. It will feature thought leadership articles by industry experts, podcast interviews with some of the brightest minds in the field, an exhaustive guide to KPIs and how to apply data to drive efficiency, and a forum to connect you to your peers for an ongoing exchange of best practices and advice.
Stay tuned for exciting updates and helpful content in the weeks to come!