Guide to Creative Operations
Do your creative teams face complex logistical challenges on a daily basis? Whether you’re running a marketing agency or a small, in-house branding team, creative operations professionals could help you solve these challenges quicker than ever.
In this guide, we detail everything you need to know about getting started with creative operations.
What are creative operations?
Creative operations teams provide a framework for boosting productivity and improving operational efficiency within creative and marketing teams. The field is relatively new and covers a range of duties and responsibilities, including:
1. Project planning
A creative operations leader will assess the value and feasibility of a creative project using accurate data and expert knowledge. Then, they will create a project proposal and run it by senior management.
2. Managing the project
This element involves planning, monitoring, and helping the marketing team meet goals in a timely fashion.
3. Assessing briefs
It is the responsibility of a creative operations team to monitor whether developers, marketers, and other creatives meet the terms of a brief.
4. Communicating with clients or project owners
Creative operations experts can communicate with clients or project owners in a jargon-free manner, establishing a rapport to ensure they are left completely satisfied. They will ensure communication channels are left open by regularly touching base with leaders and stakeholders through meetings and email threads.
5. Directing creative teams
This step involves disseminating vital information to creative workers such as timelines, expectations, brand guidelines and more. Creative operations professionals may also need to offer contextual information to ensure the project in question makes sense.
6. Offering progress updates
Creative operations teams will deliver progress updates to all interested parties regularly. This ensures the project runs smoothly and helps employees address problems quickly.
7. Project reviews
Reviews should answer questions such as whether your company has met its initial goals and how to fix residual issues. If revisions are needed, this may require coming up with a new plan of action.
8. Project delivery
Finally, the creative operations team must present the finished project to the relevant client or internal project owner.
In what ways are creative operations different from project management?
While creative operations and project management teams share several features, the former involves more imaginative ways of thinking. Unlike many project managers, creative operations professionals often embrace the following tasks:
- Crafting formal processes for producing and approving creative content in an efficient way.
- Identifying gaps in the company’s creative tech stack and sourcing affordable solutions.
- Finding the source of workflow bottlenecks and coming up with innovative ways to address them.
- Measuring creative success against relevant key performance indicators (KPIs). This includes metrics affecting digital marketing, branding efficacy, attributable sales, and more.
To succeed in this demanding role, successful creative operations professionals must boast the following attributes:
- A commitment to strategizing that goes far beyond mere organizational skills. In other words, the employee must be one step ahead of industry trends at all times.
- A deep understanding of the creative tasks involved in running a successful business, including copywriting, graphic design, video editing, and more.
- The ability to handle a wide array of responsibilities while keeping a cool head.
Why are creative operations so important?
Although you may not realize it yet, creative operations could significantly enhance the efficiency of your creative teams. By onboarding a creative operations team, you could optimize the output of your marketers, developers, or creatives freelancers via structured processes and actionable data.
Yet to be convinced? Here are just some of the reasons you can’t afford to ignore creative operations:
1. Creative work is becoming more vital to business success
A growing number of companies realize the importance of targeted marketing and branding, meaning the demand for creative experts is rising. After all, no branding campaign is complete without sleek web design, compelling copy, and eye-catching marketing collateral.
A creative operations manager can help to onboard a sufficient number of creative workers in a cost-effective way that benefits the business. Using their expert knowledge, they will make strategic decisions such as whether to hire several in-house marketers or rely on a pool of freelancers. They will also make important decisions about which creative technologies and resources are worth purchasing.
2. Creative operations teams can help maintain compliance
Depending on your company’s location and offerings, your marketing team may be subject to laws and regulations regarding the use of data. A creative operations team will ensure your process are fully compliant with relevant legislation, thus avoiding data breaches and reputational damage.
3. Modern creative processes are very complex
Thanks to the hybrid nature of modern businesses, streamlining creative processes and sharing assets can get very complicated. A creative operations expert can help to streamline workflow by reformatting and repurposing assets and designing innovative collaboration solutions.
What are the benefits of creative operations?
There are plenty of perks to hiring a creative operations team, including:
1. The power to banish inefficiencies
Tired of wasting time on nonsensical approval processes and workflow bottlenecks? A strong creative operations team will quickly address these issues.
2. Better collaboration
If your teams are siloed and non-communicative, a charismatic creative operations leader will help them to collaborate more effectively. While it may not seem hugely important, maintaining a healthy, cooperative work environment is fundamental to business success.
3. Improved decision-making
Creative operations experts know all about how to harness data effectively, using it to make well-informed projections while ensuring they meet stakeholders’ expectations.
Stuck in a rut? Start the search for your new creative operations team
If your creative output is stalling and you’re unsure where to turn, don’t fret. Hiring a creative operations expert (or even a whole team) will ensure you make smart decisions backed up by data.
Deciding whether to onboard a new set of developers, invest in a new type of software, or launch an ambitious rebrand can be daunting and confusing. With a creative operations expert on your side, you stand a fighting chance of growing your company and keeping abreast of cutting-edge trends.