Creative Operations Report 2018 – The results are in!
by Síle Cleary
What is the state of Creative Operations in 2018?
Recently, Screendragon, a leading project, resource and workflow management solution, conducted a survey with creative leaders across the globe to find out how they were managing and measuring their creative process. The results offered an interesting insight into the current state of Creative Operations in 2018 – the challenges faced, the tools and tactics used, and the metrics measured.
The Growth of Creative Operations
The function of Creative Operations has grown in prominence over the past five or so years. New technology and a more global working landscape has put new demands on creatives. The creative process has become more complex; more people are involved, both in-house and out-sourced, and with such a variety of mediums in which to cater for, creatives really have to work in a more structured way to succeed.
Creative Operations is what brings increased efficiency and compliance to the creative production process. The role of a Creative Operations Director or Manager is still relatively new but like the Marketing Operations role before it, it is growing in popularity. For our report, we surveyed all creative leaders, spanning from Creative Operations Directors to Creative Directors and Creative Services Directors. We wanted to find out, for those companies that didn't have a dedicated Creative Operations role, if they saw a place for it in the future.
While not a significant number, 18% of companies still did say that they plan to introduce a dedicated Creative Operations role in the next year. From our knowledge on the ground, which in part comes from attending the reputable Henry Stewart Creative Operations and DAM events this year; it is likely that this number will continue to jump year on year as more and more companies begin to realise the cost savings and new business wins that can be gained from focusing their attention on Creative Operations.
Tools and Tactics to Manage Creative Teams
Tools are of course a crucial component of Creative Operations success. The right Creative Operations tool will facilitate the smooth operations of your entire creative workflow. Using technology to automate your creative process can help to dramatically increase speed-to-market. Surprisingly, in our survey, we found that a lot of creative leaders weren't leveraging technology to it's full extent, particularly when it came to managing the creative brief process .
62% of creative leaders said that they use either Excel, Email, Skype or another communication platform to manage their creative brief process. While just 27% said they use dedicated workflow management software. Even more interesting was the significant volume of software tools that creative leaders were using, on average it was 2-3 tools.
As we all know, tools have a key role to play in streamlining the creative process, but too many of them in the mix can do quite the opposite. The 'always on' working culture where team members are involved in endless streams of online discussions can in fact hinder productivity. We actually covered this very topic some time back when a well known collaboration tool, Slack, was really beginning to spread it's seed – Is Slack Turning us into Slackers?
Measuring the Creative Process
When it comes to metrics, their importance cannot be underestimated in the area of Creative Operations. Having easy access to data like ‘rounds of revisions’ for every project or campaign is what will help to drive productivity and reduce costs. Visibility into where your creative team is in the process, what is slowing them down (if anything) and if the business is keeping on track with its budget, ensures smart business decision making.
In our survey, 60% of creative leaders said that on average their creative assets go on 2-3 rounds of revisions before final approval. This probably seems fairly average, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it can't be reduced. Having visibility over work-in-progress enables you to see where the bottlenecks are in your creative process and exactly why creative assets require three rounds of revisions instead of just one.
For example, a case in point is a client of Screendragon, Kellogg.95% of their communications are approved in the first round. This wasn't always the case. Thanks to the intelligence they received from Screendragon, they were able to see where the hold-ups were in their process and make the necessary amendments to increase speed-to-market . As a result, they have made significant savings on agency and legal costs.
To find out more interesting insights about the state of creative operations in 2018 including what creative leaders rated as the most challenging part of their job, you can download our free report here. Of course, if you would like to find out how your organization or agency could use Screendragon to streamline your creative operations, sign-up for a demo today. We would love to show you how Screendragon can accelerate your creative operations.