How in-house teams can future-proof creative production

This post is sponsored by Celtra.

This piece was written remotely, and most of you will be reading it remotely. We’ve undergone a massive disruption that is challenging how we conduct business. Brands are being forced to adopt digital workflows rapidly to adjust to the new normal – especially when it comes to creative production and campaign launches.

The pandemic has undoubtedly turned marketing plans upside down in many creative teams, and perhaps that rings true for you, as well. Assets and campaigns that were crafted previously need revision, different messaging, or entirely new approaches and designs. The amount of work ahead may be daunting. But with the proper workflow, you can move through changes much more efficiently.

Creative automation brings remote teams together

It’s time to look under the hood. How are you handling creative production today? Many are still managing their creatives through back and forth emails, with teams working on different applications and programmes: copy may live in Notes or Google Docs while designs are in Photoshop, video files in After Effects … you get the picture.

Without Creative Automation software, scaling production can be cumbersome and prone to error. Imagine it this way: would you have half of your team communicating on GChat while the rest are on Slack? It doesn’t make much sense.

Creative automation software is designed to solve this issue. Why?

Think of creative automation software as a virtual war room for the creative team. It moves every stage of creative production forward in one collective effort. Everyone can work in the same place, simultaneously.

First, designers will bring their layouts into the software. It mimics popular design tools so it’s easy for users to get started. Once the creative templates are ready for review, marketing and creative operations leads can comment and give feedback directly in the software for the designer to resolve.

Creative automation works by separating content from design, allowing for massive scale. Assets such as product images, CTAs, headlines, translations, offers, are organised into a content feed that will plug into a design or video template. In-house marketers and creatives can select the formats they need and mass-produce all the variants without having to manually adjust each and every asset.

Bid farewell to email attachments

It can get challenging to give clear creative feedback in a situation where teams are working in different locations and even remotely. When you adopt creative automation software, you’re also saying goodbye to sending assets as email attachments or embedding screenshots in presentations.

For instance, instead of asking a designer for the latest creative version, creative ops leaders and marketers can just pull it up themselves and write feedback right there and, finally approve once it’s in good shape. Plus, on the cloud, you’ll eliminate roadblocks such as lags in versioning. Everything you see is in real-time.

React to changes: Planning for agility

Centralising communication is one component in supporting preparedness. The other is agility. Are you able to change plans on the fly?

In real life it may look like this. A major retailer has planned a large in-store promotion, but now everyone is social distancing at home. It needs to pivot to promote its eCommerce, but how can it make a digital campaign with comparable impact? How can it efficiently update its creative assets to match?

When it comes to the working process, creative production software permits easy adaptation without regressing to square one. Instead of designing locked assets, you’ll be creating a flexible image and video templates that can be populated with different types of content: think messaging variations, product images, languages, and so on. This way, you’ll be able to easily adjust messaging and update an unlimited amount of creative variants.

In-office, or remote, ultimately the winners of the scale game will adopt new software to cater to their exploding content needs. Creative automation isn’t just for huge global or regional brands, either. It’s ideal for any company or team that needs to produce volumes of digital creative (think eCommerce, subscription brands, growth marketers, and so on), even if it is just for a single market. Get ahead of the game today by planning for new production workflows for the upcoming year.